Just about every experienced employer accepts that workplace bullying is intolerable, but too few are fully equipped to deal with the issue in their own company. Harassment in the workplace continues to be a serious problem and management must be vigilant in preventing incidents occurring, and swift in dealing with unfortunate episodes when they do arise.
The Health and Safety Authority in Ireland defines workplace bullying as
“repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work”.
Putting an end to workplace bullying behaviour and promoting respect and dignity among all the workers is, of course, the moral thing for employers to do. Protecting staff for humanistic reasons should be a priority for all firms.
Effects of Workplace Bullying
But workplace bullying doesn’t just have a negative effect on the wellbeing of individuals – it can affect an organisation as well. Harassment and discrimination are issues that cause organisations to lose good employees all the time. There’s lost productivity through stress and absenteeism, as well as the potential for serious financial penalties if those who suffer bullying opt to pursue a legal case against an organisation.
To avoid workplace bullying, management must be alert to the possibility of bullying behaviour under their watch and be familiar with procedures for dealing with such allegations. When harassment occurs, they should assist the targeted staff member by providing support and assistance throughout the process, and reviewing and monitoring the work setting in the aftermath.
The best way to deal with the alleged bully must also be considered. Disciplinary action or dismissal may be the appropriate sanction if their actions are deemed to have violated the appropriate standards. The employer must be able to substantively justify this action though as the bully may later claim unjustified dismissal.
An effective way to stamp out compliance issues such as harassment, bullying, or discrimination is through training. Professional anti-bullying and anti-harassment training needs to take place and be reviewed at regular intervals to protect not only those working within a business, but the business itself from falling foul of the law.
Anti-harassment Compliance Training is a great way to ensure your employees are always aware of the seriousness of these issues and that they can seek help and support from management if they find themselves victimised in any way. It also tells employees what steps they can take to deal with the issues they are having.
Interactive Services has helped many organisations develop discrimination and anti-harassment training. Our custom learning solutions are the perfect way to train your employees and eliminate problems that come with workplace bullying.
We offer a range of training types to suit the individual compliance training needs of your business: eLearning, mobile learning, classroom training and blended learning solutions are what we specialise in. We also offer the CLC (Compliance Learning Center) – an innovative learning solution that helps large organisations deliver compliance training in the workplace.