Protocol to act against psychological abuse in the workplace
On 29 June 2007, the UPF Occupational Health and Safety Committee reported favourably on the first protocol to handle violent, discriminatory or harassing behaviour, dated 21 March 2007. On 6 April 2011, by agreement, the Board of Governors adopted the University’s first Code of Conduct on discriminatory, violent and harassing behaviour and incorporated both the Code of Conduct and this protocol into the University’s Occupational Hazards Prevention Plan.
In accordance with Law 31/1995, of 8 November, on the prevention of occupational hazards, and Royal Decree 39/1997, of 17 January, adopting the Regulation on Prevention Services, the UPF Occupational Hazards Prevention Plan is the document that establishes and formalizes the University’s policy on health and safety in the workplace, and it also includes the rules, regulations, and occupational hazard prevention proceedings. Therefore, this protocol is included in volume II of the Plan (“System processes”), which contains proceedings to establish the correct way to perform certain activities or tasks and control their effectiveness, which is fundamental in any process of continuous improvement, and which must be reviewed every four years.
This process of continuous improvement has meant that since 2007 different versions of this protocol have been succeeded until reaching the seventh and current version. Improvements have been introduced as a result of pre-established regular updates, changes in legislation governing harassment or the incorporation of new and successful aspects of initiatives concerning the matter from other similar institutions.
In this regard, the last scheduled review of the document coincided with the adoption of Law 3/2022, of 24 February, on university coexistence which, among other issues, establishes the drafting of rules for coexistence, and has given rise to the need to propose a new protocol that allows its inclusion into these rules that, in this sphere, are compulsory for UPF personnel.
For all of the above, the Board of Governors
To adopt the Protocol to act against psychological abuse in the workplace, which is included as an Appendix.
PROTOCOL TO ACT AGAINST PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE IN THE WORKPLACE
This documented protocol aims to establish:
- The essential criteria, minimal in nature, of the kinds of behaviour deemed as constituting psychological abuse in the workplace within the scope of the management and organization of the administrative or academic unit to which the person or persons subject thereto are attached, and in the exercise of their professional activity or as a direct consequence thereof.
- The system of responsibilities in the application of the protocol.
There are two specific goals:
- To prevent psychological abuse in the workplace among public employees of the University.
- To establish guidelines for proceedings to detect such behaviour as described in Section 3; to establish the means for its investigation and, where appropriate, initiate the administrative proceedings necessary to deal with such behaviour or establish any disciplinary responsibilities.
2. SCOPES OF APPLICATION
2.1. Objective scope: any of the kinds of behaviour set forth in Section 3 herein, provided that they simultaneously meet the following characteristics:
- That are repeated and frequent or, if timely, are considered serious.
- That are hostile and degrading to the person subjected to them, by constituting actions against their personal reputation or dignity and/or against the performance of their job and/or the manipulation of information and/or to promote situations of iniquity.
- Whose intention is harmful, offensive or humiliating against the dignity and moral integrity of the person and degrades their work environment.
- That may cause or have caused damage to health.
Such kinds of behaviour can be caused by verbal, physical or digital means such as email messages, social networks, WhatsApp messages.
2.2. Subjective scope: the person or persons allegedly affected and the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators of the misconduct must be UPF public employees. If it has been less than a year since the allegedly affected person ceased to belong to the University’s administration and service staff or teaching and research staff, this protocol will be equally applicable, provided that the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators of the behaviour in question continue(s) to belong to the staff at the service of UPF and that the reported events took place prior to the date on which the affected person ceased to be linked to the University.
2.3. Organizational scope: the act of misconduct must take place within the scope of organization and/or the provision of services to UPF, that is:
- on any campus premises or university facilities, or
- outside university facilities, provided that the act of misconduct takes place within the framework of an activity or service organized by UPF.
