Responding to workplace bullying

Bullying is physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. It takes the form of direct and indirect repeated behavior humiliating an employee. It can include offensive language towards the employee, threatening to harm them, acts of violence, and public humiliation. An indirect form can be excluding them from workplace activities, spreading malicious rumors, or withholding information and other resources from them.

Employers can take specific steps to deal with such behaviors at the workplace.

  1. Address the issue

As an employer, you should first consider resolving the issue of bullying with the person involved. This may include urging the victim to approach the person and tell them. However, this might only work if the employee feels comfortable approaching the person.

Since most of the bullying cases are usually unreported, encouraging the employees to speak to their manager or senior person if it happens to them.

An employer should establish anti-bullying processes and procedures to make sure that every employee is protected from bullying. This will make thw employers able to report instances of bullying.

Addressing these issues will ensure that employees have a safe work environment.

  1. Follow up on the bullying.

Whenever an employee reports a case of bullying, an employer should follow it up professionally.

If they can’t answer the bullying complaint informally, you may decide to investigate and deal with it like a formal complaint.

The investigations will allow you to understand

Appoint an experienced investigator to report on the matter. The person should describe the allegation, set the investigation process, and provide processes and actions required to address the situation.

The investigator will record the outcome and assess whether they can prove the instance of bullying or if it is inconclusive.

The report should also include some processes on how to respond to instances of workplace bullying. This may include disciplinary action or conducting further staff training.

  1. Implementing the policies that have been put in place

Always act on all reported cases; this enables employees to report instances when they occur and not just remain silent.

After an investigation is complete, the recommendations should be acted upon and might include the following;

  • Putting in place, grievance handling procedures, according to the Employment Act section 12, any organization with 50 or more employees should have these procedures. While this is optional for growing companies with less than 50 employees, you should still set up these procedures in the act of good practice.
  • Continuously monitor the employees.
  • Review the workplace policies that you have set.
  • Workplace anti-bullying processes are to be put in place.
  • Other recommendations may be;
  • Offering to solve the bullying issues with other dispute resolution processes.
  • Set up disciplinary measures for the employees who bully others at the workplace.
  • Provide sessions for counseling to those employees who have been affected.

By remaining consistent and communicating with employees, you can create a safe work environment that is free from bullying. Monitor the employees, ask questions about bullying at the workplace and find out what type of bullying they may be going through to be in an excellent position to tackle these issues and end bullying at the workplace.

Navigating employment related workplace issues is complicated for employers who need to provide a safe workplace, protect business interests and avoid any vicarious liability. Gracen Advocates’ experienced employment lawyers assist businesses deal with workplace and employment issues. Reach out to find out how best to deal with your particular situation.

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