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Trinity College Dublin

Dignity and Respect Policy

Section 1 - What is this Policy about and Who Owns It ?

Purpose and Statement of Intent

This policy outlines the College's commitment to an environment where every member is treated with dignity and respect.

The College strives to create an environment that is supportive and conducive to work and study. The College has a diverse student, research and staff body with multiple roles, both professional and personal and this policy encompasses all groups in the College. The College promotes, and is committed to supporting, a collegiate environment for its staff, students and other community members, which is free from discrimination (on any of the 9 grounds included in equality legislation), bullying, sexual harassment and other forms of harassment.

This policy aims to set out the College's and staff/student member's commitment and duty to participate in creating a positive and tolerant environment. The policy also sets out a framework and the procedure for handling any issues that arise. This policy seeks to encompass the diverse nature of the staff and students on campus.

The concept of equality is central to the ethos of the College, where accordingly, equal respect to all members of its community is a central part of Trinity's academic mission to pursue scholarly excellence.

The College states clearly its expectation that all members of the community will work to develop and maintain a high degree of respect and civility in our community. This does not affect academic freedom, the values of free open enquiry and discussion of ideas, or humour.

The Dignity and Respect policy sets out to achieve the following:

  • To raise awareness on the prevention of bullying and harassment
  • To support good communications amongst colleagues, staff and students and to set standards of behaviour which are acceptable in the College community.
  • To set out everyone's individual responsibility in both making themselves aware of the policy and their responsibility to resolve matters as quickly and as confidentially as possible
  • To provide methods of resolution for staff and students in which they have a number of opportunities, both formal and informal, to resolve their individual situations.
  • To promote an environment in which diversity is respected.

Legislation and Policies which protect Dignity and Respect

This policy is underpinned by equality legislation. In addition, the policy complies with the Health and Safety Authority's Code of Practice on the Prevention of Workplace bullying and the Labour Relations Commission's (LRC) Code of Practice Detailing Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Work Place.

  • Prevention of Bullying and Harassment – [Policy has now been incorporated in this Dignity and Respect Policy]
  • Procedural Agreements with the Unions
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
  • The statutes
  • Equality Policy
  • Recruitment Policies
  • Code of Practice Applying to the Employment of People with Disabilities
  • Employment Equality Acts 1998–2010
  • Equal Status Acts 2000–2010
  • Disability Act 2005
  • Health and Safety Act 2005

Breaches of the policy may constitute grounds for disciplinary action and, in cases involving serious offences, disciplinary action up to and including suspension or dismissal. Using this policy does not affect your statutory rights under the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2010 and the Equal Status Acts 2000–2010. There is a statutory time limit for complaints made – 6 months from the date of the alleged incident or the latest incident, which can be extended up to 12 months where exceptional circumstances prevent the complainant making the complaint. For complaints under the Equal Status Acts there is a requirement for a written notification to the person against whom the complaint is being made within 2 months of the most recent occurrence of the incident; a six month time-limit for raising a complaint with the Equality Tribunal applies .

Where Does this Policy Apply?

This policy applies to the behaviour of students and staff of the College and others on College business or engaged in activities relating to the College or providing services to the College in all locations and situations, including:

  • College campus, buildings/ centres in all locations
  • The campus of any other university or other place where staff or students are representing the College
  • At events such as social functions, conferences, sporting events, field trips or work assignments which are related to the College, to a person's work /study, or at which a person is representing College
  • In writing, on the telephone, by email or on the internet in any College related activity.

To Whom does this Apply?

All members of the College community share the responsibility for ensuring an environment that protects the dignity and respect of its members. It is not the intention of these guidelines to prevent normal good-humoured banter between colleagues and classmates. However, care needs to be taken not to cross the line into unacceptable behaviour, which is offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting. In any case, such behaviour should stop immediately when colleagues or classmates indicates it is unacceptable.

Individual members of College also have a responsibility to help to ensure that unacceptable behaviour does not continue unchecked or unreported. Individual responsibility includes awareness of one's own behaviour and its potential effects on others. Those who are concerned about incidents of bullying, sexual harassment, racial harassment or other forms of harassment, e.g. as colleagues, friends, witnesses, or as people against whom an allegation has been made, should feel free to seek confidential help and advice from the sources of help listed in this policy.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles of other groups and areas are set out below.