3. BEHAVIOUR CONSTITUTING PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE AT WORK
3.1. The kinds of behaviour and attitudes to which this protocol applies are set out below.
3.1.1. Psychological abuse in the workplace: aggressive or insulting behaviour, among or between persons belonging to the organization, likely to cause psychological harm or discomfort to the victims, whether they are their intentional targets or innocent bystanders involved impersonally or accidentally in the incidents. For the purposes of this protocol, the concept includes harassment in the workplace and psychological or moral harassment at work.
3.1.2. Harassing behaviour at work: psychological or hostile harassment within the framework of any work or official activity that humiliates those who suffer it, inflicting serious offence against dignity.
Harassment in the workplace can be classified into three categories. On the one hand, there is the abuse of managerial powers held by officers or managers of the organization (“abuse of authority”). Another manifestation is “vexatious treatment” towards a worker that occurs between or among persons who are not in a hierarchical relationship with each other, or who, if they were, it would be irrelevant. The last kind is provided for by current legislation, and is expressly classed in Article 8.13 (2) of the Law on Offences and Sanctions in the Social Order as a very serious breach, that is “discriminatory harassment”.
3.1.3. Discriminatory harassment: an undesired action, incident, or behaviour related to the racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation of one or more individuals whose purpose or consequence is to infringe upon their dignity and create an intimidating, humiliating, or offensive environment.
3.1.4. Psychological or moral harassment in the workplace: intense psychological abuse, directed repeatedly and over a prolonged period towards one or more persons, by others who act towards them from a position of power (not necessarily hierarchical, but psychological) with the intention of creating a hostile and humiliating environment that upsets the working life of the victim. Such abuse occurs within the framework of a working relationship, but is not in response to organizational needs, and can involve an infringement on the dignity of the individual, as well as a risk to their health.
3.1.5. Cyberbullying: behaviour whereby one or several persons or an organization uses information and knowledge technologies (ICT) to harass one or more persons.
3.2. Regarding the types of harassment, and the effects of the application of this protocol, depending on the direction of the interactions between the person or persons harassing and the person or persons who are harassed and the organizational levels affected, the following shall be deemed to exist:
- Downward vertical harassment: when pressure is exerted by a person who is hierarchically superior to one or more employees.
- Upward vertical harassment: when pressure is exerted by an employee or a group of employees on a person who is hierarchically superior.
- Horizontal harassment: when pressure is exerted by an employee or a group of employees on one of their peers.
4. PRINCIPLES AND ASSURANCE OF PROCEEDINGS
4.1. Respect and protection for the persons affected. The University must proceed with the necessary discretion and adopt the appropriate measures to ensure the right to the protection of the privacy and dignity of the persons affected, especially those allegedly harassed and harassing, supporting them at the different stages of the proceedings.
Proceedings and investigations must take place with the utmost respect for all involved. All persons participating in this protocol must be informed of its content and, in any case, the person allegedly affected by the misconduct must give their consent in relation to its application.
Persons affected may, upon request, be assisted by a representative or another accompanying person of their choice, including trade union representatives or legal advisers, throughout all proceedings. To ensure this guarantee, the existence of such a possibility will be stipulated expressly in the serving of the summons.
4.2. Confidentiality. The information produced and provided by the proceedings in the application of this protocol will be confidential and will only be accessible to personnel directly involved in its processing.
Persons involved in any of the proceedings provided for herein shall maintain strict confidentiality and reserve and must not convey or disclose information or documents on the content of the queries or complaints submitted, whether resolved or in the process of investigation of which they are aware.
4.3. Diligence and celerity. The process of collecting information must be carried out as quickly as possible and with the utmost sensitivity and respect for the rights of each of the persons affected.
The investigation into the reported misconduct must be carried out with professionalism and diligence and without undue delay, taking into account that it will be subject to the type of complaint, the number of possible witnesses and the reports of investigation arising from it, respecting the guarantees.
