Work environment

Chalmers works in several different ways to promote a good work environment and prevent risk of ill health due to physical, organisational and social conditions.
  • The physical work environment consists of things like the wrong temperature, buzzing background noise, ergonomically unsound desks, heavy lifting, poor air quality and awkward work posture.
  • The organisational work environment is about the conditions of work that are impacted upon by management and control, communication, participation, room for manoeuvre, demands, resources and responsibility.
  • The social work environment is about the conditions of work that include social interaction, collaboration and social support from others around a person.
Discrimination, harassment and victimisation are issues that are a part of the organisational and social work environment. 

Victimisation

Victimisation is a legal term taken from work environment legislation and regulations. The concept is explained as acts that are directed at one or more people in a way that violates their dignity and that may lead to ill health or that they are excluded from a community. It is a generic term for acts that are perceived to be incomprehensible and unfair by the person subjected to them. Unlike discrimination and harassment, such acts do not need to have a link to any grounds of discrimination.

Examples of occurrences that are regarded as victimisation:
  • to be called names or be referred to in unpleasant terms in the company of others 
  • to be ostracised, not spoken to or excluded from meetings one ought to be able to attend
  • to be reviled or have rumours spread about one
  • to be ridiculed or subjected to disparaging language
  • to be subjected to worse treatment compared with other people in the same work environment
If instances of victimisation continue over a long period of time, this can lead to bullying, a social-psychological concept that is usually described as repeated acts of victimisation that are systematic and occur over a period of time. 
Examples of situations that mean acts of victimisation are categorised as bullying:
  • to be subjected to repeated negative treatment
  • in situations where the person subjected to the treatment has difficulty defending themselves or getting away
  • in relationships where there is an imbalance of power

Work environment for employees

As regards employees, responsibility for the organisational and social work environment – and thereby also for dealing with harassment and victimisation – lies with your manager. According to the Swedish Work Environment Act, the manager is responsible for investigating incidents and potentially implementing measures. If a colleague seems to be subjected to harassment, you can report this to your manager or HR partner. 

As an employee, if you witness an incident, you should:
  • not accept demeaning or disparaging jargon 
  • clearly indicate your opposition to abuse 
  • listen to and support a colleague who has been subjected to abuse
If it is the manager who is the problem, or you do not trust them, you can:
  • Contact the department’s (equivalent) HR partner 
  • Contact the manager’s superior 
  • Report – if you have the approval of the person subjected to abuse

Study environment for the student

Primary responsibility for the organisational and social work environment lies with your Head of Programme. This responsibility involves taking both proactive and reactive steps to enhance well-being and reduce the amount of mental ill health. Harassment is first and foremost a work environment problem, which means that it is the Head of Programme who is responsible for taking care of situations involving harassment. However, it is, of course, everyone’s responsibility and duty to contribute to making Chalmers a place where harassment does not occur.

As a student, if you witness incidents, you should:
  • not accept demeaning or disparaging jargon
  • clearly indicate your opposition to abuse
  • listen to and support a fellow student who has been subjected to abuse
If it is the Head of Programme who is the problem, or you do not trust them, you can:
  • contact the chair of the Social Unit (Student Welfare Officer) or student safety representative (SAMO) in your section for support
  • speak to a student guidance counsellor
  • report – if you have the approval of the person subjected to abuse

If you are a student and something happens in a recreational setting

All types of incidents can be reported on this website. If you would rather contact the Student Union, you can contact your section’s student safety representative (SAMO) or the chair of the Social Unit (Student Welfare Officer) in the Student Union Management Team.
If you witness/are subjected to something, but do not know who did what, you can still contact them. Action can still be taken to ensure organisers have a greater awareness of issues or can implement better procedures.

Page manager Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021.