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Wards Solicitors Zero Tolerance Policy

The majority of individuals who contact us communicate with us in a polite and courteous manner. This policy is aimed at how we manage the relatively few individuals whose actions we consider unreasonable. We will manage behaviour that is aggressive or abusive, or which places unreasonable demands on our staff.

Aggressive/abusive behaviour is behaviour or language (whether verbal, i.e. face to face or by telephone, or written) that may cause staff to feel intimidated, threatened or abused. Examples may include:

  • threats,
  • verbal abuse,
  • racist and sexist language,
  • derogatory remarks,
  • offensive language,
  • rudeness,
  • making inflammatory statements, or
  • raising unsubstantiated allegations.

Unreasonable demands and communication may include:

  • requesting responses to unreasonable timescales,
  • insisting on speaking with certain members of staff, or
  • adopting a “capture-all” approach by contacting many staff members and third parties.

How will we manage unreasonable behaviour?

All staff have the authority to manage unreasonable behaviour. This may include informing you that we will start recording the phone call, or informing you that the phone call will be terminated. (Note that if we begin recording a phone call, the resulting audio file will be transcribed and then immediately destroyed.) Incidents of unreasonable behaviour must be reported to the compliance officer at the earliest opportunity.

We have a zero-tolerance position on violence and threats against our staff and this behaviour will always be reported to the police if appropriate.

In all other cases, we may inform you that your behaviour is unreasonable and ask you to modify your behaviour. We will explain what action will be taken if the warning is ignored and, if you do not modify your behaviour, we will take steps to restrict communications with you. If we decide a restriction is appropriate, we will consider which of the options open to us best fits the circumstances. The level of restriction that we apply will be proportionate, taking into account the nature, extent and impact of your behaviour on our ability to do our work. This may include blocking emails/calls from you, terminating our retainer, limiting who within Wards is able to speak to you etc.

Any decision to limit our contact with you will be made at partner/manager/compliance level and will be communicated to you.  If you object, you may ask for our decision to be reviewed by another person of partner/manager/compliance level.

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