In any case, the deadline for carrying out the proceedings provided for herein may not exceed three months, starting from the commencement of proceedings under the terms set forth in Section 7.3.1, except in cases in which, due to their special complexity, may require more time. In this case, and in particular with regard to Section 7.4, the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse will be empowered to establish the new deadlines for proceedings for as short a period as possible. Likewise, in certain cases associated with the justified absence of a member of the Committee and the inability to find a replacement in the established time, it will extend or suspend the deadlines for proceedings for as short a period as possible.
For the purposes of calculating deadlines, the institutional closures agreed to by the University will also be counted as non-working days.
4.4. Hearing, impartiality and contradiction. In the proceedings regulated herein, an impartial hearing, fair treatment and defence must be guaranteed to all persons affected. All persons involved in the proceedings, especially the complainant, will act in good faith in clarifying the events reported.
4.5. Protection from possible reprisals. The necessary measures shall be taken to ensure the that there is no retaliation against persons who lodge a complaint, who appear as witnesses or who participate in an investigation into such misconduct as described herein.
4.6. Non-duplication of proceedings. The opening of disciplinary administrative proceedings, lawsuits or complaints before the competent jurisdiction will immediately lead to the closure of any of the proceedings initiated pursuant to this protocol.
5. MEASURES OF PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
Appropriate measures and tools must be provided to guarantee, at all times, that victims receive information concerning their rights and psychological support measures, where appropriate, must be provided to victims in their recovery or during the adoption of possible precautionary measures.
The following are suggested as primary prevention measures:
5.1. Draft a communication plan, so that this protocol is known about by all staff, in accordance with the usual channels of dissemination.
5.2. Prepare informative documents on preventive actions, codes of conduct; rights, duties and responsibilities and hold periodic information and awareness campaigns (annual conferences or campaigns).
5.3. Implement specific training activities within the training plans for administration and service staff and teaching and research staff, especially for all people who perform tasks involving the management and supervision of work teams, and for employee representatives concerning measures of prevention, detection and procedure against psychological abuse in the workplace.
5.4. Implement specific training activities for the members of the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse on psychological abuse in the workplace, upon joining the Committee and on a regular basis.
5.5. Prepare studies that allow ascertaining the incidence of situations of psychological abuse and related behaviour in the workplace at the University and its characteristics, as well as search for identifiers of the problem and its impact on the health of persons and on the effectiveness of the organization.
5.6. Conduct surveys on psychosocial risks and the working environment, every four years and when there is an organizational reform of the academic and/or administrative units.
The roles and responsibilities of preventive management are distributed among the different hierarchical levels of the University, in accordance with current legislation and with Section “4.3. Integration of prevention in the management system” of Section I, “Occupational health and safety policy”, of Chapter II, “Occupational hazards prevention system”, of the Management manual of the Occupational Hazards Prevention Plan.
Regarding the implementation of this protocol, specific preventive management duties are shared among the bodies of UPF as set out in the following Sections:
6.1. GENERAL BODIES
6.1.1. The rector, as the highest university authority, is responsible for providing the University with the necessary human, technical, material and financial resources, and for defining and applying employee health and safety in accordance with the criteria set forth in the Occupational Hazards Prevention Plan and current legislation, and is the competent body for implementing in the governing policies the necessary actions to achieve their effective integration.
The duty of safety and the obligation to protect the employees of the University against occupational hazards fall with this body. Therefore, the rector must ensure their safety and health at all times in all aspects related to work. Consequently, the rector is the body responsible for initiating and resolving the corresponding procedures in order to investigate and establish any disciplinary responsibilities, when there are indications of such misconduct as described herein.
6.1.2. The manager is responsible for proposing the budget required to undertake the associated activities.
6.1.3. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee, as a joint collegiate body aimed at regular and periodic consultation of UPF activities in the field of occupational hazards prevention, must propose the adoption of this document. This Committee must be informed of the conclusions reached by the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse, regulated in the following Section, regarding the monitoring and control of the proceedings implemented in application of this protocol.
6.2. SPECIFIC BODIES
6.2.1. The Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse is the body responsible for investigating cases in which there are indications of misconduct as set forth in Section 3 herein, and must prepare a report of its conclusions.
