Gegen Diskriminierung an der RUB

Anti-Discrimination Directive of Ruhr University Bochum

Ruhr University Bochum stands for diversity and equal opportunities and attaches importance to non-discriminatory treatment in the workplace and place of study.

As a result, it promotes trusting and respectful cooperation among its members and affiliates at all functional levels within studying, teaching, research, transfer and service. With this directive, it expressly indicates that it does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying. RUB creates framework conditions so that the personal rights of people and their individual personality traits are respected and protected as defined by the German Basic Law.

According to the code “Freedom and Diversity at RUB”, all members and affiliates of Ruhr University Bochum contribute, through their behaviour, to creating a working and studying environment characterised by mutual respect and appreciation in which conflicts are resolved fairly and transparently. Discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying are against the law. Such behaviours have a negative influence on the working and studying environment and disrupt workflows, study progress and professional and academic careers. This type of stress can lead to mental and physical illnesses.

Those affected have a right to seek advice and lodge a complaint. The university expressly encourages this right to be exercised and support to be claimed.

Ruhr University Bochum calls on its members and affiliates not to accept discrimination, but to address it and take action against it. You should rest assured that you will not experience any disadvantages from addressing corresponding problems and taking legitimate action against misconduct.

Chapter 1:
Objectives, definition of terms and principles

1 Objective of the directive

(1) With this directive, Ruhr University Bochum creates a framework to prevent discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying. In the event of a conflict, advisory services are indicated and procedures are presented and regulated.

(2) People who are not included in the scope of application of the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) under employment or public service law, such as, in particular, students, external doctoral candidates and guest researchers, are also protected by this directive.

2 Scope of application

(1) The directive applies to all members and affiliates of Ruhr University Bochum in accordance with section 9 of the Higher Education Act of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (HG NRW) and for lecturers, interns, post-doctoral researchers and trainees.

(2) It also applies to actions by or against third parties on the university site (including external locations), in virtual spaces with a university connection and/or at university events if at least one person involved belongs to the group of people stated in clause 1.

3 Definition of terms

(1) The terms used here are based on and supplement the terms in section 3 AGG. The following term definitions serve to clarify the cases that are covered by this directive.

(2) Discrimination is unjustified unequal treatment of a person or a group of people due to one or more of the following characteristics or attributions:

  • Gender and sexual identity,
  • Ethnic background and nationality (racist, antisemitic or ethnicising attributions),
  • Disability or chronic/prolonged illness,
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Marital status or family obligations,
  • Social background or social status,
  • Religion or ideology,
  • Age,
  • Appearance.

This can be expressed in the form of neglect, exclusion, belittlement and violence.

(This includes the characteristics and attributions of the AGG and the “Research-oriented Equal Opportunities and Diversity Standards of the DFG”. Appearance and marital status or family obligations are also included.)

(3) Discrimination can take place directly if an action or measure is related to a person or a group of people.

(4) Discrimination can also take place indirectly if an action or measure at a structural or institutional level, even if it appears to be neutral, has such an effect in its application that certain groups of people are regularly disadvantaged due to any of the grounds referred to in section 3(2).

(5) Harassment is deemed to be discrimination when an unwanted conduct in connection with any of the grounds referred to under section 3(2) takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person concerned and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

(6) Sexual harassment is deemed to be discrimination when an unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, including unwanted sexual acts and requests to carry out sexual acts, physical contact of a sexual nature, comments of a sexual nature, as well as the unwanted showing or public exhibition of pornographic images, takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person concerned, in particular where it creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

(7) Violence is any physical activity through which physical coercion is exercised in order to overcome resistance that is offered or expected. Violence can be exercised through physical assault or non-verbally in other ways if a physical coercive reaction is triggered in the person concerned. Illustrative examples – particularly of racist, antisemitic and sexualised violence – can be found in the appendix to this directive.

(8) Stalking refers to the intentional and repeated pursuit, pestering and harassment of a person that significantly impairs their way of life or even threatens their life. Stalking can take various forms. Illustrative examples can be found in the appendix to this directive..

(9) Bullying is conflict-laden communication or actions between or among individuals or groups of individuals in which the person or group of people concerned is inferior and is systematically, purposefully and continuously, i.e. in a continuing manner, antagonised and victimised by one or more persons with the aim or consequence that the persons concerned are made insecure, demeaned and excluded from their study or work environment. Bullying can be expressed in psychological violence. Illustrative examples can be found in the appendix to this directive.

4 Principles, ban on discrimination and intersectionality

(1) Persons within the scope of application of this directive in accordance with section 2 may not be discriminated against or harassed on one or more of the grounds stated in section 3(2). This also applies if the person committing the discrimination only assumes the existence of a characteristic or attribution.