Human Resources

  • To oversee the implementation of the College policy in relation to staff in a fair and transparent manner.
  • To develop best practice and policy in line with legislation.
  • To raise awareness about the policy.
  • To co-ordinate the Panel of Contact Persons.
  • To provide advice and training to Heads of Schools/Areas, managers and supervisors on handling bullying and harassment matters.
  • To provide advice to staff (complainants, alleged harassers, witnesses) on the policy and procedures.
  • To provide referrals to the Contact Persons and other parts of the procedure.
  • To provide referrals to the EAP, Occupational health, and other relevant services.
  • To provide management support to investigators and disciplinary/appeals panels in the process.
  • To provide workplace mediation for cases as required.

Contact Persons

The Panel of Contact Persons are appointed by the Board to help to resolve cases. They offer a confidential service. It is part of the informal structure of the policy. The main aim is to provide opportunity, options and potential for resolution of cases in a positive solution focussed environment. This may require looking to other resources to assist in this process. They will:

  • Listen to the story.
  • Provide personal support and help the staff/student to solve the problem. This applies to complainants, alleged harassers, and witnesses. A Contact Person will not see two sides of a case.
  • Advise and give information on other sources of help e.g. Employee Assistance / Student Counselling / Health.
  • Provide information on the College's complaint procedures.
  • Assist the staff/student with handling the matter directly.
  • May intervene officially and informally on behalf of the staff/student with the alleged harasser if requested and after full discussion.
  • Act only with agreement of the staff/student.
  • Provide personal support to the individual staff or student during a formal procedure.
  • Provide referrals to the mediation process or request a mediation.
  • Encourage an open discussion with the staff student to create a balanced view of the situation, e.g. impact on other parties in a case / normal work environment in an area.
  • May liaise with heads of schools/tutors in complex academic student/staff complaints as defined in the procedure.

Deans, Heads, Holders of Offices, Line Managers, supervisors and group leaders

This group have a particular responsibility to implement this policy and to make every effort to ensure it is upheld, particularly in work areas for which they are responsible. They have an obligation to deal promptly and effectively with any incidents of bullying or harassment of which they are aware. This includes:

  • Explaining Policy to all staff and ensuring understanding.
  • Promote ongoing awareness.
  • Communications to non-employees of the College, e.g. posters
  • Be vigilant, and intervene before a problem escalates.
  • Respond sensitively and promptly to any members of staff who makes a complaint, and ensure they are not victimised for making a complaint. Seek advice from the Human Resources or Contact Persons.
  • Ensure all parties are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Investigate cases.
  • Provide referrals to all parties complainants, alleged harassers and witnesses to Contact Persons / Human Resources.
  • Monitor and follow up the situation to ensure that behaviour does not recur.

Tutors, Post Graduate Advisory Service

Tutors and the Post Graduate Advisory Service are often the first person a student approaches with a problem. Thus they are in a particularly important position to advise and guide students. This role includes:

  • Respond sensitively and promptly to any student or colleague who make a complaint, and ensure they are not victimized for making a complaint
  • Seek advice from the Senior Tutors Office, Human Resources or Contact Persons as appropriate.
  • Be familiar with the policy themselves. To this end they should attend the workshops which are run from time to time.
  • Promote ongoing awareness.
  • Ensure all parties are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Provide referrals e.g. the Student Counselling Service, Contact Persons – to all parties.
  • Tutors may represent a student in a formal complaint process where required and appropriate.
  • Tutor/Post Graduate Advisors may approach the Head of School on the student's behalf in informal cases where there might be an academic impact to discuss the situation anonymously in the first instance and to represent the student if any action is taken.

Trade unions, associations and student unions

Trade and Student Unions and Associations play an important role in providing information, advice and support to staff and students who feel that they are being bullied or harassed or against whom complaints have been made. The Policy requires representatives to co-operate with efforts by Supervisors/Managers/Deans to resolve complaints through the policy.

Representatives support staff /student members if the complaint is referred for formal investigation and are required to co-operate fully with attempts to conduct the investigation fairly and without undue delay.