It must monitor the development of the case from the time the complaint is lodged and, in particular, the monitoring the implementation of the corrective or disciplinary measures that have been adopted and control their effectiveness.
It must also, in general terms, inform the complainant of the result of prior actions and must provide accompaniment and support to the affected persons and supervise any possible retaliation against any of the employees who have intervened in the proceedings as a complainant, victim or informant.
6.2.2. The deputy general manager of the People and Organizational Development Area must collaborate in the necessary proceedings to implement and apply this protocol, fostering its monitoring, review and updating and ensuring its compliance; and must proceed in accordance with the ruling issued by the rector.
6.2.3. The Administrative and Service Staff Service, the Teaching and Research Staff Service and the Organization and Development Office must provide the information they possess, within the framework of the investigations carried out by the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse.
6.2.4. The Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion, as a specialized service, must advise, inform and interview the person or persons who request preliminary assessment of the indices of perceived misconduct; it must issue a report with the results of the assessment, and collaborate in implementing the preventive measures provided for in Section 5 herein. It must also publish in the annual report of proceedings the number of interventions and their consequences using an internal database which contains, anonymously and without references to any personal details, all requests for information, requests for application of the protocol, complaints, proceedings and resolutions.
6.2.5. The Organization and Development Office must adopt the appropriate measures to implement specific training programmes on the prevention and detection of and proceedings to deal with psychological abuse in the workplace within the training plans for administrative and service staff and teaching and research staff and in the deployment of the preventive measures provided for in Section 5 herein.
6.2.6. All other bodies, managers and officers of the University and the main researchers responsible for research projects shall:
- Be familiar with this protocol, ensure its compliance and detect the need for its updating or improvement.
- Strive to reduce and eliminate risk factors that may give rise to the appearance of situations of harassment and other risks of a psychosocial nature.
- Ensure that employees have access to information concerning their rights as well as the content of this protocol and of all related occupational hazards prevention and disciplinary regulations.
- Promote the proceedings set forth in Section 7 herein when there are signs of classified misconduct, collaborating in their application when the activation of the protocol affects the personnel of their unit.
- Proceed in accordance with the resolution issued by the rector and ensure the application of possible precautionary, corrective and remedial measures.
6.2.7. All other personnel must be familiar and comply with this protocol and inform their middle management of any shortcomings they may detect in its application.
6.3. COMMITTEE FOR THE INVESTIGATION INTO PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE
6.3.1. The Committee is made up of:
the vice-rector appointed by the rector, who will chair the Committee and have a quality vote;
the head of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion; and
two prevention officers, one representative of the administration and service staff and another of the teaching and research staff, appointed by the Occupational Health and Safety Committee.
6.3.2. The position of Secretary of the Committee will be held by a UPF public employee, appointed by the deputy general manager of the People and Organizational Development Area, without the right to vote.
6.3.3. The Committee may resort to the advice of internal or external third parties, who will be eligible to take part in the discussions but will not have voting rights.
6.3.4. Throughout the process, the Committee will guarantee the confidentiality of all data and information obtained.
6.3.5. The Committee shall function in accordance with the regulatory provisions of the legal regime of collegiate bodies of Law 26/2010, of 3 August, on the legal regime and procedure of the public administrations of Catalonia.
When possible psychological abuse in the workplace among employees is detected or known about, in accordance with Section 3 herein, the known objective data will be examined and the existence of the necessary requirements to initiate an investigation will be assessed.
Such actions will be initiated ex officio:
a. On the initiative of the rector.
b. Upon reasoned request by other bodies.
c. When the person allegedly affected or a third party lodges a complaint.
The following three phases of action are envisaged:
1. The filing of the complaint, with which the proceedings are initiated.
2. The period of prior information or proceedings.
3. The monitoring and control of the development of the case, with which the proceedings end.
Prior to initiating proceedings, the person affected by the misconduct, or a third party, may request, as a preliminary step, that the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion perform a technical assessment of the indices of the perceived misconduct.
