Prevent bullying at work

October 13, 2015

Stop bullying mediumThe effect on the performance at work of people who feel they are being bullied is considerable. They will lose their self-esteem, be consumed by what is happening to them, suffer anxiety and depression, and the likelihood is that their attendance at work will suffer. Worst case scenario is that you could find yourself facing an employment tribunal. How can you ensure that there is no bullying in your workplace?

Most instances of bullying are very subtle, so it’s important to ensure that your policy (in your handbook) is implemented and adhered to by all your people. Your business should promote dignity at work, promoting equality and respect amongst all your people. What should you do if you suspect someone is being bullied?

  1. Encourage them to keep a diary of incidents, including the names of people involved and others present – but do not ask them to gather witness statements. This will be done if/when a formal investigation is conducted.
  2. Give your people the opportunity to talk to someone informally about what’s happening to them, perhaps a buddy, someone not in their work team, and have mechanisms in place so they can raise issues with their manager’s manager if necessary.
  3. Coach managers on how to detect bullying and how to implement your policy; coach buddies in providing emotional support (not counselling). All this should help the bullied person stay at work and deal with the problem.
  4. Communicate to all, that bullying of any kind from anyone at any level will not be tolerated in your business. Make it clear that inappropriate behaviour will attract consequences, i.e. suspension while claims are investigated through to dismissal if claims are proven to be founded. You must also make it clear that staff making claims of bullying should stay at work and the support available until the issue is resolved.
  5. If a claim of bullying is made you need to fully investigate the matter. HR180 will conduct such an investigation on your behalf. Any witnesses that may be identified cannot be forced to give evidence but it should be explained to them how valuable their evidence may be. It may be reasonable to suspend on full pay in cases where serious racial or sexual bullying is claimed until the investigation/appeal/tribunal is completed.
  6. It is important that businesses give victims of bullying the practical support and guidance they need. You may be able to direct them to a specialist helpline. Employers have a duty to ensure their people are not at risk and must be seen to be providing appropriate support.
  7. Learn from any claim made – even if proven to be unfounded – and perhaps you may need to invest in appropriate development for your people, e.g. diversity training which HR180 can lead for you, or with the help of HR180 look at new ways of identifying bullying at work, so you can prevent any further such claims.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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