Discrimination and offensive treatment

Linnaeus University has a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination, harassment and other violations. Linnaeus University actively works preventively using active measures pursuant to the Discrimination Act and the Work Environment Act. In order for Linnaeus University to be an open, welcoming and inclusive environment, all students and employees must feel a responsibility to contribute to a good study and work environment.

Here you will find information about discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation. You will also find information about how to submit a report. 

Discrimination

Discrimination is a complex phenomenon because it often occurs in more subtle ways. Put simply, discrimination can be explained in terms of someone being disadvantaged or violated, and that the disadvantage can be linked to one of the seven grounds of discrimination;

The law refers to six forms of discrimination:

What does it mean to be disadvantaged?
A person is disadvantaged when another person’s actions, decisions or behaviour results in a negative consequence for said person, as in detriment, disadvantage or discomfort. This could, for example, refer to a person who is put in a disadvantaged position or denied an improvement, benefit or service. It does not matter whether the intention was to disadvantage; the effect or result determines if the action caused a disadvantage.

In order to disadvantage someone, a person needs to be in a position of power or have the means needed to disadvantage. For example, a manager has the power and means to disadvantage an employee, a teacher can disadvantage a student. However, a student normally lacks the power or means to disadvantage a fellow student or teacher. On the other hand, a student can subject a fellow student to harassment or sexual harassment, and also victimisation.

Harassment and sexual harassment
Harassment entails actions that violate someone’s dignity. In order to be covered by the Discrimination Act, the harassment must be linked to any or several grounds of discrimination. Harassment can, for example, include expressions of ridicule and derogatory generalisations, linked to the grounds of discrimination (gender, gender expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and age.).

Harassment can also be of a sexual nature. This is known as sexual harassment. In addition to comments and words, it could, for example, also include groping or insolent looks. It may also include unwanted compliments, invitations or allusions.

Harassment and sexual harassment are unwanted behaviour. It is the person subjected to harassment who determines what is deemed unwanted and violating. According to the law, the harasser must understand how their actions are perceived in order for them to count as harassment or sexual harassment. It is therefore important that the person being harassed makes it clear to the harasser that their behaviour is unpleasant and unwanted. In certain situation, the violation is so apparent that no comment from the person being harassed is required.

Victimisation
To violate someone is to humiliate them using words or deeds. Victimisation means that someone is treated differently from others in a incomprehensible or unfair manner, which puts them at risk of becoming ostracised from their workplace community. The actions do not need to be repeated to be perceived as violating, a single incident is enough.

Clear examples of victimisation includes not being greeted, being called nicknames, actively being ostracised, being excluded from meetings you normally would be present at, being unfairly accused or named and shamed or be called mean things by others, sabotaging or making someone’s work more difficult, such as by withholding information or providing false information, systematically ignoring an employee/student by, for example, withholding information or providing false information. (AFS 2015:4).

As an employer, the University is obligated to investigate any incidents to see if there are any connections between what happened and the work conditions. Temporary conflicts, differences of opinion or difficulties in cooperating should not be confused with victimisation. Difficulties cooperating in a team can have many underlying causes and be caused due to structural problems within the organisation, such as workload, management or staff politics.

The problems can, regardless of whether they are connected to victimisation, affect the psychosocial work environment and lead to stress, a tense atmosphere within the team and increased sick leave. Therefore, it is important that problems be brought to light.

The employer’s responsibilities and obligations are described in the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s provisions on Systematic Work Environment Management (AFS 2001:1) and Organisational and Social Work Environment (AFS 2015:4).

Reporting
Reports of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation taking place at Linnaeus University can be made in the following ways:    

  • You can contact the head of your department and report what happened. The Head of the Department is responsible for investigating what happened and documenting their work. If the Head of Department was the one mistreating you, you can contact your faculty’s dean.
  • Registrar: A report can be submitted or sent to the registrar at Linnaeus University in the form of an email, registrator@lnu.se, or via mail to Registrar, Linnaeus University, 351 95 Växjö.      
  • Verbal report: Oral reports can also be made to the Coordinator for Equal Rights.  