7.2. PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF THE INDICES OF MISCONDUCT
7.2.1. When a person considers they are the recipient of, or perceives, or is aware of actions that may constitute misconduct as provided for in Section 3 herein, they may make a request for intervention due to psychological abuse in the workplace (Appendix 1, which will be available on the intranet of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion).
This form, together with any additional information deemed useful, will be inserted into a sealed envelope on which is written only “Request to the OPRLiPS for intervention. For the attention of the head of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion”, submitted to the General Registry of the University. This envelope, unopened to respect confidentiality, will be sent from the General Registry to the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion, which will assign a numerical code to the request for intervention to guarantee privacy and confidentiality.
If the request is made verbally to any member of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion, subsequent written ratification will be required and anonymous requests for intervention will not be processed.
7.2.2. Within a maximum period of five working days from the time the application is received by the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion, a technician specializing in applied psychosociology attached to this Office, accompanied by a prevention officer and member of the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse, will interview the applicant.
The interview will be held in a suitable facility to ensure a comfortable environment and the necessary confidentiality, preferably on university premises, but under the understanding that the nature of the events and the particularity of each case will determine the most appropriate venue.
Depending on the nature of the events reported in the request, the aforementioned technicians and officers may request the collaboration of a technician of the competent administrative unit.
In the course of the interview, the details reported will be confirmed or elaborated upon. For this purpose, where appropriate, a self-administered survey may be used, as well as other technical instruments whose application is proven within the field of occupational hazards prevention. The applicant will also be provided with the necessary advice and guidance.
In the event that the request for intervention is submitted by a third party, the person allegedly affected by the misconduct must ratify it so that the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion can admit and process it. Failure to do so, and without prejudice to the actions that this unit may undertake ex officio in the framework of the prevention of psychosocial risks, the request will be closed.
7.2.3. Within a maximum of five working days from the interview, the technician or specialist in ergonomics and applied psychosociology attached to the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion and the prevention officer will issue a preliminary technical report appraising the nature and scope of the reported misconduct.
This period can be modified in the event that different requests are submitted simultaneously for the same reason. In these cases, the technician or specialist in ergonomics and applied psychosociology attached to the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion will ensure that this phase is carried out as quickly as possible.
7.2.4. Within a maximum of five working days from the conclusion of this technical report, the technician or specialist in ergonomics and applied psychosociology attached to the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion and the prevention officer will meet the applicant to inform of their conclusions.
- If the evidence shows signs of psychological abuse as provided for in Section 3 herein, the need to lodge a complaint with the rector to initiate the investigative actions will be recommended.
- If there is evidence that there is no indication of psychological abuse as provided for in Section 3 herein, or if the reported misconduct does not fall within the scope of this protocol, the lack of feasibility of the request and the proposal to close the case will be recommended.
The applicant may decide to proceed with the complaint at their own discretion. In this case, the technician will inform them of the consequences that this may have on the rights of the affected persons and the possible responsibilities, in the event of the malicious use of this protocol, given that false accusations are an intolerable manifestation of intimidation and may lead to the start of a disciplinary procedure.
The content of the meeting and the decision by the person requesting it will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting of which two copies will be issued, signed by all in attendance, one for the person concerned and another to be kept by the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion, together with the application for intervention.
7.2.5. The head of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion will notify the applicant of the closure of the application, in the event that it is not feasible and that the latter has ratified such a proposal.
7.3. PHASE ONE: FILING OF THE COMPLAINT (start of proceedings)
7.3.1. The desire of a person to initiate the application of this protocol with the intervention of the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse must be formalized by lodging a complaint with the rector as a result of psychological abuse in the workplace.
The complaint (Appendix 2, which will be available on the intranet of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion) can be submitted via the Electronic Administration Platform (PAE) or, in person, at the UPF General Registry, on any of its premises. Likewise, complaints can be submitted at the places established by the regulations governing common administrative procedure.