Employee Assistance Programme

To provide personal support and counselling to staff who attend the service about breakdowns in communications, bullying and harassment. To encourage staff to handle the matters through the procedures, and to refer them to the Contact Persons for further advice on the policy.

The Equality Committee

The Equality Committee is responsible for monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of this policy, and will review it annually.

The Equality Officer's role

  • To provide information to staff and students regarding their entitlements under the relevant equality legislation.
  • To provide information on the College Dignity and Respect policy and procedures.
  • To direct staff and students to the appropriate sources of help, resources and procedures.
  • To communicate and promote the policy amongst staff and students.
  • To raise awareness on the prevention of bullying and harassment, and dignity and respect amongst staff and students.

Responsibilities of the Complainant

  • To seek to resolve the complaint at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest level
  • To make the complaint in good faith
  • To co-operate with the procedures and make themselves available in a timely manner to facilitate resolution of the case
  • To seek support and representation as appropriate
  • To be factual in any written / verbal evidence
  • To afford Dignity and Respect to others, and to maintain confidentiality

Role of every Individual

  • To be aware of behaviours
  • To not let situations persist
  • To provide support
  • To challenge own behaviour
  • To not participate in gossip/rumour

The Effects of Bullying and Harassment

Bullying and Harassment can affect many aspects of College life and an individual's wellbeing, for example, there can be :

  • Damage to morale
  • Poor performance in work or study
  • Culture of Fear
  • Loss of respect
  • Increased absenteeism and ill health
  • Poor services to staff and students
  • Damage to the College's reputation

Who can I talk to ? and what about confidentiality?

Should I talk to my colleagues and do I have a right to seek support and from where ? Yes, you have the right to seek support. This, in the first instance, is via the Contact Persons, their numbers are at the back of this document, and their role is outlined in an earlier section of this policy.

The principles of natural justice should be borne in mind when talking to others about your issues. All alleged perpetrators have the same rights as complainants, they have a :

  • Right to know full allegations and who is making them
  • Right of reply (defend themselves)
  • Right to representation
  • Right to impartial and objective consideration of evidence
  • Right to appeal

It is natural to want to speak to Colleagues and friends and in order to respect everyone's rights, confidantes should be carefully chosen and limited to one or two colleagues at most.

Talking to people in your area / department can have a serious impact on your work and the work and morale of others and is not recommended. Stories can quickly spread and can be the cause of rumours and speculation. You can seek help from any of the sources of help listed in this policy.

Cases and discussions about such allegations are considered confidential material by the College, and any breaches of confidentiality may be investigated and dealt with through the disciplinary procedures.

It is better to talk to the Contact Persons at a very early stage, as they will be able to talk you through strategies and preventative actions which can, in many cases, assist and resolve the situation before it escalates.


It is recognised that the decision to bring a case forward can cause anxiety or stress for the individual. In addition, being an alleged harasser can also be stressful. Either parties can talk about the situation to a Contact Person and this can help alleviate the stress. Different Contact People will be assigned to different parties.

It is important that you manage this stress. Some ways of seeking help and managing stress are:

  • Talking to your GP or the College Health Service or the Occupational Health Service (set up via Human Resources)
  • Talking to the EAP or Student Counselling
  • Talk to your Tutor, Supervisor or the Human Resources
  • Recognising the signs and symptoms and taking positive steps to combat stress– for advice on stress see : or
  • All contact numbers are at the back of this document.

Section 2 - Tackling Communication Breakdowns Or Interpersonal Disputes

Your issue may result from a communication breakdown, an interpersonal dispute, or a lack of clarity around roles in teams. There are many ways to resolve these issues – here are some of the methods you can use. It is important that the situation be resolved as quickly as possible.


