Published on: 06 September 2018 in Industry

Directors UK launches new Bullying and Harassment Handbook

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Directors UK has today launched a new bullying and harassment handbook for screen directors working in the film and television industry.

Following recent industry revelations about sexual harassment and bullying, Directors UK has prepared this new handbook to help directors deal with scenarios of workplace misconduct, bullying and harassment – whether they are the victim, witness or perpetrator.

As the creative lead on a production, directors play a vital role in creating a safe and supportive environment for cast and crew. However, as directors are predominantly freelancers, it’s often the case that they don’t have full access to common HR resources and safeguards. This handbook aims to empower directors by highlighting the various options that are available to them, and to help them understand the significance of their own and other people’s behaviour.

Bullying & Harassment: A Handbook for Screen Directors was produced following consultation with key industry bodies and is designed to be a ‘best practice’ guide for directors. The handbook provides legal definitions of bullying and harassment, as well as practical advice and information to help prevent, identify and address negative behaviour if it does occur.

Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns comments: “This guidance handbook for directors offers practical advice and support to help deal with abusive attitudes and behaviours within the industry. Everyone has the right to work in a safe professional environment, and it is essential that there is a shared understanding of what are respectful and inclusive working practices and valuable guidance on how to deal with abusive behaviour.”

BAFTA-winning director Susanna White (Woman Walks Ahead, Our Kind of Traitor, Generation Kill), Directors UK Vice-Chair and Film Committee Chair, says: “Now, more than ever, as the spotlight has been focused on poor or criminal behaviour within our industry, we must lead by example and ensure our own behaviour and attitudes are reflective and considerate, to encourage and inspire others within the industry to create a safe working environment for all.”

Beyond the handbook, at Directors UK we also offer our members practical advice and support, and a resolution service if a complaint is made. Our overriding principal will be to provide a discrete and impartial response and, where appropriate, offer channels for mediation and escalation.

Find out more about the Directors UK Bullying and Harassment campaign.


Directors UK members: are you being bullied?

You may not realise if you are being bullied (or are bullying someone else). If you recognise any of the behaviours below, then you may need our help.

  • Offensive comments, insults or sarcasm about someone’s professional competence.
  • Belittling someone’s work contribution, including public ‘dressing downs’ or being overly critical without reasonable cause.
  • Setting someone up to fail by assigning impossible tasks or deadlines.
  • Damaging someone’s reputation, to a third party.
  • Unwanted physical contact or comments of a sexual nature.
  • Threatening employment status without legal grounding.

Sound familiar? Please take notes of dates, times and a description of each incident. Then call us on 0207 240 0009. We can help you identify appropriate next steps and we will handle all information confidentially and impartially.

Find out more about what to look out for and what we can do to help in Bullying & Harassment: A Handbook for Screen Directors or on the Bullying and Harassment campaign page.