What To Do If You Are Accused of Disrespectful Behavior

If you have been told that your behavior makes someone feel uncomfortable, then you should stop and reflect on what you are doing. Even though your behavior may seem innocent to you, it is important to consider its effect on others.

If you are told that your behavior is disrespectful

  • Listen carefully to the complaint and to the particular concerns expressed.

  • Remember it is the other person’s reaction to your behavior which is important, not your intention or the reaction you think they should have.

  • Stop the behavior and review what you are doing. It may be you have upset other colleagues who have not complained.

  • If you do not understand the complaint, discuss the matter with an HR representative, Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) consultant, the University Ombuds, or someone else you trust.

  • If a formal complaint is filed, cooperate with the investigation by making yourself available and by telling the truth in response to questions.

  • Seek assistance from FEAP if it would be helpful to speak confidentially with a professional counselor.

  • If you are found to have bullied or harassed someone after their objection to your behavior was made known to you, the fact that you persisted will make the offense more serious in disciplinary proceedings.


If you are convinced that you are being unjustly accused, and/or that the complaint is malicious

  • Contact an HR representative or the University Ombuds. It may be that an informal discussion between you, the person alleging ill-treatment, and a third party will solve the problem.

  • If this does not occur, and it is clear that formal proceedings will ensue, involve your local HR representative.

  • Gather evidence in your defense, including witnesses.

  • Get support. Talk about the problem with a HR representative, FEAP consultant, or the University Ombuds.