Handling matters yourself:

  • If you are a staff member: Talk to the Employee Assistance Programme – They will talk you through the issues at hand, help relieve the stress, and will work with you on a strategy for handling the matter.
  • If you are a student: Talk to Student Counselling or to Student 2 Student ( There are a number of self help leaflets available on the Student Counselling website (
  • If there is inappropriate behaviour make clear that the behaviour is unwelcome.
  • Take some time out to think through/write out the problems, and the potential solutions.
  • Talk to the other party involved as openly and honestly as possible about the difficulties you are experiencing. Try to stick to facts and be non-judgemental. Talk about the impact that events have had on you. Use examples. Be open to the discussion being a two-way frank discussion. Meet the person in a private space, using the model below where possible.
  • A good model for discussion meetings is:
    • Agree confidentiality and a length of time for the meeting e.g. generally about one hour.
    • Story telling - Both sides taking equal time to get their story across uninterrupted.
    • Summarise, and agree what the problem is / the issue you need to address.
    • Brain storm possible solutions / who else you need to consult.
    • Agree a way forward or the next step if a solution is not possible at this point.

Talking to others:

  • Seek support. It is important that you limit this to one/two confidential people. You should not discuss the matters with others in the department, unless absolutely necessary, and you are willing to address the matter. See section on Who can I talk to ?
  • Talk to the Contact Persons.
  • Talk to Human Resources / Tutor in confidence.


  • Contact Persons intervention
  • Ask for a conciliation / facilitated meeting by the head of area/school/members of staff relations team in Human Resources
  • Offer to participate in Workplace Mediation – both parties must be willing – this can be by internal mediators or external mediators – as appropriate, further information available from the Human Resources

Formal Procedure

  • Making a complaint through the line management structure
  • Raise a grievance

Review your situation

It is important to review your situation some time after resolution to check the balance to see if it working properly. Build this in to your resolution.

Section 3 - Definitions

Discrimination and Harassment

Discrimination on any of the grounds listed (gender, religion, age, civil status and family status, disability, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, membership of the Traveller community); harassment, sexual harassment, bullying or intimidation will not be tolerated by College.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work/study and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual's right to dignity and respect. An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to your dignity but, as a once off incident, is not considered to be bullying.

Bullying can take many forms, from open aggression, threats, and shouting to subtle comments or exclusion. It can be verbal, physical or psychological. It is destructive and may have serious consequences. The impact of the behaviour on the recipient will be taken into consideration when dealing with cases of bullying.

It should be noted that the issuing of reasonable work related instructions, student discipline or study related matters, or the exercise of lawful management rights or duties would not be construed as bullying. In addition, complaints that are related to assignment of duties, terms and conditions of employment are not suitable for this process, and may be referred under the College's normal grievance procedure.

Examples of Bullying:

  • Verbal : personal insults, demeaning remarks, humiliation in front of others, nicknames, ridicule, persistent identification of one person ‘as a joke', threats
  • Non-verbal or indirect : exclusion, hostile attitude, spreading malicious rumours
  • Abuse of power : excessive criticism, withholding essential information
  • Physical : aggressive behaviour, physical intimidation, unwelcome physical contact up to and including assault

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes acts of physical intimacy, or requests for sexual favours or any act or conduct by a perpetrator, including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material that is unwelcome to the recipient and could reasonably be regarded as sexually offensive, humiliating or intimidating to the recipient. The unwanted nature of sexual harassment distinguishes it from flirtatious or sexual behaviour, which is entered into freely and mutually. It is the damaging impact of the unwanted behaviour on the recipient, not the intention of the perpetrator, which counts. The impact of sexual harassment is taken into account when cases of sexual harassment are investigated.

Examples of Sexual Harassment:

  • Verbal : unwelcome sexual advances, suggestive jokes and innuendo, requests for sexual favours, threats
  • Non-verbal or indirect : sexually suggestive pictures or written material, leering or gestures; spreading rumours about a person's sexual behaviour or orientation
  • Electronic : sexually suggestive messages or images transmitted by computer or other electronic means.
  • Physical : unwelcome physical contact, up to and including assault

Definition of Racial Harassment

Racial harassment, which is harassment on the grounds of race, including national or ethnic origins, is defined as unwanted or unwelcome conduct, or incitement to such conduct, based on a person's race, which is offensive to the recipient and which might threaten a person's security or create a stressful, hostile or intimidating work or study environment.

