Universiteit Leiden

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Unacceptable behaviour

The workplace should be completely free from unacceptable behaviour, such as bullying, sexual harassment, intimidation, discrimination and violence. If you experience or witness unacceptable behaviour, it can be difficult to talk about it. Yet it’s very important that you report it to the confidential counsellor for unacceptable behaviour, because unless you do, we won’t be able to help you. Anything you say to the confidential counsellor will always be treated in strict confidence, and he/she will never take action without your consent.

Marieke Brunings

Confidential counsellor for unacceptable behaviour (external)

Marieke Brunings

"People often wait too long before they come to us. They may have been having sleepless nights for a while, and might even be at risk of burnout. You should contact us as soon as you feel that something’s wrong."

When Brunings was in her mid-thirties, she started the four-year training programme in Integrative Psychotherapy, which focuses primarily on solution-focused brief therapy programmes. She has also completed the basic training courses as a Confidential Counsellor for Unacceptable Behaviour and Confidential Counsellor for Integrity.

Contact Marieke Brunings by email.

Piet de Boer

Confidential Counsellor for unacceptable behaviour (external)

Piet de Boer

"You generally find the most vulnerable groups in operational departments and lower positions, but problems can arise anywhere that there are hierarchical relationships."

De Boer has a degree in Psychology and has spent his entire working life as a confidential counsellor and complaints mediator, in areas such as youth care, healthcare, psychiatry and education.

Contact Piet de Boer by email.

Don’t wait too long to ask for advice

If you experience or witness unacceptable behaviour, it’s important to address it by speaking directly to the perpetrator(s) or informing your manager. If you’re not able to find a solution between you, or if you prefer not to involve your manager, you’re welcome to contact the confidential counsellor for unacceptable behaviour. Examples of unacceptable behaviour could include:

  • unfair treatment
  • bullying and tormenting, such as gossiping, exclusion and humiliation
  • discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, political opinions or nationality
  • sexual harassment
  • intimidation
  • aggression and violence

What the confidential counsellor does

The University has two confidential counsellors for unacceptable behaviour, and they will always be on your side. You can contact the confidential counsellor for:

  • Sharing your story and your emotions
  • Investigating what steps you could take
  • Identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each step, so that you can reach an informed decision (this could well be a decision to do nothing)
  • Advice and support
  • Assistance if you want the situation to be addressed or if you want to lodge a formal complaint with the Complaints Committee

What the confidential counsellor doesn’t do

The confidential counsellor for unacceptable behaviour does not act as a mediator, and will never intervene in the normal judicial process or act as an adviser in objection and appeal procedures. The role also does not involve ascertaining the truth as such, and does not cover job performance issues or labour disputes.

Confidentiality guaranteed

Anything you say to the confidential counsellor is strictly confidential. Every step that the confidential counsellor takes in consultation with you requires your explicit consent. You will always have the last word and will ultimately make the decision about whether to present the case to the Complaints Committee.

Complaints Committee for Unacceptable Behaviour

If you’re not able to find a solution yourself, or if the behaviour is such that you want to lodge a complaint immediately, then the confidential counsellor can help you with this. You must lodge this formal complaint with the Complaints Committee for Unacceptable Behaviour. The Complaints Committee, secretary and secretariat are also bound by a duty of confidentiality, and all information will be treated in strict confidence.

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