After an inspection in December 2018, the Swedish Work Environment Authority concluded there had been failures in the handling of threats and harassment of staff at the Faculty of Medicine. In their own investigation, the Faculty of Medicine also concluded that a doctoral student had been subjected to victimisation. Several measures have been taken to improve the work environment and protect the staff.
“This is a very complicated and unusual work environment matter involving many staff from different departments. All staff have the right to a safe workplace and it is and has been our most important focus”, says Jimmie Kristensson, Vice-Dean with responsibility for staff welfare and ethics at the faculty.
“As the threats against our staff have occurred and developed, we have put in place comprehensive measures to ensure a secure work environment. However, we have failed in reporting to the Swedish Work Environment Authority as required and, in addition; there are deficiencies in the documentation on the measures and follow-ups which have been criticised by the Swedish Work Environment Authority.”
“The faculty has also conducted its own investigation into a suspected case of victimisation against another member of staff, a doctoral student. We have been able to conclude that the doctoral student was subjected to victimisation after the doctoral student lodged a report of suspected research misconduct. After filing the report, the doctoral student was treated in an unacceptable way and the social and organisational work environment failed.”
“This is clearly completely unacceptable and we are very self-critical about how we as an organisation handled the situation. It is particularly serious that the victimisation occurred after the doctoral student had lodged a report of suspected misconduct.”
“Unfortunately this cannot be undone, however, we are now doing our best to take care of our staff and prevent anything similar from happening again.”
Several measures have been put in place over the past year and several more are planned, among others, regular meetings to ensure a secure work environment and support those affected. Support and resources have also been put in place for the doctoral student to be able to continue with their research studies.
In addition, the Faculty of Medicine will introduce further measures at a systematic level. These include follow-up of the work environment within the relevant units as well as the introduction of a general plan for how the faculty shall work when serious failings occur in the work environment.
The faculty will also introduce an action plan for how people involved are supported in connection with reports of misconduct.
"We also need to provide our departments with better tools for both preventing and managing problems in the social and organizational work environment."