Examples of Racial Harassment

  • Verbal : offensive jokes or remarks about a person's race or ethnic origin (including membership of the travelling community), ridicule or assumptions based on racial stereotypes
  • Non-verbal or indirect : exclusion, hostile or demeaning attitudes, spreading malicious rumours
  • Visual : production, display or circulation of materials offensive to particular racial or ethnic groups, such as cartoons or racial propaganda
  • Physical : physical assault, threats of physical assault

Other Forms of Harassment

Any act or conduct by a perpetrator is considered to be harassment if it is unwelcome to the recipient and could reasonably be seen as offensive, humiliating or intimidating to the recipient, in relation to one or more of the following characteristics of the recipient: gender; civil status or family status; sexual orientation; religion; age; disability and membership of the Traveller community. Such behaviour can take many forms, similar to those of sexual harassment, racial harassment or bullying. It should be noted that such behaviour may be destructive and is unacceptable.

Note on posters and promotional materials

The definition of sexual, racial and other types of harassment applies to the production and display of images and written material such as student posters and promotional materials where the content could reasonably be perceived within a University context as offensive, humiliating or intimidating to the recipient in relation to any of the nine equality grounds (gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, civil status, family status, age, disability or membership of the Traveller community).

Harassment by Outsiders and to Outsiders

Harassment by persons not directly connected to the College, such as clients, service providers etc is unacceptable and should be promptly reported. Although the College has no power to discipline the offender in such cases, upon receipt of a complaint and after investigation, it will take action in an effort to prevent reoccurrence of such conduct. All members of the College should give the same level of respect to visitors to the College, as they are a valuable part of our Community.

Section 4 - What do we do next and what are the procedures ?

Resolving Incidents of Bullying or Harassment

All complaints of harassment, sexual harassment and bullying will be treated seriously and with due regard to the sensitivities of the complainant and to the rights of the person against whom the complaint has been made. Complaints will be dealt with promptly and sympathetically. As far as possible, every effort will be made to handle complaints in confidence.

Experience in College suggests that it is preferable for a person who feels that she / he is being bullied or harassed to use one or all of the following steps – informal, workplace mediation or formal steps. A person may prefer to proceed directly to the mediation or formal process and their decision to bypass the informal process should not be held against them.

The College will seek to protect all of the parties involved in an investigation from victimization and from any negative impact on their day to day work or study. It is expected all parties will act in a courteous and respectful manner during the process. Parties may be asked to minimise contact with each other, other than the day to day professional interactions that are required in their roles as staff and students.

Informal Process

The objective of this approach is to resolve the difficulties with the minimum of conflict and stress for the individuals involved. There are three informal approaches:

  • Handling matters yourself
  • Talking to the Contact Persons or Others
  • Seeking Intervention

Handling matters yourself:

  • If you are a staff member: Talk to the Employee Assistance Programme They will talk you through the issues at hand, help relieve the stress, and will work with you on a strategy for handling the matter.
  • If you are a student: Talk to Student Counselling or to Student 2 Student ( There are a number of self help leaflets available on the Student Counselling website (
  • Keep a record of incidents as they occur: what happened, dates, times, places, witnesses (if any), your response and the impact on you.
  • Make it clear to the perpetrator that the behaviour is unwelcome and unacceptable and ask them to stop. If this is not possible or you find it difficult to approach the perpetrator, then you should approach one of the Contact Persons for help.
  • If you are a student and feel that your academic progress is being adversely affected by the behaviour of an academic staff member (who is responsible for the assessment of your course work and examinations, or the supervision of your dissertations/theses or practical placements) you should seek the assistance of a Contact Person in the first instance. They will work with you and your Tutor/Post Graduate Advisor (with your permission) to seek a resolution.

Talking to others:

  • Seek support. It is important that you limit this to one/two confidential people – see section on Who Can I talk to in Confidence – earlier in this policy. You should not discuss the matters with others in the department, unless absolutely necessary, and you are willing to address the matter.
  • Talk to the Contact Persons. They are appointed by the Board to help to resolve such cases. They offer a confidential, informal service. They will :
    • Listen to your story
    • Provide personal support and help you to solve the problem
    • Advise and give information on other sources of help e.g. Employee Assistance / Student Counselling / Health
    • Provide information on the College's procedures
    • Assist you with handling the matter yourself directly
    • May intervene officially and informally on your behalf with the alleged perpetrator if you feel you cannot do so after discussing the matter fully with the Contact Person
    • They will only act with your agreement
    • If you decide to make a formal complaint they will provide personal support during this procedure.
    • Provide referrals to the mediation process or request a mediation.
    • Encourage an open discussion with the staff student to create a balanced view of the situation, e.g. impact on other parties in a case / normal work environment in an area.
    • May liaise with heads of schools/tutors in complex academic student/staff complaints as defined in the procedure.
  • Talk to your line manager / Human Resources / Tutor in confidence.


