ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR POLICY
There is a range of actions we consider to be unacceptable. These are:
- Aggressive or abusive behaviour;
- Unreasonable demands;.
- Unreasonable levels of contact.
Aggressive or abusive behaviour
We understand that people can become angry when they feel that matters about which they feel strongly are not being dealt with as they wish. If that anger escalates into aggression towards our committee or members, we consider that unacceptable.
Any aggression or abuse directed towards our committee or members will not be tolerated.
Aggressive or abusive behaviour includes language (whether verbal or written) that may cause individuals to feel afraid, threatened or abused and may include threats, personal verbal abuse, derogatory remarks and rudeness.
We also consider inflammatory statements, remarks of a racial or discriminatory nature and unsubstantiated allegations, to be abusive behaviour.
A demand becomes unacceptable when it starts to (or when complying with the demand would) impact excessively on the work of BGSC Committee and Officers or when dealing with the matter takes up an excessive amount of time and in so doing, disadvantages other members.
- Repeatedly demanding responses within an unreasonable timescale;
- Demanding responses from several committee members on the same subject;
- Insisting on seeing or speaking to a particular committee member when that is not possible;
- Repeatedly changing the substance of an enquiry or complaint or raising unrelated concerns;
- Repeatedly posing a question time and again, when a response has already been given, because the individual may not like the answer they have received.
Unreasonable levels of contact
Sometimes the volume and duration of contact made to our committee memebrs by an individual causes problems.
This can occur over a short period, for example, when a large number of calls or emails are received from the same person in one day. When we are dealing with a complaint or enquiry, this may occur when a person repeatedly makes long telephone calls to us or inundates us with emails or copies of information that have been already sent or that are irrelevant to the substance of the complaint or enquiry.
We consider that the level of contact has become unacceptable when the amount of time spent talking to an individual on the telephone, or responding to, reviewing and filing emails or written correspondence, impacts on our ability to deal with the matter, or on our responsibility for carrying out tasks relating to other members of the Club..
How we manage aggressive or abusive behaviour
The threat or use of physical violence, verbal abuse or harassment towards our members is likely to result in a termination of all direct contact with the member exhibiting this behaviour. Such incidents may be reported to the Kennel Club or to the police if physical violence is used or threatened.
Where correspondence (either letter, fax or electronic) that is abusive to club members or contains allegations that lack substantive evidence is received, we will inform the sender that we consider their language offensive, unnecessary and unhelpful and ask them to stop using such language. We will ask that the sender edit their correspondence to remove any offensive text and resend it, otherwise it will not be responded to.
Committee members will end telephone calls if they consider the caller aggressive, abusive or offensive. Our committee have the right to make this decision, to tell the caller that their behaviour is unacceptable and to end the call if the behaviour then persists.
In extreme situations, we will tell the person in writing that we will not permit any personal contact from them. This means that we will limit contact with them to either written communication or through a third party.
How we deal with other categories of unreasonable behaviour
Where a member of the Club repeatedly phones, e-mails or makes personal contact with a member of the committee and raises the same issue repeatedly, or sends large numbers of documents about which the relevance is not clear, we may decide to:
- Limit contact to telephone calls from the person at set times on set days;
- Restrict contact to a nominated individual who will deal with future calls or correspondence;
- See the person by appointment only;
- Restrict contact to written correspondence only;
- Refuse to deal with further correspondence and return any documents or, in extreme cases;
- Advise the person that further irrelevant documentation will be destroyed;
- Take any other action that we consider appropriate to the circumstances.
Where we consider continued correspondence on a wide range of issues to be excessive, we may tell the person that only a certain number of issues will be considered in a given period and ask them to limit or focus their requests accordingly.
Where someone repeatedly demands a response on an issue on which they have already been a given a clear answer by the Club, we may refuse to respond to further enquiries from the person.
We will always tell the person in writing what action we are taking and why.
The process we follow to make decisions about unreasonable behaviour
Any member of the Club who directly experiences aggressive or abusive behaviour from another member, has the authority to deal immediately with that behaviour in a manner they consider appropriate to the situation and which is in line with this policy.
With the exception of such immediate decisions taken at the time of an incident, decisions to restrict contact with the Club are only taken after careful consideration of the circumstances by all Officers and Committee of the BGSC. Wherever possible, we will give the individual the opportunity to change their behaviour before such a decision is taken.
How we let people know we have made this decision
When a member of the committee makes an immediate decision in response to aggressive or abusive behaviour, the individual concerned will be advised at the time of the incident.
When a decision has been made by Committee, the individual will always be told in writing why a decision has been made to restrict future contact, the restricted contact arrangements and the length of time that these restrictions will be in place. They will also be told the process for appealing the decision. This ensures that the individual concerned has a full record of the decision and the reasons behind it.
The process for appealing a decision to restrict contact
Where a member of the Club has been informed that contact is to be restricted, they will be advised of the right of appeal. Any appeal must be made in writing and submitted to the President of the Club and must be made within 10 working days of the date of the notification to restrict contact letter. A written letter of appeal should clearly set out why the appellant feels the decision to restrict contact is unreasonable. Only in exceptional circumstances will an appeal made outwith this timescale be considered. The appeal will be considered by a full meeting of the BGSC Committee. Any reversal or amendment of the restriction arrangements will be at the discretion of the President.
The appellant will be notified in writing of the outcome of the appeal within 10 working days of receipt of the letter of appeal. The President’s decision is final.
Thereafter all paperwork in relation to the process for decision to restrict contact will be held by Club secretary for a period of no more than 7 years.
How we record and review a decision to restrict contact
We record all incidents of unacceptable actions which have resulted in contact being restricted.
Where it is decided to restrict contact, an entry noting this is made by the Club in the relevant file and on appropriate computer records.
A decision to restrict contact as described above, may be reconsidered if the complainant or enquirer demonstrates a more acceptable approach.
The President will review the status of all restricted contact arrangements on a regular basis and correspond with the Member(s) concerned with regard to these reviews.