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Malicious Allegations

The University expects that any complaints, concerns or claims raised will be done in good faith; any which is malicious, vexatious or frivolous may lead to disciplinary action being taken against those that raised them. Whilst raising concerns can be a stressful experience, the University has to ensure the safety and welfare of those in the university community including staff and students.

Examples of unacceptable behaviours whilst raising a concern

When raising concerns you should not communicate in the following unacceptable ways;

  • abusive,
  • offensive,
  • defamatory,
  • distressing,
  • aggressive,
  • threatening,
  • coercive,
  • intimidating, or
  • unreasonably persistent or demanding

We understand that anger, frustration, upset and whole range of emotional responses to situations can affect you and it is fair to highlight the emotional impacts a situation has had on you but this should never be an excuse to communicate in an unacceptable way.

If you are communicating in an unacceptable way we expect (in most instances) that the University will initially tell you why they find your behaviour unacceptable and give you an opportunity to change it.

If the unacceptable behaviour continues, the University may take the following actions;

  • outline why they feel your behaviour is unacceptable and any action the University is taking,
  • asking you to enter into an agreement about your conduct,
  • requesting contact in a particular form (for example letters only),
  • require all contact to take place with a specific person,
  • restricting telephone calls to specified days and times,
  • asking you to appoint a representative to correspond with the university in your place,
  • in exceptional circumstances, invoking procedures on malicious or vexatious complaints,
  • during a telephone conversation, as a last resort, terminate the call,
  • terminate all contact with you; which may end any formal process taking place,
  • where behaviour is extreme enough that it threatens the immediate safety and welfare of University staff or student, the unviersity may without any prior warning 
    • consider taking you through disciplinary proceedings
    • suspend you from campus
    • report matters to the police
    • take legal action against you

Vexatious allegations is any complaint, concern or claim made which;

  • clearly does not have any serious purpose or value
  • is designed to cause disruption or annoyance or create disproportionate inconvenience or expense
  • has the effect of harassing the University or members of the university community, including staff and students
  • can otherwise fairly be characterised as obsessive or manifestly unreasonable

An allegation should not be deemed vexatious simply because it causes inconvenience or expense.

If you have made an allegation any decision to deem the allegation vexatious must always be given to you in writing, together with the reasons upon which the decision was based and a completion of procedures letter. The University would need to be able to defend any challenge to such a decision.

Frivolous allegations is any complaint, concern or claim made which;
  • clearly is not serious or sensible in content, attitude or behaviour
  • there is an absence of a clear desire for redress or a sensible and realistic form of redress indicating a lack of seriousness
  • it is reasonable to assume that there was no intention that the complaint be seen as serious or sensible or that redress was sought (but not to the extent that it can be considered vexatious or malicious)

An allegation should not be deemed frivolous simply because it is irritating to or inconvenient for the recipient.

If you have made an allegation any decision to deem the allegation frivolous must always be given to you in writing, together with the reasons upon which the decision was based and a completion of procedures letter. The University would need to be able to defend any challenge to such a decision.

Malicious allegations is any complaint, concern or claim made where;

  • there is evidence of intention to do harm or mischief, either explicit or implied
  • in the absence of any clear evidence, it is reasonable to assume the complainant intended to do harm or mischief
  • a genuine complaint seeks redress, malice might be implied where it is clear that no redress is sought

An allegation should not be deemed malicious simply because;

  • it threatens harm or mischief (e.g. to bring the University into disrepute) if demands for redress remain unsatisfied
  • it may lead to outcomes which might be embarrassing to the University or bring the University into disrepute
  • there is no obvious request for redress is stated

If you have made an allegation any decision to deem the allegation malicious must always be given to you in writing, together with the reasons upon which the decision was based and a completion of procedures letter. The University would need to be able to defend any challenge to such a decision.

Page last reviewed: 01/03/2019
Next review due: 31/08/2020