  • Contact Persons may intervene on your behalf under the informal procedures if you feel you cannot do so.
  • Offer to participate in workplace mediation – both parties must be willing – this can be by internal mediators or external mediators – as appropriate - see below.
  • In the case where a student feels that their academic progress has being adversely affected by the behaviour of an academic staff member (who is responsible for the assessment of their course work and examinations, or the supervision of their dissertations/ theses or practical placements) and they have been in touch with a Contact Person the following process will apply :
    • The Contact Person will (with the permission of the student) set up and attend (if appropriate) a meeting with the Tutor/Post Graduate Advisor.
    • The Tutor/Post Graduate Advisor will contact the relevant Head of School, on the student's behalf, to advise of the situation anonymously (with both the student and academic not named) and to discuss potential informal options.
    • If an informal solution is identified the Head of School will meet with the Tutor/Post Graduate Advisor (and Contact Person, as appropriate) and the Student to hear the complaint directly.
    • As a potential solution the Head of School may make suitable arrangements without delay to ensure that conflicts of interest are avoided, without prejudice to any party in the case.
    • It should be noted that if a case is very serious it may not be suitable for the informal process.
    • The Head of School will raise the allegation with the academic staff member concerned. In the initial meeting this should be discussed, where possible, with the student name anonymous and only when agreement is reached in principle with the academic staff member, will the name of the student be disclosed.
    • The Head of School will write to the parties, without prejudice, setting out the agreed process. This will conclude the informal process.
    • In the case of postgraduate students, the Head of School, may work in conjunction with the Dean of Graduate Studies, to seek a resolution under existing procedures.
    • The Head of School will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis to ensure that the solution agreed works. The agreement may be revised, if necessary, by agreement with both parties.
    • The Head of School may, depending on the nature of the complaint, recommend training or counselling, or other methods of upholding the College's policy going forward.
    • An important aspect to this process is the speed with which the case is brought to a conclusion. Ideally cases should be concluded within 2 weeks to one month.

If no informal options can be realized at this point the student can access the formal process (further information in this chapter). If a formal complaint is made, the Head of School can impose a temporary solution, without prejudice to any party, until the complaint is resolved.

Workplace mediation

The College support the use of workplace mediation as an alternative method of resolving complaints. Workplace mediation is an informal process, through which a Mediator helps the parties in a dispute to talk about the issues between them, and if they wish, to reach an agreement which is acceptable to both sides. The process is voluntary and both parties must be willing to take part and agree to the appointment of a Mediator (internal or external). If the parties agree to this approach, the College will appoint a neutral and impartial Mediator, with the agreement of the parties, to facilitate the process.

Training and Counselling

The College will endeavour to provide training or counselling to all parties who feel they would benefit. Often those whose behaviour is causing problems may be unaware of or insensitive to the impact of their actions and training and/or counselling can help change behaviour and prevent future incidents.

Formal Process

For serious complaints or where the problem is not resolved through any of the informal methods, the formal complaints process may be used.

  • If you wish to proceed to a formal complaint, the person to approach depends on the position of the alleged perpetrator and is generally up through the line management structure:
    • Academic Staff: Head of Department / Head of School or Faculty Dean or Senior Dean
    • Non-Academic Staff: Head of Department /School, Head of Administrative area, or, in exceptional circumstances, the Human Resources
    • Student: Head of Department or Faculty Dean or Junior Dean
  • A formal complaint involves providing a written statement, confined to the precise details of the allegations.
  • All formal complaints will be investigated
  • The alleged perpetrator should be notified in writing that an allegation of bullying, sexual harassment or other form of harassment has been made against them. They should be advised that they shall be afforded a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations.

