Unreasonable Behaviour Policy 2023
BNS Limited (The Company) has adopted the ARMA and IRPM ‘Unreasonable Behaviour’ Policy to protect our employees from unacceptable or distressing forms of behaviour.
BNS Ltd – Adoption of ARMA and IRPM Unreasonable Behaviour Policy dated 4th May 2022
It is the purpose of our roles to deliver an exceptional customer service to all our customers, whether that be residents, leaseholders, or clients. We understand that managing people’s homes requires dealing with customers that have an emotional investment and this can sometimes cause distress and make dealing with customers difficult. We are prepared and have tools to enable us to ease such conversations and provide effective resolutions to these problems.
Occasionally, there may be instances when we deal with an individual whose behaviour is considered unreasonable. We have a duty to ensure that our staff are properly protected, in accordance with our health and safety obligations and our general responsibility to safeguard their welfare. We do not expect our staff to tolerate unreasonable behaviour and maintain a zero-tolerance approach, particularly where there are instances of aggressive or threatening behaviour.
What is unreasonable behaviour?
Unreasonable behaviour is any behaviour that is deemed unacceptable, the various forms of which are detailed below. We do not view behaviour as unreasonable just because a person is forceful or determined. We all have a responsibility to maintain respect and professionalism in line with our values, even when challenged by clients.
However, we do consider behaviour that results in unreasonable demands of our staff, or unreasonably distresses to our staff, to be unacceptable.
Wherever possible, we will give the person the opportunity to change their behaviour or action before a decision is taken. In the event that action needs to be taken to deal with unreasonable behaviour, we will make a detailed note of events, including the unreasonable behaviour and any action taken to mitigate it. This will be recorded in a central register and will be done as soon as possible after the event. We may choose to record phone calls to company phones. When this is the case, we will give clear notice and subsequent reminders.
Zero-tolerance policy – We feel strongly that no member of staff at BNS should be subjected to aggressive, threatening and abusive behaviour. In the unlikely event that a client demonstrates this behaviour towards any of our employees, we have a zero-tolerance policy. We have set out below a number of actions we may take including calling the authorities if we feel this is necessary in order to safeguard our team in the workplace.
Forms of unreasonable behaviour
We deem the following behaviour to be unacceptable when liaising with our staff:
Being unreasonably persistent – for example, ringing frequently to raise points already addressed; sending voluminous repetitive or irrelevant emails or letters; (Note that there is no set period for being unreasonably persistent as the nature of the persistence will inevitably vary. However, depending on the circumstances, we will consider whether a person is being unreasonably persistent by assessing the frequency of persistence over a period of 3, 6 and 12 months).
Rudeness – swearing (generally or directed at a member of staff), persistent interruption, name calling or general discourtesy.
Anger – in volume or tone of voice, such as shouting.
Aggressive behaviour – threats of physical harm to person(s) or property; behaviour which indicates that physical harm to person(s) or property is imminent or actual physical aggression.
Insulting or disparaging remarks or comments – especially on the grounds of an individual’s sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, belief or age.
Inflammatory remarks or personal remarks directed at staff – these are examples and not a definitive list of unacceptable behaviours. There are other behaviours not included in the above which may constitute unacceptable behaviour.
Dealing with unreasonable behaviour
We may choose to deal with unreasonable behaviour by any of the following means:
Call Termination – Where a person behaves unreasonably during a telephone call to a member of staff, we will ask them to change their behaviour. If they persist in behaving unreasonably, we will warn them that we will terminate the call. If they persist further, we will follow that through. The staff member who terminates the call may report this to a senior figure within the company, and a written note of the telephone conversation will be made and logged.
Walking away from the situation –Where we are interacting with a client or customer face to face and the situation becomes heated, it may be appropriate for the staff member to remove themselves completely from the environment they are in. Particularly if there are threats of violence or aggressive behaviour which risks compromising safety. In these instances, we would encourage the staff member to explain calmly and clearly to the client/customer why they are taking this course of action before removing themselves from the situation. The staff member should contact their line manager immediately to inform them of the incident.
Limiting Contact – Where a person is unreasonably persistent, for example by telephoning us several times a day for a number of days in succession, or by sending us voluminous or repetitive emails or letters, we will ask them to reduce their contact with the office to that which is absolutely essential.
If our request is ignored, we will take steps to limit their contact with the office. Such steps might include requiring contact in a particular form – for example by letter only; requiring telephone contact on specified days or at specified times; or insisting that contact is only made with specific staff member(s) or through a third party to contact us on the persons behalf.
Threats of legal action – Whenever a client threatens legal action or if matters are raised formally, we will follow our procedures and only converse in writing. We will make it clear to the client that we have a robust complaint handling procedure that they are required to follow.
Informing the Authorities – Where we receive threats against individual staff members/voluntary advisers or office property, immediate action may be taken including informing the police or other emergency services.
Terminating Contact – In exceptional circumstances, we may refuse to have further contact with individuals who are unreasonably persistent or abusive. Where we put limitations on contact with the office, this will be sanctioned by a senior figure within the company.
Clients attending the office without an appointment – If a client or customer has taken it upon themselves to attend the office without an appointment we will calmly, politely and professionally explain that meetings are by appointment only.
In order to reach the person they wish to meet with we will encourage the client to communicate via the mybns portal, by email or by phone. Alternatively, they can email email@example.com and we will make sure it gets to the relevant person.
If they wish to make a formal complaint, we would ask them to follow the complaints handling procedure which can be printed and handed to the client if necessary.
For any advice or guidance on unreasonable behaviour please speak with your line manager in the first instance.
Through the above measures, we have taken steps to recognise and safeguard our staff from unreasonable behaviour.