Understanding Workplace Bullying and Harassment

bullying and harrassment

Maintaining a culture of respect and inclusion is the workplace is incredibly important. Despite this, bullying and harassment remain issues that can significantly impact employee well-being, company culture and organisational productivity. Addressing these problems effectively requires a proactive approach that combines clear policies, education, and a supportive culture.

Bullying typically involves the repeated mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators. It can manifest as verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviours (including nonverbal behaviours), and work interference which prevents work from getting done.

Harassment often involves unwelcome conduct based on race, colour, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, or disability. Harassment becomes unlawful where enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment or the conduct is severe enough to create a work environment that would be considered intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

The Impact of Bullying and Harassment

The consequences of workplace bullying and harassment extend beyond the immediate targets. They can lead to:

  • Increased absenteeism and turnover
  • Reduced productivity and morale
  • Higher levels of stress and anxiety among employees
  • Legal liabilities for the organisation

Developing a Comprehensive Bullying and Harassment Policy

Clear Definitions and Examples: Your policy should clearly define what constitutes bullying and harassment, providing specific examples. This helps employees understand the behaviors that are unacceptable.

Reporting Mechanisms: Establish confidential and accessible reporting channels. Employees should feel safe to report incidents without fear of retaliation.

Investigation Procedures: Outline the steps the organisation will take to investigate reports of bullying and harassment. Ensure that investigations are thorough, impartial, and timely.

Consequences and Disciplinary Actions: Clearly state the consequences for those found guilty of bullying or harassment. Consistent enforcement of these rules is crucial for maintaining credibility.

Support Systems: Provide access to support systems such as counselling services for affected employees. This demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to their well-being.

    Creating a Culture of Respect

    Leadership Commitment: Business leaders and management must model the behaviour they expect from employees. Leaders should regularly communicate the importance of a respectful workplace and take immediate action when issues arise.

    Training and Education: Regular training sessions should be conducted to educate employees about bullying and harassment, the organisation’s policies, and how to report incidents. Role-playing scenarios can be particularly effective.

    Encouraging Open Communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up about issues without fear of backlash. This can be achieved through regular check-ins, anonymous surveys, and an open-door policy.

    Recognition and Reward: Recognise and reward behaviours that contribute to a positive work environment. This reinforces the importance of respect and collaboration.

    Monitoring and Evaluation: Continuously monitor the workplace environment through surveys, feedback sessions, and incident reports. Regularly review and update policies and procedures to ensure they remain effective and relevant.

      Handling Reported Incidents

      Immediate Action: Take immediate action to protect the alleged victim from further harm while the investigation is ongoing. This may include the temporary relocation of employees involved.

      Fair and Impartial Investigation: Conduct the investigation fairly and impartially. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing evidence, and consulting with legal experts if necessary.

      Resolution and Follow-Up: Once the investigation is complete, communicate the findings to the involved parties. Implement the necessary disciplinary actions and provide support to the victim. Follow up to ensure that the issue has been resolved and to prevent recurrence.

      Transparency: While maintaining confidentiality, be transparent about the processes and outcomes of investigations. This builds trust in the system and reassures employees that their concerns are taken seriously.

        How can oneHR help?

        Managing bullying and harassment in the workplace is not just about having policies in place; it’s about creating a culture where respect, dignity, and inclusion are valued. oneHR provides a platform to share key policies, capture key conversations and keep records of employee queries and concerns.

        By committing to best practices companies not only protect their employees but also enhance their overall productivity and reputation, leading to long-term success and a healthier workplace for everyone.

        Contact the oneHR team today for support with managing bullying and harassment within your workplace.

        Call: 0330 107 1037

        Email: contact@onehrsoftware.com

        Find us on Instagram: @oneHR_

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