Posters and Student Publications

Where the complaint concerns a student society or club poster, promotional material or publication:

All of the Capitated Bodies – Students' Union, Graduate Students' Union, D.U.C.A.C., Central Societies Committee and the D.U. Publications Committee – and the Capitation Committee itself have procedures in place to respond to and deal with complaints about materials produced by the Capitated bodies themselves or their dependent organisations.

A complaint can be raised initially with student society/club responsible for publishing the materials or with the associated Capitated Body. For further information contact Joseph O'Gorman ( Tel: 01 896 2639)

Formal complaints should be submitted in writing to the Capitation Committee for full investigation.


Generally the investigation will be conducted through the structure of the school in question. Occasionally it may be appropriate for a person from another department or nominated third party to conduct the investigation. Normally a team of two people will be appointed. In cases alleging sexual harassment, the College will ensure that at least one of the investigators will be of the same gender as the complainant. Where there are two investigators appointed, both should be involved in all stages in the interviewing of witnesses and parties to the complaint.

The investigation will look objectively at all evidence pertinent to the complaint. The Investigator(s) should meet with the complainant and the alleged perpetrator and, if appropriate, any witness on an individual basis with a view to establishing the facts

Details of the complaint will be made available to the parties in advance of an investigation meeting.

Investigation meetings will be held in confidence and with sensitivity, and all staff will be treated with dignity and respect. Confidentiality is required of all parties involved in the investigation.

A written record of all meetings shall be kept.

Those attending investigation meeting will be told in advance of the meeting of

  • The purpose of the meeting
  • The complaint being investigated
  • The time and venue
  • Their right to representation
  • That the investigation may lead to disciplinary action.

Both parties have the right to be accompanied by an authorised Trade Union/Staff Representative, or working colleague.

All material relevant to the complaint will be made available to the alleged perpetrator during the course of the investigation.

The alleged perpetrator will get the full details of matters under investigation and the opportunity to respond to them fully.

Further investigation meetings may be scheduled if required as issues arise. Every effort will be made to complete the investigation as quickly as possible, and within an agreed timeframe if possible.

Staff are obliged to co-operate with investigations held under this procedure.

The outcome of the investigation will be in the form of a written report which will be presented to the complainant and alleged perpetrator.

Both parties have the right to be accompanied by an authorized Trade Union/Staff representative/Student representative or Tutor/Post Graduate Advisor/work colleague.

If it is found that the complaint is well founded, Management may recommend counselling, monitoring or the convening of a disciplinary hearing. This outcome should be conveyed personally, as well as in writing, to the individual involved.

If a disciplinary hearing is recommended this will be conducted in line with the statutes and/or agreements pertinent to the person involved.

If it is found that the complaint is not upheld, the complainant can be assured that bona fide complaints will not be viewed as malicious. Complaints which are found to be malicious will be treated as serious misconduct under the disciplinary procedure. This provision should not deter employees from reporting genuine complaints.

If either party is unhappy with the conduct of the investigation or the outcome, they may refer the matter through the appropriate College Procedures or the normal Industrial Relations machinery. Referrals should be made in writing within seven days setting out the grounds on which they are not satisfied with the outcome or conduct of the investigation.

Time Frames for cases

Hearings of formal cases will be held as quickly as possible. During each stage of the process the complainant and the alleged harasser will be made aware of deadlines. In addition, regular updates will be given on the progress of the case and at least on monthly basis. Given the nature of the academic environment, and lecturing/other commitments, every effort will be made to ensure that mutually agreeable dates for the investigation interviews (if required) will be set up as quickly as possible and that paperwork will be completed in a timely fashion by all parties. For further information on the stages involved in your complaint talk to a Contact Person or the Investigator / Human Resources Administrative Assistance assigned to your case.

Withdrawal of claims

From time to time people make a complaint and then do not wish to proceed. The College has a duty of care to take all complaints seriously, this will include discussing the appropriate procedures and referral through the process. Any claim which is not going to proceed must be withdrawn.

Withdrawal of claims will be taken seriously. The withdrawal will be made in writing to the line manager or the person to whom you made the complaint.

