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Work environment at Lund Observatory

Lund Observatory building. Photo: Florent Renaud
Lund Observatory

By the end of 2019 it emerged that there were work environment problems in the astronomy section of the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics, also known as Lund Observatory. The then head of department had received a significant number of complaints from staff members about bullying and harassment.

The Faculty of Science commissioned an outside consultancy company to perform a thorough investigation into the work environment at Lund Observatory. The company LifeWise AB conducted interviews with all 49 employees during the spring, and near the beginning of summer 2020 they presented their report. The results of the workplace environment study confirmed the existence of these problems, and revealed they have affected a much larger fraction of the staff than suggested by the number of complaints. The faculty acknowledges that it has taken them too long to act.

An advisory group consisting of senior staff at the Observatory, with representatives from the administrative, postdoc, PhD and master student groups, has been formed to discuss and advise on how Lund Observatory should move forward and improve the workplace environment. The department's goal now is to, together with the Faculty of Science, create a safe and stimulating work environment with a greater sense of security, trust and creativity for all staff members.

Lund Observatory must have zero tolerance for harassment and bullying in the workplace. It should be clear to everyone that we can only move forward in a work environment where everyone is encouraged to achieve, able to give their opinions freely and able to do so without fear of recrimination.