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Human Resources Office

Department of Engineering

Studying at Cambridge


Dignity @ Work

Dignity @ Work

The University expects all members of the University community to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times. All members of the University community are expected to behave professionally and have the right to expect professional behaviour from others.

The University has in place a Dignity at Work policy, which aims to support and sustain a positive working environment for all staff, free from unacceptable behaviour and discrimination. It highlights the options available for staff if they believe they are subject to bullying, harassment or other conscious or unconscious bias.

The Department adheres to this policy and endeavours to promote the options available to staff.


The local arrangement for staff in the Department is set out as follows:

Any member of staff who feels they are being harassed or bullied is encouraged to seek advise. Problems should be discussed with the Supervisor or Line Manager in the first instance.

If the problem cannot be resolved using this route, the following people should be approached (preferably in this order, although the last two can be contacted directly if speaking to a contact external to the Department would feel more suitable):

  • Head of Division;
  • Mrs Leesa Osborn (Interim HR Manager);
  • Professor David Cardwell (Head of Department);
  • Ms Tracy Brooks (School of Technology HR Business Manager) ( tel. (7)60343);
  • University Dignity at Work contacts ( tel. (7)65301)

 As the University policy indicates, there is a clear progression in the way in which a resolution to a problem could be reached, from personal action, through informal resolution to formal complaint. All these routes will be considered, usually in this order.

All contact with any of the advisors will be treated as confidential; no information will be taken further or any action taken without the person’s consent.

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The local arrangement for graduate students is as follows:

Problems should be discussed with the Supervisor in the first instance. Advisors are also appointed for all graduate students.

If the problem cannot be resolved through the Supervisor and/or Advisor, the following people should be approached (preferably in this order):

  • Head of Group;
  • Head of Division;
  • Graduate Student Mediator;
  • Secretary of the Degree Committee;
  • Deputy Head of Department (Graduate Studies)

Please contact the Graduate Studies Office to find out who currently hold these posts.

Tutorial support is also available through the college system.



Behaviour is defined as inappropriate if it is

  • Unwanted by the recipient;
  • Perceived by the recipient to violate his/her dignity and/or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment;
  • Having regard to all the circumstances, including the recipient’s perception, the behaviour could reasonably be considered as having that effect.

Inappropriate behaviour includes a number of specific behaviours; these include bullying, harassment on account of sex (including gender reassignment), race, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, sexuality, religion or belief, or age.

This definition applies whether or not there was an intention to cause the effect.


Full details of the Dignity at Work policy and procedure can be found at