(2) Instructions to discriminate against a person or group of people are also discrimination. Such instructions exist if someone requests a person to behave in a manner that discriminates or can discriminate against another person. It is not necessary here for the instructed person to actually perform the action.

(3) Bullying and stalking are also prohibited.

(4) People can have different characteristics or experience different attributions and thus be affected by discrimination through a specific interaction of different characteristics or attributions.

(5) The presumption of innocence in favour of accused persons must be respected. If an accusation proves to be unjustified, it must be ensured that the person does not suffer any disadvantages.

(6) Discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying can represent breaches of duty under employment contracts, public service law, civil service law or higher education law and can also constitute criminal offences.

(7) It is considered particularly serious if discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking or bullying is committed by persons with educational, qualification or managerial duties and is directed against persons in relationships of dependence.

Chapter 2:

5 Obligations of the university management and persons with management and qualification duties

(1) The university management legally and actually ensures that discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying against its members and affiliates are prevented wherever possible.

(2) In particular, members and affiliates of Ruhr University Bochum with educational, qualification or managerial duties are responsible, due to their duty of care, for ensuring that discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying are not tolerated, but viewed and handled as rights violations.

They are obligated

  • a) Through their behaviour and preventative measures to actively contribute towards promoting respectful and non-discriminatory treatment with each other, dealing with and resolving conflicts appropriately and respecting the personal integrity of all university members and affiliates,
  • b) Not to exploit the special relationships of power and dependence that come with their role in teaching, in academic qualification or in the place of education and work,
  • c) In coordination with the persons concerned, to investigate indicators of cases of discrimination, harassment, violence, bullying and stalking, to emphatically defend the rights of the persons concerned, to ensure consistent information, to advise and support the persons concerned or to provide them with appropriate help and to seek possible solutions – if necessary, using the points of contact for confidential counselling stated in section 7(2),
  • d) To consistently oppose discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying. In the event of non-compliance, they are to be made aware of their responsibility by the university management or the respective superiors. If this information is disregarded, the university is to assess and initiate measures under employment and public service law.

6 Preventive and structural measures

(1) Where possible, Ruhr University Bochum, its members and affiliates, particularly those with educational, qualification or managerial duties in research, teaching, administration and service, implement preventative and structural measures to prevent or eliminate discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and bullying.

(2) These measures are constantly further developed and comprise:

  • a) The integration of this directive in the university’s communications strategy,
  • b) A transparent and easily accessible presentation of the points of contact available to offer advice and support (including anonymous information and advice), the complaints bodies and the complaints procedure,
  • c) The obligation of all university employees, particularly those with managerial duties, to familiarise themselves with the content,
  • d) The integration of this topic and conflict resolution procedures in further education services, particularly for managers and lecturers,
  • e) The provision of inclusive and multilingual information services, public relations and empowerment measures,
  • f) The consideration of discrimination risks in planning and development projects and in the event of changes to the infrastructure (e.g. construction measures, digital information and communication technologies),
  • g) The consideration of discrimination risks in the curriculum, during study programme development and in the framework conditions for units of instruction,
  • h) The recommendation to use gender- and discrimination-sensitive language,
  • i) Precautions to implement accessibility in studies, teaching, training and work,
  • j) Campus safety inspections in collaboration with the HR representatives, the Equal Opportunity Officer, the Anti-Discrimination Officer and the Disabled Persons’ Representative.

Chapter 3:
Advice and Complaint Management

7 Advice and Complaint Management

(1) Advice and complaint management at Ruhr University Bochum consists of individual advice and support as well as formal complaints procedures. Persons within the scope of application of this directive who have experienced discrimination, harassment, violence, stalking and/or bullying have a right to individual advice and to lodge a complaint. It is not necessary here for the discrimination to have been motiveless, negligent, intentional or deliberate. The right already exists when the person concerned feels that they have been discriminated against. (Cf. section 13(1)(1) AGG)

(2) The following initial points of contact are available to provide confidential advice to persons who have experienced or observed discrimination:

  • Anti-Discrimination Officer
  • Faculty Diversity Officers
  • Central and decentral Equal Opportunity Officers
  • Disabled Persons’ Representative
  • Staff Council representatives
  • Representative of young people and trainees
  • Social counselling and addiction advice for employees
  • Officer for the interests of students with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses
  • Student Advice Centre
  • AStA
  • Departmental student committees

(3) The persons taken into confidence can help those concerned take the next steps, if necessary, and/or refer them to other internal or even external advice and support services. Possible additional procedural steps include

  • Informal meetings
  • Mediation by a third, neutral person
  • Initiation of a formal complaints procedure

All of the procedural steps resulting from advice take place in agreement with the person concerned. The points of contact are also available to managers and witnesses of infringements.

