Unacceptable behaviour policy

Read our policy setting out what we consider to be abusive or unreasonable behaviour, and the actions we might take if we consider your behaviour to be unacceptable.

We know that when you contact us, the things you want to communicate to us are very important to you. They are important to us too.

And at times, we know that issues being discussed can be frustrating or distressing for you. To help us understand and deal with your issue, please be polite to our staff, they deserve to be treated with good manners, and respect. All our staff have the right not to be subjected to abusive or unreasonable behaviour, language or communication, regardless of the circumstances. We won’t tolerate it, and it may affect how we can communicate with you.

We understand that some people may find it difficult to identify the impact of their behaviour on other people. We will always consider making reasonable adjustments for anyone with protected characteristics defined under the Equality Act, 2010, if we are asked to do so - but if someone’s actions or behaviours are having a negative effect on our colleagues or our work, we will act accordingly.

Our policy sets out what we consider to be unacceptable behaviour, and the actions we might take if we consider your interaction with us to be unacceptable.

Aggressive or abusive behaviour

We care about our people, and will protect their personal safety and wellbeing at all times while at work. We will seek to understand and try to resolve matters to your satisfaction, but recognise that not everyone will agree with our decisions. While that can be frustrating, we will not accept or tolerate any behaviour, communications or language that we consider to be abusive towards any of our people. This includes but is not limited to behaviour that: 

  • is violent or makes threats of physical violence
  • is abusive
  • is threatening
  • uses offensive or insulting language
  • uses aggressive or threatening behaviour or language
  • uses racist, sexist or homophobic language or any other discriminatory language related to a diversity/protected characteristic
  • includes any other form of discrimination
  • includes the leaving of threatening or aggressive voicemails
  • includes posting aggressive or abusive comments or posts on an FCA staff member’s professional profiles on social media (eg LinkedIn) or posts on their own social media naming a member of FCA staff
  • includes posting unacceptable or personally abusive comments about FCA staff members in a survey or chat stream at a public event

Unreasonable behaviour

We want to be as open and accessible as possible, and will provide appropriate and adequate responses in a timely manner. But we also need to use our resources in an efficient and effective way. Occasionally, some types of communication or behaviour can put excessive or unreasonable demands on the time of our people. This affects our ability to help other people.

Examples of unreasonable behaviour include, but are not limited to:

  • refusing to cooperate, or clarify an issue or matter, despite our offers of help 
  • making excessive communication with the FCA, whether by frequent calls eg, daily, emailing numerous staff members, or sending detailed letters/emails every few days, and expecting immediate responses
  • making unjustified complaints against our people who are trying to help
  • during a call, insisting on speaking to someone else, when we have explained to the caller they are speaking to the appropriate person
  • repeatedly demanding we respond within an unreasonable timescale
  • insisting on a face-to-face meeting when we do not consider it necessary
  • visiting our offices without an agreed appointment and insisting on being seen
  • pursuing multiple complaints at the same time and/or with multiple organisations or repeatedly pursuing complaints which have already been answered
  • raising many detailed questions that are not central to the issue(s), and insisting they are all answered
  • persistent refusal to accept a factually correct answer
  • persistent refusal to accept explanations relating to what we can or cannot do
  • a deliberate attempt to disrupt the work of the FCA that may cause an unnecessary diversion of resources

Actions we might take

We will explain what we see as unacceptable and ask that person to change their behaviour, communication and/or language. If it continues we may:

  • stop communicating directly with that person (we may end the call if we are on one), and only communicate in writing through a letter sent by post, or via audio recording
  • with that person’s consent, communicate with them through a representative or third party such as a relative, friend or community advocate  
  • restrict communicating with that person on a specific matter or topic
  • restrict that person’s ability to enter the FCA offices without an invitation

In circumstances where we believe a crime may have been committed, we will refer the unacceptable behaviour or communication to the police.

Social media

We have profiles on Facebook (ScamSmart), LinkedIn, Twitter (@TheFCA@FCAInsight) and YouTube.

We use these social media profiles to signpost to our publications and information, and monitor them to gain valuable insight which informs our work.

We do not tolerate abusive behaviour, communication or language towards the FCA or our people on these websites, including posts or comments on our people’s social media sites that is related to the work our staff are undertaking at the FCA. We also do not tolerate unacceptable or personally abusive comments about FCA staff members at a public event, such as a survey or chat stream.

Content that we believe to be abusive or unsuitable is escalated for further action, which may include contacting the author, reporting it to the relevant social media company and/or taking legal action including referral to the police.