Behaviour that violates another person's dignity and integrity often entails discrimination of that person at their place of work or study. As stated in the Guideline on Fair Conduct, Heidelberg University does not tolerate such behaviour. Instead, it emphasises the importance of treating each other with respect and appreciation. All members of the University, especially those in leadership, managerial or teaching positions, see it as their responsibility not to tolerate or ignore discrimination and harassment.
Against sexual harassment, bullying and stalking
It is the task of science to recognise social problems, to analyse them and to suggest solutions. This goes for all forms of degrading behaviour, too.
As an institution, Heidelberg University therefore leads the way and takes on responsibility: It creates an environment in which all its members can roam safely; an environment in which personal interaction is shaped by mutual respect and consideration.
All members of the University have to ensure that bullying, stalking, discrimination and sexual harassment are neither tolerated nor ignored. Those with leadership responsibilities in research and teaching create an environment in which an open and appreciative exchange of opinion and scientific insights can take place regardless of personal preferences, background, gender or other criteria of difference.
The present brochure documents this commitment and self-understanding of Heidelberg University and informs about courses of action when it comes to dealing with degrading behaviour.
A person is being harassed or sexually harassed if he or she is the object of sexually motivated, unwanted actions that humiliate him or her and violate his or her dignity.
The following acts are cited as examples of sexual harassment in the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, AGG § 3, Abs. 4):
- unwelcome sexual actions and requests for such actions
- unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature
- comments of a sexual nature
- unwanted exposure to pornographic materials.
Bullying has been defined by the German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG decision from 15 January 1997) as systematic hostility, harassment or discrimination either among employees or by superiors. It is aided and abetted by stressful situations at work, which may be the result of excessive or too low demands being made on a particular employee or group of employees, of work organization processes or the behaviour of superiors.
In the German Criminal Code (StGB § 185, § 238) stalking is described as a crime punishable with up to three years of imprisonment or a monetary penalty. The following actions are considered to be stalking:
- repeated watching, following or lying in wait for a person
- unwanted communication by phone, email, mail, or notes
- harassing or threatening a person or persons close to him/her
- unwelcome gifts or ordering of goods.
Internal Procedural Rules of Heidelberg University
Please click to enlarge
For a confidential conversation, for advice on how to resolve a burdensome situation or for information on legal aspects or university-internal procedures, you can get in touch with the contacts listed below. On this point, see § 4 (9) of the Landeshochschulgesetz Baden-Württemberg (State University Law Baden-Wuerttemberg), which may be translated as follows: “(The contact persons) are not bound by directives. Without prejudice to the responsibility of university bodies and committees, they see to it that members of the university are protected against sexual harassment. Information on personal and factual circumstances of those affected must not be passed on to third parties or processed otherwise without their prior consent.”
Tobias Just, M.A.
Phone: 06221 54-3981
Prof. Dr. Katja Patzel-Mattern
Tel.: 06221 54-3973
Dr. Agnes Speck
Equal Opportunities Office
Phone: 06221 54-7697
Laws and Provisions
- University Law of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg (LHG) § 4 (4), § 62 (3)
- General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), § 1, § 3, § 12, § 13, § 14, § 22
- Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, Sections 1 and 2
- German Criminal Code, § 185, § 238
- Protection against Violence Act, § 1