The College reserve the right to investigate a claim that has been withdrawn and/or the reason for which is being withdrawn.

False /Malicious Allegations

Raising a false or malicious allegation is a serious breach of this policy. Complaints which are found to be malicious will be treated as serious misconduct under the disciplinary procedure. This provision should not deter employees from reporting genuine complaints.

Counter Allegations

Any counter allegation will be treated as a separate complaint. Generally, if part of a formal investigation, the counter allegation will be expected to be written. The Procedures above apply to the complaint in every regard, and the case shall be investigated within the procedure.

Training and Staff Development and Communications

A training and awareness programme will be delivered in College, where possible incorporated in to other training programmes e.g. supervisor/management training. This will include literature, and a policy on the website.

An ongoing awareness campaign will be run on a regular basis.

Policy Review

The policy will be subject to continuous assessment and evaluation, and will be reviewed formally at least every 3 years.

Section 5 - Sources of Help

Other sources of help in College

For Staff:

  • Heads of Department
  • Line Managers
  • Human Resources (Ext. 1678),
  • Staff Representatives
  • Occupational Health Service (Ext. 1556)
  • College Chaplains, (Ext 1901/1260/1402/1417)
  • Student Health Service (Ext. 1556)
  • Equality Officer – , ,
  • Employee Assistance Programme (Clanwilliam), Telephone 01 6761363, website -
  • Website Address:
  • Leaflet entitled Preventing Sexual Harassment and Bullying

For Students:

  • Students' Union Welfare Officer, , Ph 6468437
  • President of the Graduate Students' Union, (Ph: 8961169)
  • College Tutors. (Senior Tutors Office Ph: 8962551) – to find your tutor log on to your portal and this will give you the email to your tutor.
  • Student Counselling Service (Ph: 8961407)
  • Equality Officer – , ,
  • College Chaplains, (Ph: 896 1901/1260/1402/1417)
  • Student Health Service (Ph: 896 1556)
  • Please Talk – – and click on the TCD link, this includes information on Student to Student - S2S (formerly peer support).


What can I do on a day to day basis?

Everyone wants to ensure that we work and study in a respectful and supportive environment. Here are some suggestions for maintaining a positive work and study place:

  • Enjoy the sense of collegiality in our diverse community, participating in events and societies.
  • Be patient / take some time away from the situation to reflect.
  • Treat colleagues with dignity and courtesy and respect individuality and diversity. Respect the rights of others.
  • Discuss problems directly with the colleague concerned.
  • Don't be afraid to speak out and ask questions – it is acceptable to disagree and have a point of view.
  • Maintain a sense of humour.
  • Recognise your own “off days”.
  • Examine your own behaviour, ensure that it is professional and that you have a respectful management style.
  • Respect management structures and roles/responsibilities in the College.
  • Ensure you are a supportive colleague and good team player.
  • Contribute to a friendly workplace, and be sensitive to colleagues wellbeing.
  • Set the tone for a positive, flexible, responsive, productive and safe work environment where open and frank discussion of ideas can take place. Lead by example.
  • Check in with new colleagues that they are coping well.
  • Look out for people who are back from bereavement leave, carers leave or illness, or from schemes such as maternity.
  • Be mindful during exam time of your colleagues, it can be a difficult time
  • Encourage people to use the free support systems available
  • Aim to make your communications and teaching methods accessible and inclusive

What is your dignity and respect challenge?

  • Do you have a work issue you need to resolve that you have been ignoring?
  • Can you see something happening that does not fit with the ideals of dignity and respect?
  • Do you have something personal that you need to work on?
  • Do you need to look at your communication style?
  • Are you respecting your colleagues right to privacy / individuality?
  • Could your improve your effectiveness as a team player?

How can you do this ? – talk to our EAP – 1800 409 476 – face to face or telephone counselling – also web information available.

Dignity and Respect Policy Brochure

Download Dignity and Respect Policy Brochure (PDF, 2.94mB)

For most up to date version of policy, see the policy below.

Additional information for people involved in cases (PDF, 60KB)

Student Information Brochure

Download Student information brochure (PDF, 3.59mB)

| | Last updated: Aug 30 2013