This policy document is the general Code of Conduct for all members of An Taisce. In addition, Directors will be bound by the Code of Conduct in the Handbook for Directors.

  1. Statement of Principles

 1.1 An Taisce is committed to maintaining and promoting a harmonious environment whereby members treat each other with dignity and respect. An Taisce recognises the importance of this in terms of achieving the objectives of the organisation, but also for improving performance, raising morale, reducing stress and making the organisation a welcoming and attractive organisation.

1.2 An Taisce recognises its duty to ensure that members are not harassed or bullied on the basis of their ethnicity , gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, disability, age, religious belief, membership of the Traveller community, or for any other reason.

1.3 An Taisce undertakes to ensure that procedures are in place to enable allegations of harassment and bullying to be investigated and considered in a fair, timely, confidential and sensitive manner. At all times it will have regard to the need for such allegations to be dealt with in a way that ensures an impartial investigation and hearing for all parties.

1.4 An Taisce is committed to ensuring that complaints brought under these procedures will not lead to the victimisation of any individual or individuals.

1.5 An Taisce recognises that any member who feels that they have been treated with a lack of respect, harassed or bullied within the meaning of this Policy are entitled to pursue their case in a safe and non-threatening environment.

1.6 An Taisce will ensure that members will be made aware of this Policy and of their obligation to respect the dignity and diversity of their colleagues and, in particular, not to engage in behaviour that may be interpreted as harassment, bullying or showing lack of respect.

1.7 An individual acting under any stage of this Policy who knowingly makes a statement that is untrue, malicious, frivolous or in bad faith may be subject to the relevant Disciplinary Procedure.

1.8 At all stages of these procedures the complainant, the person against whom the complaint has been made and any witnesses have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or other representative.


  1. Policy Objectives

2.1 To promote and disseminate that An Taisce is committed to developing a culture whereby individuals are able to raise concerns about harassment and bullying, confident that their issues will be dealt with appropriately, consistently and fairly.

2.2. To assist in developing a safe working and learning environment in which harassment and bullying are known to be unacceptable and not tolerated.

2.3 To foster a collegial environment where individuals treat one another with dignity and respect.

2.4 To eliminate all forms of offensive and inappropriate conduct, raise awareness of the effects of such conduct on individuals and their environment, and provide a culture where individuals feel able to raise complaints of harassment and bullying without fear of ridicule or victimisation.

2.5 To prevent acts of discrimination, exclusion, unfair treatment, bullying and demeaning behaviours.

2.6 To have adequate and accessible mechanisms in place for handling harassment and bullying effectively.

2.7 To ensure that members are aware of behaviour that may constitute harassment and bullying and their responsibilities for avoiding and/or preventing such behaviour.

2.8 To ensure that members understand that harassment and bullying are unacceptable, and that such behaviour will be challenged.

2.9 To provide arrangements to enable complaints of alleged harassment and bullying to be fully investigated in a manner that recognises the sensitivity of the issues raised and the rights of all parties involved.

2.10 To ensure that all complaints and allegations are dealt with fairly and equitably with appropriate and strict confidentiality to all parties concerned and, wherever possible, to encourage the internal and informal resolution of complaints.

2.11 To raise awareness of dignity and respect by educating members in the development of positive relationships.

2.12 To ensure that effective monitoring and evaluation systems are in place.


  1. Responsibilities of members

Members must adhere to and support the Vision and Mission documents of An Taisce.

Members must also adhere to the Conflicts of Interest policy of the organisation.

In meetings of An Taisce or when representing An Taisce at other meetings or via any form of communications, or in any dealings with the staff of An Taisce, members must:

3.1 Respect the rights, dignity and worth of everyone, regardless of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community and encourage inclusivity within An Taisce.

3.2 Adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying, harassing or sexually harassing within An Taisce. Members must act quickly and appropriately if any form of bullying is identified and notify the Chair and Complaints Officer of An Taisce.

3.3 Avoid foul language and behaviour that could be misinterpreted by others. Never make racist, sexist, sectarian or defamatory remarks or signs.

3.4 Must act with due regard for the safety of others.

3.5 Must not commit an unlawful act.

3.6 Must not bring An Taisce or its associated structures into disrepute.

3.7 Must not act with dishonesty or with intent to defraud or deceive.


  1. Definitions of inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour

4.1 Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

4.2 Harassment, in general terms, may be defined as unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation or any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable by the recipient.

4.3 Unacceptable behaviour (including bullying, harassment and victimisation) may involve actions, words or physical gestures that could reasonably be perceived to be the cause of another person’s distress or discomfort. Bullying or harassment may be by an individual against an individual or involve groups of people.

An Taisce defines behaviour as being unacceptable if:

  • It is unwanted by the recipient.
  • It has the purpose or effect of violating the recipient’s dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, and
  • Having regard to all the circumstances, including the recipient’s perception, it was reasonable for the behaviour to have that effect.

Unacceptable behaviour does not have to be face-to-face, and may take many forms such as written, telephone or e-mail communications or through social media. 

Some examples of unacceptable behaviour are:

  • Aggressive or abusive behaviour, such as shouting or personal insults
  • Spreading malicious rumours or gossip, or insulting someone
  • Discrimination or harassment when related to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Stalking
  • Offensive comments/jokes or body language
  • Publishing, circulating or displaying pornographic, racist, sexually suggestive or otherwise offensive material or pictures
  • Isolation, deliberate exclusion and/or non-co-operation at work
  • Persistent and unreasonable criticism
  • Unreasonable demands and impossible asks
  • Coercion, such as pressure to subscribe to a particular political or religious belief

For the avoidance of doubt and for the purposes of this policy, invoking An Taisce procedures where such procedures are applied reasonably and appropriately will not constitute unacceptable behaviour. 

It is important to note that behaviour that is considered bullying by one person may be considered acceptable by another. For instance, legitimate, constructive and fair feedback on a member’s performance or behaviour in activities undertaken on behalf of the organisation is not bullying. 

Isolated incidents of unreasonable behaviour such as abruptness, sharpness or rudeness whilst unacceptable, will generally not be considered to amount to bullying.  However, individuals may want to let the other person know how their behaviour has made them feel in order to avoid a repeat of such behaviour.  If the behaviour does continue over a period of time this may be considered to be bullying/harassment.

  1. Responsibilities of the Board

5.1 The ultimate responsibility for the implementation of this policy and associated procedures rests with the Board of Directors of An Taisce.

5.2 The Board has ultimate responsibility to promote a culture of mutual respect, professionalism and tolerance and to ensure the principles and objectives detailed above in Section 1 & 2 are honoured and upheld. However, this does not detract from the personal obligations of members to respect and promote dignity in their activities related to the organisation as detailed above.

5.3  Disciplinary issues can arise when problems of conduct by members are raised and An Taisce seeks to address them through the agreed Disciplinary Procedures, a copy of which is available on request.

Please remember: All An Taisce Members are obliged to comply with this Code of Conduct