Actions to take
There are different legal rights for employees and different obligations for employers, depending on the concern and behaviours experienced.
In the following guide you can:
- Find useful definitions for bullying, harassment and discrimination
- Understand related legal protections
How you deal with reports of bullying, harassment and discrimination – for example, racial discrimination – on a production will depend on your production company’s policy and processes, and those of the commissioner or studio, if applicable.
Ask if you’re unclear on whether there’s an existing policy or what it might cover.
If your company doesn’t have an existing bullying, harassment and discrimination policy, look at the following examples:
- Dignity at Work policy template: You can refer to this template policy from the BFI, BAFTA and Bectu which aims to tackle bullying, harassment and racism in the workplace.
- BFI/BAFTA inclusion principles: In addition to the above policy, these nine online simple statements can be adopted, which also cover the prevention of bullying, harassment and racism in the industry.
- Coalition for Change Freelance Charter: This document outlines expectations around behaviour that might be useful for television production.
However the policy is created, it should include details of reporting processes and your production company’s agreed values.
As some of these issues are complex, you may need additional support from HR professionals or legal experts when creating, reviewing or using such policies.
And, whatever the policy contains, you should name a safeguarding lead, or other responsible person, at the beginning of a production, so it’s clear to everyone who they can report claims of bullying and harassment to.
Ensure the scope of this person’s role is clearly defined.
Details of your policy and reporting process should be central when onboarding new starters, and included when creating your wellbeing packs or sent alongside contracts.
Flag this information to line managers – and ensure it’s discussed in senior leader briefings, as explained in our guide on how to run a senior team wellbeing meeting.
Review support for team members in production meetings throughout filming as well as at the beginning of a production, and adjust or improve your provisions to meet your crew’s needs.
Anyone raising concerns, including witnesses, should create a written record of their experiences as soon as possible.
The Film and TV Charity has two resources to help:
- Advice on recording issues – including a downloadable template – and next steps to take can be found on their Bullying Advice Service page.
- The Listen, Acknowledge, Act guide helps employers and others support those experiencing bullying or harassment, and includes advice on actions to take based on a three-tier risk guideline for incidents.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) also has an online guide – discrimination, bullying and harassment – which explains different types of unfair and prejudicial treatment in the workplace and options for action.
A culture of good communication, defined roles, constructive feedback, and sound onboarding and exit processes all contribute to creating a safe culture and environment.
Advocating a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, encouraging people to be open about issues, and supporting colleagues to solve problems collaboratively can go a long way to de-escalating conflict areas and creating an environment where bullying can’t thrive.
Also, check that teams know where to find your policy and understand their options for raising a concern – whether informally or formally, including through a grievance – internally, and to the broadcaster or studio.
Advise people on who to talk with if they want to raise an issue, covering what to expect if they do, and confirm with recipients of any reports that they’re clear on their role in such processes.
The Call It! app, paid for by production companies, helps track staff wellbeing.
If the budget allows, it’s a useful tool, enabling people to anonymously report how they’re feeling – and incidents of bullying and harassment – and it creates a dashboard for senior managers to gauge the mood of a production.
- Film and TV Charity’s Bullying Advice Service: In addition to online resources, crew and production leaders can book 1-to-1 support with a specialist advisor – even if they’re unsure whether an experience counts as bullying.
- Film and TV Charity’s Counselling Service: Those affected by bullying can request a referral for six free counselling sessions, via the free 24/7 Film and TV Support Line: 0800 054 0000.
- ScreenSkills training: The organisation’s e-learning module on harassment and bullying at work is available and free to anyone in the TV and film industry.
- British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) training: BIFA also offers bespoke anti-bullying and harassment training and some subsidised places are available.
- Bectu support: The union offers support on bullying and harassment for members.
- Directors UK advice and support: The organisation has a bullying and harassment handbook for members and can offer confidential support.