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Code of Conduct concerning Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Aggression, Violence and Discrimination University of Groningen

2009 - Pursant to article 1.12 Collective Labour Agremeent for Dutch Universities


This Code of Conduct for harassment, sexual harassment, aggression, violence and discrimination is the outcome of efforts by parties to the Collective Labour Agreement to create guarantees for a positive and rewarding working environment within Dutch universities. Collegiality, respect and consideration for others are part of the standard etiquette of such a working environment, as is a prompt response to unwelcome behaviour. Such an environment requires an active contribution from all those employed at the University, not only in terms of their own conduct, but also by being alert to any form of unwanted behaviour that they identify in their work situation. Unwelcome behaviour should always be addressed, whether by speaking to the persons concerned directly or by calling in third parties. It is also vital that a university is a positive and rewarding environment in which to study. For this reason, the code of conduct targets unwelcome behaviour towards and among students in the context of their studies at this university.

The purpose of the code of conduct is to draw these principles explicitly to the attention of all sections of the University community.


This code of conduct applies to all employees and students of the University, in their conduct towards:

  • students
  • employees of the University
  • others engaged to work at the University, such as visiting lecturers, trainees and temporary employees
  • third parties or employees of third parties carrying out work on the University campus
  • visitors to the University.


Sexual harassment:
Any unwelcome sexual advance in the form of requests for sexual favours or other verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour (including the unsolicited sending or deliberate consultation of pornographic images or texts in a way that is visible to others, including via the internet).

Conduct that aims to violate or results in the violation of the dignity of a person, creating a threatening, hostile, insulting, humiliating or offensive environment.  

Aggression and violence:
The deliberate verbal expression or use of physical force or power, or threat to use physical force or power, directed at an employee or student .

In any way making statements about, acting against or taking decisions about people that insult them by virtue of their race, religion, sex, creed and/or sexual orientation, or making any distinction on the basis of these aspects.

The systematic, repeated psychological abuse of a colleague or fellow student by a person or group.

Sexual harassment, aggression and violence, discrimination and bullying may take different forms:

  • Subjecting a person to unwelcome behaviour is an explicit or implicit condition of that individual’s employment or study
  • Subjecting a person to unwelcome behaviour or the rejection of such behaviour forms the basis for decisions affecting that individual’s employment or study
  • The unwelcome behaviour aims to affect or does affect the individual’s work or study performance, creating an intimidating, hostile or unpleasant work or study environment.

Preventive policy

The drawing up of this code of conduct is intended as a form of preventive policy. Preventive policy on harassment, sexual harassment, aggression and violence, bullying and discrimination forms part of University policy, and should be realized in the following ways:

  • Ensuring that the code is sufficiently publicized
  • Providing sufficient information about the policy and the risks of unwelcome behaviour within the institute
  • Systematically charting the risks relating to unwelcome behaviour as part of the Risk Inventory & Evaluation (RIE) as referred to in the Working Conditions Act
  • Eliminating or reducing risks relating to unwelcome behaviour
  • Monitoring compliance with the code of conduct
  • Training managers and lecturers within the institute
  • For employees: embedding the code of conduct in the policy on career development interviews and assessment interviews.

Confidential advisor

The University employs a confidential advisor who is independent and enjoys the protection of the University. The work of the confidential advisor includes:

  • Contributing to communications about unwelcome behaviour
  • Contributing to the development and implementation of the preventive policy as referred to in the code of conduct
  • Ensuring  appropriate support for anyone who may object to the support given to the complainant during the formal hearing of the complaint
  • Providing aftercare where necessary
  • Recording complaints, in part with a view to identifying problem areas and making recommendations
  • Drawing up an annual report.  

Complaints regulations

The University has a Complaints Regulation concerning Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Aggression, Violence and Discrimination (SIAGD). The key themes covered by this regulation are:

  1. Confidentiality
    One article of the regulation guarantees the confidentiality of the complaints procedure.
  2. Complaints committee
    Another article sets out the composition of an independent expert complaints committee. The complaints committee advises the Board of the University on settling complaints. Appropriate measures, including disciplinary measures and dismissal, may be taken if the Board deems this necessary.
  3. Complaints period
    The regulation stipulates the period within which the complaint must be lodged in order to be addressed.

The University has a General Regulation concerning Complaints in addition to the SIAGD Complaints Regulation. Both regulations are published on the University of Groningen website.

This code of conduct will take effect on 1 February 2009.

When this code of conduct takes effect, it will supersede the Code of Conduct concerning Harassment, S exual Harassment, Aggression, Violence and Discrimination University of Groningen 24 July 2001. Agreed by the Board of the University of Groningen, following endorsement by the Local Consultative Body and the University Council, on 20 January 2009.

Last modified:13 March 2020 12.26 a.m.
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