SSD zero tolerance on bullying or harassment

The 2021 Oxford University Staff Experience Survey showed that 64% of staff in SSD know how to contact a Harassment Advisor.

What is bullying and harassment?

Although there is no legal definition of bullying, it can be described as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either:

  • Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • An abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone

Harassment is when bullying or unwanted behaviour is about any of the 'protected characteristics' under discrimination law (Equality Act 2010).

No member of staff should experience or witness treatment like this. 

The University is committed to fostering an inclusive culture that promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all members of the University community are respected.

If you think you have experienced or witnessed such behaviour, you can consult a Harassment Advisor:

Contacting a Harassment Advisor is not the start of a formal process. Harassment Advisors will not share any information without your consent, unless they fear for your safety or that of someone else. Discussing the situation with a Harassment Advisor may help you to think through the situation more clearly.

What other options do I have? / What else can I do?
  • You can consult your Head of Department, Head of Administration, supervisor/manager:
    • They may be able to help find an informal resolution;
    • They may be obliged to investigate and may need to share information with others on a need to know basis, but this is not the same as making a formal complaint;
    • A variety of informal courses of action are open to them, including seeking input from an experienced mediator or conciliator.
  • You can make a formal complaint by writing to your Head of Department or Head of Division.
  • You might want to contact a Trade Union representative.
  • You might want to contact the University’s Occupational Health Service (which can provide support/advice in relation to the emotional, psychological and sometimes physical impacts of harassment).
  • Note that if a criminal offence has been committed, or you suspect it may have been, you may want to seek advice from the University’s Director of Human Resources and/or approach the Police directly.
  • Support specifically for staff who have experienced sexual violence or assault can be found at Harassment Advisor Network | Equality and Diversity Unit (
  • You can also request to speak to a Harassment Advisor that is BME or LGBT+, more information can be found at Harassment Advisor Network | Equality and Diversity Unit (
  • If you have experienced such behaviour from those external to the University on social media/online, see Social Media Guidance

Harassment Policy | Equality and Diversity Unit ( 

Harassment Flowchart staff (