The complaint must include at least: the identification of the complainant including their given name, family name and identification document (DNI/NIE/passport), telephone number and email address; the identification of the person or persons affected by the misconduct, including their given name, family name and position; the identification of the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators of the misconduct, including their given name, family name and position; a detailed statement of the situation that the person allegedly affected is undergoing and the specific actions to which they have been subjected, as well as all available evidence, if any, in possession of the affected person or persons involved; and a detailed statement of the organizational or corrective measures considered by the person allegedly affected, or the third-party complainant, that solve the problem and provide them with comprehensive protection above and beyond that which is usually contemplated in a lawsuit; the date, and the signature. The evidence must be ordered, insofar as possible, in an account with well-established dates and places, making the offensive content clear and providing the identification of the witnesses, if any and if known, including their given name, family name and organization[al body].
7.4. PHASE TWO. THE PERIOD OF PRIOR INFORMATION OR PROCEEDINGS
7.4.1. The rector, pursuant to Article 55 of Law 39/2015, of 1 October, on the common administrative procedure of public administrations, prior to the start of the disciplinary procedure, will assess whether to open a period of information or prior proceedings in order to ascertain the circumstances of the specific case and the suitability or not of initiating the disciplinary procedure.
The prior proceedings will specifically seek to determine, as precisely as possible, the events likely to motivate the initiation of the disciplinary procedure, the identification of the person or persons who may be responsible and the relevant circumstances that may apply to said events and person or persons.
The prior proceedings will be carried out by the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse.
7.4.2. Within a maximum of five working days after the complaint has been received by the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse, its chair will convene its members to present them with the allegations, internally discuss the complaint, and propose the actions to be taken.
The Committee will appoint from among its members a person who shall be responsible for directing the actions to be carried out during the investigation, informing the Committee under the terms established by the Committee. It may resort to the collaboration of internal and/or external consultants.
7.4.3. Without prejudice to the rights of the persons concerned to propose the proceedings they consider appropriate, the member designated by the Committee to direct the investigations will, ex officio, adopt the steps it deems appropriate in order to ascertain the circumstances of the specific case and conduct the appropriate checks and investigations.
As a first step, it will summon the person allegedly affected and the person or persons allegedly responsible for the misconduct that has triggered the application of this protocol to make a statement. They will be summoned on different days or at different times and to an appropriate venue to guarantee the necessary confidentiality, so that they can provide their version of the events reported and submit the proof and/or evidence on which they are based.
Once they have made their statement, it may agree to the performance of other tests it deems relevant, whether testimonial or documentary, to weigh up the evidence and clarify the facts.
Likewise, it will seek all information that enables verifying the evidence on the basis of observable facts and not of opinions that the other people implied, witnesses or managers of the unit or units involved may provide, in addition to the information that the person or persons involved in the events may provide at any time.
All UPF public employees are obliged to collaborate in this investigation process by providing all the information requested of them.
7.4.4. By way of example, the proceedings may consist of:
- Conducting personal, structured interviews to verify information related to aspects of performing the task (definition of functions, effective performance of these functions, excess or lack of tasks, employees’ knowledge of their functions, training or ability of to perform them) and of the conflict (possibility of verifying the existence of misconduct, versions, explanations and evaluation of conduct by other people, victims of the misconduct, other present or previous conflicts).
- Holding interviews with direct superiors, immediate colleagues and subordinates of the person or persons allegedly affected, of the person or persons allegedly responsible for the misconduct, employees of other units or sections and persons proposed by the persons concerned.
The information provided will be used to make the final assessment of the case. For this reason, at the start of each of the interviews, the parties concerned will be informed of the use that may be made of the details provided and their consent will be requested to record their appearances, as an element of support in subsequent actions arising from the investigation and the resolution of the case.
