Policy for Unacceptable Behaviour and Actions
This Policy covers all interactions between Union Street’s employees and contracted staff and the staff of its customers, their customers or those who may contact Union Street on their behalf. Such interactions include but, are not limited to, face to face, telephone, social media, email, website and through Union Street’s Service Desk.
Union Street is aware that people may act out of character when under pressure or in times of distress such as when they are raising a complaint or are raising an urgent enquiry. In such situations the issue may be raised in a determined way to best ensure successful resolution.
This policy aims to address behaviours and actions made during the course of interactions with Union Street that place unreasonable demands on its staff or the company as a whole, whilst ensuring that services subscribed to are available to all on an equal basis.
Aggressive or Abusive Behaviour
Union Street understands that, when a service issue occurs, that this can lead to anger and/or frustration at the situation. Where this escalates into abusive or aggressive behaviour towards Union Street staff, this is deemed to be unacceptable. Union Street will not tolerate any violence, aggression or verbal abuse towards its staff. Please note that:
- Verbal abuse may include swearing, derogatory remarks, personal abuse and threats
- Violence is not restricted to physical harm and includes behaviour that causes Union Street’s staff to feel threatened, afraid or abused
- Unsubstantiated allegations and inflammatory statements are viewed as abusive behaviour
Union Street accepts that many demands made by its customers are completely reasonable, however, the following types of demand are viewed as unreasonable:
- Repeatedly demanding responses within an unreasonable timescale
- Demanding to speak to a member of staff when an explanation that they are not available has been given
- Repeatedly asking to change the substance of a complaint or query or raising unrelated concerns
While raising a complaint or servicing issue it is necessary to provide Union Street with the correct level of information to investigate and resolve the raised issue. This is completely normal and acceptable.
On occasion a customer may repeatedly contact Union Street with long telephone calls or inundate its staff with copies of information that has already been sent. It is this sort of contact that is deemed as unreasonable.
Unreasonable use of Union Street’s Complaints or Resolution Services
In most cases Union Street’s complaints processes are used in a reasonable and acceptable manner by its customers. It is not Union Street’s intent to, in any way, block or impede reasonable use.
On occasion the same issue may be repeatedly raised and when the effect of this is to prevent a legitimate process being followed so a decision can be made, or to harass, it is viewed as unreasonable.
Other Forms of Unreasonable Conduct
While many forms of unreasonable conduct have been described above, there are some that have not been. Where this is the case, conduct towards Union Street’s staff should adhere to the spirit of this Policy’s intent to allow reasonable contact to be successful and unimpeded and to prevent unreasonable conduct.
Managing Unreasonable Actions
Where aggressive or abusive behaviour is received over the phone, Union Street reserves the right to terminate the call. Warning will usually be provided to the caller to modify their language or behaviour prior to the call’s termination.
In the event that a customer behaves and/or acts in an unreasonable manor, said customer will receive in writing:
- A letter explaining why their behaviour/conduct has been unacceptable and advising how they must change their behaviour before contacting Union Street again
- A copy of this policy
If necessary, Union Street may need to restrict methods of communication for customers with its staff on an ongoing basis. Where possible, the customer will be given an opportunity to change their behaviour or action before a decision to restrict contact is made. This will be decided on a case by case basis. If a decision is made to restrict contact, a letter explaining why the restriction(s) have been put in place and for how long will be sent to them.
Restrictions may include but are not limited to some or all of the following:
- Limit contact to a specific method such as by letter or telephone
- Restrict contact to a nominated employee(s)
- Return or in extreme cases even destroy further irrelevant documentation sent to Union Street
- Take any other action considered to be appropriate
If a decision is made to restrict contact it can be appealed but, only in relation to the restriction, not to the servicing issue or complaint or the closure of these. Any such appeal might relate to the customer’s actions potentially being incorrectly identified by Union Street, or a suggestion that the restrictions are disproportionate to the actions. An appeal of this nature would be reviewed by a member of senior management or compliance not involved in the original decision and the appeal decision will be final.