Unreasonable behaviour policy

We believe that all our employees and volunteers have the right to be treated respectfully, and in a polite manner.

The aim of this policy is to ensure DLS meets its duty of care towards its staff by ensuring there is a clear and effective mechanism in place for handling instances of unacceptable behaviour from those interacting with the Service.

What is unreasonable behaviour?

We wish to be clear that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated in any circumstances.  We understand that certain mental health impairments may create a predisposition to abusive behaviour in which regard you should refer to our policy on reasonable adjustments.

Unacceptable behaviour may include; physical violence, aggression, abuse, threats, rudeness, unreasonable demands (including requiring a disproportionate amount of caseworker time or DLS resources), or insisting on a particular course of action contrary to a caseworker’s professional advice.

DLS operates a zero tolerance policy towards the use of discriminatory language or abuse, whether directed towards staff members, another individual or generally.  This includes sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ageist language or abuse, and also includes language or abuse that is directed against disabled people, people who have particular religious or other beliefs, people who are married or in civil partnership and people who are pregnant.

If any such discriminatory language or abuse is encountered phone calls will be ended immediately, emails will not be answered, any relationship with the individual concerned and DLS will be ended immediately and, where appropriate, the police will be informed.

How do we respond to unreasonable behaviour?

If anyone threatens or commits physical violence against a staff member on DLS’ premises, they will be asked to leave and be reported to the Police. Threats or harassment will also be reported to the Police. Services will be withdrawn from anyone using violence, threats of violence or harassment.

If a telephone caller’s language or tone is considered aggressive, abusive or offensive, DLS staff members are authorised to end the call. Staff members may at their discretion first ask the caller to stop the behaviour before withdrawing service.

We may make a decision to restrict contact with an individual but this will only be taken after careful consideration by the CEO in consultation with the Senior Management Team. Wherever possible, we will give the service user an opportunity to modify their behaviour or action before a final decision is taken.

Examples of restricted contact may include:

  • only taking telephone calls from the individual at set times / days
  • allocating a single member of staff to deal with the individual
  • requiring the individual to make an appointment to see a particular member of staff
  • restricting the individual to written communication (including email)
  • limiting the number of issues DLS will deal with for the individual
  • other action considered appropriate

In situations where a service user’s behaviour is considered unreasonably serious or persistent, contact with the person may be terminated. Decisions to terminate contact with an individual will only be taken after careful consideration by the CEO in consultation with the Senior Management Team.

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