If necessary, different external experts may participate in the process: a psychologist, an occupational hazards prevention technician or officer, a specialist in applied psychosociology, or other specialists in the nature of the field of the reported misconduct, who will determine the origin of the conflict and assess any psychological effects. To this end, they will confirm the details obtained from the person or persons allegedly affected, through a structured interview and other instruments that the specialist or specialists may deem necessary.
Should it be deemed appropriate, the person or persons allegedly affected may also be referred to the health service responsible for monitoring the health of employees contracted by UPF. The physician specializing in occupational medicine, by means of a health examination, will assess any psychosomatic alterations that may be related to it.
Any medical reports that the affected worker may submit cannot serve, as a general rule, to determine the events, since these are usually based only on the testimony provided to the physician by the patient. However, these reports are useful for assessing the damage suffered by the worker when qualifying (Art. 11.4, 12.16 and 13.10 of the Law on infractions and sanctions in the social order) and grading (Art. 39.3 of the Law on infractions and sanctions in the social order) the sanction, and also to determine the aptitude or unfitness of the worker to perform the functions of their workplace in view of the application of Article 25.1 of the Law on Occupational Hazards Prevention.
The external experts will provide confidential draft reports which they will send to the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse, for safe-keeping.
7.4.5. The Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse will undertake the phase of prior proceedings as quickly as possible (see the principle and guarantee of action “4.3. Diligence and celerity”), depending on the characteristics of the events. If possible, this should not extend longer than forty working days from the start of the information period.
7.4.6. Once the proceedings have concluded, the chair of the Committee, having studied the draft report and internal debate concerning its interpretation, shall submit to the rector a report of conclusions that must contain at least the following points:
- A list of the names of the members of the Committee issuing the report, and the identification of the person who directed the proceedings and the parties involved.
- Background: complaint, if any, and concurrent circumstances.
- Testimonies, investigations and tests carried out and reports obtained within the framework of the prior proceedings.
- Facts that have been proven as a result of the investigation.
7.4.7. The rector, in view of the report setting out the conclusions of the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse, will issue a resolution.
This resolution will be notified to this Committee so that, pursuant to Paragraphs 6.2.1. and 7.5. herein, it may monitor the case and inform the complainant of the result of the prior proceedings carried out.
The decision must consist of one or some of the following pronouncements:
- File the proceedings due to a lack of sufficient evidence to prove the existence of misconduct or when the complaint is manifestly false.
- Adopt specific measures within the framework of the management of psychosocial risks, when the existence of misconduct is not proved but other behaviour subject to proceedings (labour conflict of an interpersonal nature or conflict of coexistence, for example), or it is deemed that stress or chronic stress (burnout) has occurred, for example.
- Refer to mediation, when the reported misconduct is in an initial stage
- –situations of low intensity or short duration abuse– and it is feasible to be re-steered in this manner.
- Initiate a disciplinary procedure, when there are indications of the existence of possible disciplinary responsibilities, the processing of which will be carried out in accordance with the corresponding regulatory regulations.
7.5. PHASE THREE: MONITORING AND CONTROL OF THE EVOLUTION OF THE CASE
7.5.1. The resolution to adopt provisional measures, if applicable, and the resolution that brings the disciplinary procedure to a close will be communicated to the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse so that, under Section 6.2. herein, it can follow up the case.
The Committee will verify the absence of the misconduct that brought about the application of this protocol, evaluating the suitability of the measures adopted and seeking to avoid possible situations of hostility in the workplace.
For this purpose, it will meet the persons involved in the events every three months from the date of rector’s firm resolution, at least during the first year, and will report the conclusions thereof to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, through the head of the Office for the Prevention of Occupational Hazards and Health Promotion.
7.5.2. Annually, the Committee for Investigation into Psychological Abuse will review all the proceedings carried out on the basis of the conduct related to this protocol, to follow it up appropriately and, where appropriate, propose to the rector the adoption of appropriate preventive and corrective measures.
In any case, the University may, within the framework of the Law on Occupational Hazards Prevention, adopt the necessary measures to improve the work environment and restore individual and environmental health.