Zero Tolerance Policy
Aggressive or Abusive Behaviour
MPs and their staff have the right to carry out their work without violence, abuse or harassment. Any behaviour, verbal or physical, which causes staff to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or threatened is unacceptable.
This Zero Tolerance policy includes aggression or threats made in person, over the telephone, or in written communication.
We consider threatening behaviour to be attempted or actual aggressive threatening physical actions made towards any member of staff; and the use of aggressive, threatening or abusive language (including raising of the voice, swearing and shouting).
We consider the use of inflammatory statements, remarks of a racial or discriminatory nature, and unsubstantiated allegations to be abusive behaviour.
A demand may be unreasonable if handling it could take up an excessive amount of staff time. MPs offices are small and have limited resources, this could stop other constituents’ cases from being handled in time.
Examples of unreasonable demands may include, but are not limited to:
- Demands for responses within an unreasonable timeframe;
- Insisting on seeing or speaking to someone more senior or a particular member of staff when that is not possible;
- Repeatedly changing the substance of an enquiry or complaint, or raising new and unrelated concerns;
- Repeated demands for a different response where a response on the issue has been provided previously.
Unreasonable Levels of Contact
The number of times you contact us, or the duration of each contact, can cause problems for our staff.
The level of contact may become unacceptable when the amount of time spent talking to an individual on the telephone; responding to or reviewing and filing emails and written correspondence means we struggle to deal with your case, or with other people’s cases.
How We Manage Unacceptable and Unreasonable Behaviour
If we feel behaviour is unacceptable or unreasonable, we may take the following actions:
Restrict or end contact on the matter;
Restrict contact on all matters;
End contact entirely for a period of time;
Report incidents to the police (for example, if violence has been threatened);
Take any other action that we consider appropriate (in extreme cases, this may include blocking calls/ emails and returning correspondence).
Where staff are considering the above, or have had to take immediate action (for example, end a phone call), this will be reported to the MP who will then consider what further action (if any) is appropriate. We will always tell the person in writing the action we are taking and the reasons why.
In making this decision we may consider:
How it affects our staff;
How it affects the individual (including their personal circumstances and any reasonable adjustments);
The extent to which we are able to engage or assist;
The extent to which the process or subject matter has been exhausted.