Protection of personal integrity at BFH

We are committed to a culture of mutual respect and place great importance on the protection of personal integrity. Discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, threatening behaviour and violence violate the personal integrity of others and are not tolerated at BFH.

This website provides important information about the protection of personal integrity:

  • What you can do if your personal integrity has been violated
  • Contact persons, support services, counselling services
  • Details regarding the process in the event of violations of personal integrity
  • What BFH does to protect personal integrity

As members of the BFH community, we are committed to treating each other with appreciation, respect and integrity, and all of us must do our part to ensure that BFH is a good place to study and work.

Our most important principles of personal conduct are set forth in the BFH Code of Conduct. The Regulations for the protection of personal integrity (PDF) define the efforts we undertake to prevent violations of personal integrity and how to respond properly when they occur.

We assist affected persons with people and support services that can actively intervene and provide support. Members of the BFH community also have access to confidential counselling services.

This website is for general orientation purposes. In case of doubt, the wording of the regulations is authoritative.

What is personal integrity?

Personal integrity encompasses the physical, psychological, spiritual and moral integrity of a person. To ensure the personal integrity of everyone, we at BFH are committed to preventing the following types of behaviour:

  • Discrimination:
    utterances or actions that seek to degrade the dignity of a person based on their individual characteristics or disadvantage them for no material reason.
  • Sexual harassment:
    any conduct with a sexual connotation that is unwanted by the recipient or degrades persons on the basis of their sex.
  • Workplace bullying:
    conduct that repeatedly and systematically persecutes, degrades and, in doing so, isolates or ostracises a person or persons over an extended period of time.
  • Threats and violence:
    conduct that harms other people psychologically or physically or which threatens to do so.

The Regulations for the protection of personal integrity (PDF) apply to circumstances and incidents occurring within the university context. They also apply if an incident occurs outside of the university but affects a person’s studies or work at BFH.

Other regulations apply to:

Consult the regulations for other cases in which the regulations do not apply.

Who should take action?

All employees and students are required to stand up for the protection of personal integrity.

  • As employees and students at BFH, we conduct ourselves considerately and respect the dignity and integrity of others.
  • We address violated persons and offer them assistance.
  • Anyone who witnesses a violation of another’s personal integrity can point out to the offending party what they observed. The incident can be reported to the responsible manager; for BFH employees, this is mandatory.
  • Managers and teaching staff have a special responsibility to protect the personal integrity of their students and employees. They act as role models and shape a culture in which there is no place for discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, threats or violence.


Affected person: what can I do?

1. Address the person directly:

  • Quick and resolute action is crucial when a violation of personal integrity occurs.
  • If possible, the affected person or observers should clearly and unambiguously tell the offending person that their behaviour is displeasing, that it is disturbing and that it is neither welcome nor tolerated.
  • Persons who feel threatened, harassed, discriminated against or violated should seek help and support immediately.

2. Confidential counselling and support:

3. Internal contact (triggers obligation to act):

  • If a violation of personal integrity occurs, affected persons and third parties can contact the responsible internal authorities at any time:
    • For employees and students: supervisor
    • For employees: HR consultant
    • For students: head of degree programme and teaching staff
  • The objective is to seek solutions or initiate further steps together with the immediate supervisors or responsible persons. This can also lead to the involvement of the Investigative Service or the bodies with decision-making authority.
  • Important: As soon as a manager, member of the teaching staff or HR consultant becomes aware of a violation of personal integrity, they must take action and initiate further steps – they are subject to an obligation to act.

4. Report to the Investigative Service (triggers obligation to act):

  • Affected persons and accused persons may submit a report to the Investigative Service at any time.
  • Managers then report the incident if a serious violation of personal integrity occurs or, in the case of minor violations, de-escalation and mediation measures do not lead to a resolution.
  • Third parties cannot directly contact the Investigative Service, but only through a manager. The term “third party” in this context refers to persons who are neither the affected person nor the accused person, for example witnesses.
  • The Investigative Service will clarify the factual situation to the extent possible. If possible, it will initiate supporting measures with the goal of achieving an amicable solution or propose measures to bodies with decision-making authority.
  • A report can be made using the form or in another form (written / verbal). The information requested in the form facilitates rapid processing of the report.
Graphic depicting the process in the context of a violation of personal integrity. Enlarge image
In cases of violations of personal integrity, we support affected persons with counselling services and have clear procedures and authority to resolve cases.

Those who are accused of or acknowledge misconduct on their own part can internally contact responsible persons, approach the Investigative Service or seek advice from the Counselling Centre Universities of Bern (students and employees), the Cantonal Personnel Office or Movis (employees only).

1. The supervisor, teaching staff member (lecturer, teaching associate) or HR consultant becomes aware of a violation of personal integrity.

2. Due to the obligation to act, they must take action and initiate the required steps:

  • They must pursue indications of violations of personal integrity and inform affected persons of the available counselling and support services.
  • They must attempt, where possible and appropriate, to de-escalate the situation, seek resolution and undertake measures to protect the affected persons.
  • If a serious violation of personal integrity has occurred or a resolution is not possible, they must hand over the case to the Investigative Service.

1. Phase one:

  • The Investigative Service interviews the affected persons and the accused persons – and, if necessary, any further persons – separately and creates a written record of the meeting. It can gather additional evidence.
  • Later, it attempts, where appropriate, to facilitate a low-threshold, amicable solution between the parties, for example through mediation or conciliation.

2. Phase two:

  • Where a low-threshold, amicable solution is not conceivable or possible, the Investigative Service conducts further investigations and submits a report to the body with decision-making authority (e.g. the appointing authority, Head of School, President).
  • This authority then decides what measures will be taken in accordance with the Personnel Act and the Bern University of Applied Sciences Act:
    • For employees, this could include behavioural instructions, temporary suspension from duty, ordinary or immediate termination, transfer or other measures such as agreement of targets
    • For students, this could include expulsion, exclusion from individual classes, temporary or permanent suspension of studies or other administrative or organisational measures


Important: In general, no further steps will be pursued if the affected person expressly does not wish to do so. However, proceedings can be initiated against the will of the affected person if there is evidence of particularly serious violations or there is an overriding public interest in pursuing the matter.

Managers and teaching staff have an obligation to act. They have a special responsibility and certain obligations as specified in Article 23 of the Regulations for the protection of personal integrity.

  • In difficult cases regarding employees, HR must be involved at an early stage.
  • The external, confidential counselling and support services are also available to managers and teaching staff. The Investigative Service can provide general information about the process and possible ways of handling the situation.

A detailed description of the process in case of a violation of personal integrity can be found in the model process.

The Investigative Service

The Investigative Service has an obligation to act as soon as it becomes aware of a violation of personal integrity. You can contact the Investigative Service at or contact a member of the Investigative Service directly.