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National bullying week

National Ban Bullying at Work Week – are YOU doing enough?

14-18 November: National Ban Bullying Week 2011 is a week to bring awareness of the widespread issue of Bullying – at all ages!

As someone who experienced bullying at school, it is something that we think is going to end when we leave the school playground and we look forward to leaving that era behind us and to new beginnings, but sadly for a growing number of workers across the UK, bullying is something that will come to define their daily lives and it can be devastating for victims.

Bullying doesn’t just affect

the people who experience it first hand, but the people who witness it too.  It lowers morale in the office and in some cases it can lead to an increase in days off work for stress-related problems.  It can also impact on other areas of life including relationships and family life so it is vital that employers have tools available to address bullying in the workplace.

Workplace bullying can take many different shapes and forms;
As well as in face to face situations, bullying and harassment may occur in social media, email, phone calls, written communications and by unfair supervision practices.  Inconsistencies in work performance monitoring can also be included in workplace bullying and unfair supervision practices e.g. automated recording of downtime from work, monitoring of the number of calls handled/ made etc, if these are not applied to all workers.

Bullying is defined as something that is unwelcome, unwarranted, targeted, persistent and causes a detrimental effect.  For guidance purposes, Prestige have highlighted some of the examples we have come across as, so that you as employers can keep an eye out and address.

Bullying may include repeated occurrences of the following behaviour or actions targeted at individuals or groups:

•    constant criticism, fault finding or undermining
•    being excluded, marginalised or isolated
•    being treated differently from everyone else
•    being threatened, shouted at or humiliated
•    being either over-burdened with work or denied work
•    being set unreasonable targets and deadlines
•    having authority removed but responsibility increased
•    denial of annual leave, sickness or compassionate leave
•    unjustified disciplinary action
•    being forced into early or ill-health retirement
•    distorting or misrepresenting actions
•    cyberbullying.

Tips from Prestige
1.    All complaints of bullying should be treated very seriously by employers.
You should have a clearly defined Bullying and Harrassment Procedure that sets out how an employee can go about addressing complaints of Bullying.  

An Equal Opportunities policy is also advisable as this ensures that all staff are treated fairly and equally across the organisation.  

A Dignity at Work Policy is also advisable, as it integrates all of the policies and procedures of the organisation to demonstrate the organisations commitment to protect everyone’s right to Dignity in the workplace.

These policies should also be linked to the disciplinary penalties of the organisation, clearly indicating the consequences for those who bully and intimidate staff.

2.    Line Managers need to be aware of their responsibilities as they are often the first point of contact for victims of bullying
Line managers must be aware of the organisations rules and procedure for addressing complaints of bullying and harassment.   Regular review of the company’s procedures is advisable, as well as training in addressing conflict and bullying and harassment situations.

3.    You cant “not know” something
It is important to note that Unaddressed bullying may prompt the victim to resign and pursue a complaint of unfair constructive dismissal before an employment tribunal, based on the employer’s failure to deal with the matter.  So keep your eyes and ears open.

Prestige Employment Solutions Ltd offer a range of support services to assist employers in all their employment issues.  In relation to Bullying and Harrassment prestige can:

-    Objective investigation into allegations of Bullying and Harrassment
-    Support in drafting Policies and Procedures
-    Review of your current Policies and Procedures
-    Providing side by side support in following Statutory and Best Practice procedures
-    Monthly Management and Supervisory Management training courses which looks at the importance of addressing conflict and bullying and harrassement
-    Monthly Employment Law training courses on the Statutory Requirement of addressing Bullying and Harrassment


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