Both the person who was subjected to some form of discrimination and another person who has observed abuse can make a report. Reports can however not be made anonymously.

What should a report contain?
A report submitted to Linnaeus University should include: 

  • an account of what has transpired 
  • when the incident took place 
  • the name of the victim and their workplace/department 
  • the name of the alleged harasser and their workplace/department
  • any witnesses to the incident

Investigation
After the report has been received, an investigator will be appointed by the Executive Office. The investigator will then conduct their investigation. The investigator will inform the victim of the available support functions, for example, occupational health services and the Student Welfare Office, and also present the affected parties with the outcome of their investigation.

The investigation is reported in writing. Decisions pertaining to the matter will be made by the Dean or the University Director, depending on where the accused is employed. Measures may be general or specific in nature. They can involve training for staff and informing students about rules. The Disciplinary Board may decide to issue a warning or suspend a student. The Staff Disciplinary Committee may decide to issue a warning, deduct salary or terminate an employee due to personal reasons, dismissal, indictment report or suspension.

Retaliation is prohibited
Linnaeus University enforces a ban on retaliation, which means that if you have filed a report, you will not be subjected to any form of punishment or mistreatment as a reaction to your report. Retaliation is also prohibited as per the regulations of the Discrimination Act. 

If you feel that you have been the victim of some form of negative treatment, you should report this to the individuals investigating your report. The negative treatment shall cease, and a new investigation regarding the ban on retaliation being violated shall be initiated.

Process description for suspected discrimination, harassment, victimisation and retaliation

Support
If you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment, it might help to talk to someone about your experiences. As an employee at Linnaeus University, you can contact the following for advice and support:

Support within the University
Safety representatives and union representatives
To receive support and advice, contact your safety representative or union representative. These representatives can help you along the process and have a duty of confidentiality. 

Coordinator for Equal Rights
You can contact a Coordinator for Equal Rights if you have any concerns regarding filing a report, if you want support in filing a report or if you have any other questions concerning harassment or sexual harassment. Please do remember that you cannot file a report anonymously.

The student union Linnéstudenterna - doctoral students only
As a doctoral student, you can turn to Linnéstudenterna to receive advice and support regarding your contact with the University. You can ask your student representative for help when writing your report. They can also accompany you throughout the reporting process. Student representatives have a duty of confidentiality and will not disclose any information, names or pursue a case against the student’s or doctoral student’s wishes.

Support outside Linnaeus University’s operations
If you want support or advice from outside Linnaeus University’s operations, there are several organisations you can contact.

  • Women’s refuge in Kalmar – +46 (0)480-191 55
  • Women’s refuge Blenda in Växjö – +46 (0)470-488 08
  • Terrafem offers support for women via a helpline. The call is free of charge and you can remain anonymous. Helpline: +46 (0)20- 52 10 10.
  • Kvinnofridslinjen is a national help line for victims of threats, violence or sexual abuse. Their phone lines are open 24/7 and can be reached by calling +46 (0)20-50 50 50.
  • The helpline offers temporary psychological support for people going through a crisis. Telephone +46 (0)771-22 00 60
  • Jourhavande medmänniska is a helpline you can call during the night. Telephone +46 (0)8-702 16 80

If you are concerned that you may be subjecting others to sexual assault:

  • Preventell is an organisation for people who feel that they have lost control over their sexuality and are afraid that they will harm themselves or others. Telephone +46 (0)20-66 77 88

     

Contacts

Emma Ebintra Coordinator for Equal Rights
+46 (0)470767807
+46 (0)727167807
emma.ebintra@lnu.se

Karin Fingal Coordinator for Equal Rights
+46 (0)480446043
+46 (0)761150909
karin.fingal@lnu.se