(4) Following or independently of advice, the persons who have experienced discrimination, i.e. in particular (violent) harassment, stalking and bullying, have the right to lodge a formal complaint. A distinction is to be made within the complaints procedure:

  • a) If the complaint concerns behaviour by students, the regulations to implement section 51a HG NRW apply, exclusively with the facts prescribed there by law and not with the characteristics or attributions from section 3(2) of this directive.
  • b) If the matter concerns complaints between employees, the procedure of the „Service agreement for the implementation of complaint management according to AGG and to protect employees against bullying in the workplace“ (hereinafter referred to as “DV AGG”) applies. The procedure regulated in DV AGG begins upon application to the complaints body and ends with a recommendation to the department. If the complaint is justified, sanctions may be imposed under public service and employment law.
  • c) If the matter concerns a complaint by students or another person as defined by section 2 who are not subject to DV AGG and the respondents are employees, DV AGG is applied accordingly. This means that the complaints office begins its work upon application and the procedure regulated in DV AGG is implemented and ends with a recommendation to the management of the Human Resources administrative department as the representative of the Chancellor or Rector. Here, too, if the complaint is justified, sanctions may be imposed under public service and employment law.

(5) In any case, strict confidentiality applies for all those involved (complainants, respondents, committee members). Possible limits to confidentiality are made transparent for the persons concerned.

(6) Irrespective of the complaints procedure, it must be assessed on an individual basis which provisional measures are to be implemented to protect the persons concerned. Any measures should not be implemented against this person’s will. This does not apply if a particularly serious case exists in accordance with section 4(7) or it is feared that misconduct towards third parties will continue. In this case, the person concerned is to be informed.

(7) In accordance with the principles of data economy, the circle of people informed about the complaints procedure is to be kept as small as possible. All of the people involved in the procedure are obliged to treat the personal data made available to them as confidential and not to make it accessible to third parties, unless the sharing of such data is governed by other legal regulations or all parties to the conflict have granted their explicit consent to this.

8 Measures and sanctions

(1) Measures and sanctions in the event of a violation of this directive depend on the accused person’s position under public service, employment or higher education law as well as the severity of the incident and are based on the provisions stated under section 7(4). They may be imposed following a formal complaints procedure. Measures and sanctions under the relevant employment, public service or higher education laws may include:

  • A regulatory meeting
  • Verbal or written instruction/reprimand
  • Written warning
  • Transfer or relocation to another workplace within the university
  • Initiation of a disciplinary procedure
  • Ordinary/extraordinary termination (without notice)
  • Exclusion from the use of (certain) university facilities or services
  • Ban from the premises (e.g. partial or temporary)
  • Revocation of a teaching assignment or authorisation to teach
  • Revocation of honours or titles awarded by Ruhr University Bochum
  • Criminal proceedings with police investigations

(2) Within the framework of its rights to issue instructions to employees, interns and lecturers, the department may order the parties to the conflict to hold talks with each other exclusively in the presence of independent third parties at predefined times in order to protect the persons concerned, in addition to the imposing of sanctions. This measure can be implemented immediately without a detailed examination of the body of evidence.

9 Documentation, assessment and evaluation

(1) The institutionalised advisory bodies, complaints bodies and representatives of special interest groups at RUB collect case numbers and discrimination characteristics for incidents within the meaning of this directive. This takes place in an anonymised form and in compliance with data protection regulations. To provide quality assurance for the advice and support services and develop targeted prevention activities, the data is evaluated in an anonymised form.

To this end, all advisory bodies, complaints bodies and representatives of special interest groups forward the cases they have recorded in an anonymised form to the Anti-Discrimination Officer once a year for documentation and statistical evaluation.

(2) Once a year, the Anti-Discrimination Officer convenes the advisory bodies, complaints bodies and representatives of special interest groups. The Anti-Discrimination Officer takes this opportunity to report on the actual implementation of the preventative and structural measures listed in section 6 and is supported in this by the respective responsible bodies.

On the basis of the documentation and evaluation, this group formulates, where necessary, recommendations on the continuous further development of the procedure, for the further professionalisation of advice in cases of discrimination, on preventative measures and on the further development of this directive. At the suggestion of one of the advisory bodies, complaints bodies and representatives of special interest groups, the Anti-Discrimination Officer also convenes this group outside of the regular annual cycle.

10 Final provisions

(1) The rights of the employee representatives remain unaffected.

(2) The directive is published in the Official Bulletins and on the website of Ruhr University Bochum and handed out when employees are hired and take office. It enters into force with its publication and replaces the directive „Fair treatment in the workplace and place of study – directive on protection against discrimination, sexualised violence and bullying at Ruhr University Bochum“ of 26 October 2020.

Issued on the basis of the decision by the Senate on 26 January 2023.

Bochum, 3 February 2023

The Rector of Ruhr University Bochum University
Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Martin Paul

Official Bulletin
RUB Anti-Discrimination Office
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