Workplace bullying and harassment

Bullying and harassment in the workplace are still a real issue. According to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, one in five UK workers have faced bullying and harassment at work; it has also been found that it is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work and workplace stress.

Workplace bullying often remains a hidden problem. Also, may be accepted or encouraged by the culture of the organisation. The real size of the problem may remain hidden until employers recognise, that it is an issue that needs to be address and workers feel confident that their complaints. Will be resolved reasonably and timely and not suffer victimisation for complaining about bullying and harassment at work. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.

Trade Unions

Trade Unions have done a significant amount of work to campaign against bullying and harassment in the workplace; it is important for people to know that it is in everyone’s interest to try and eliminate, intimidation and harassment from the workplace. Also, joining a union could be a significant act for some employees.

Another factor from new researchers in the UK showed that women, Black, disabled, and LGBT workers are more likely to suffer bullying and harassment in the workplace.

It must be recognised that this is not just a question of an individual picking on someone weaker or more vulnerable than themselves. However, can damage a person’s confidence, morale, motivation and sometimes their health and wellbeing. Causing them to be less productive and useful at work.

Bullying and harassment

Workplace bullying refers to any repeated, intentional behaviour directed at an employee. That is intended to humiliate, degrade, embarrass, or otherwise undermine their performance. Setting them up to fail, It can come from colleagues, supervisors, or management, and is a real problem for workers at all levels.

According to ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

  • exclusion or victimisation
  • unfair treatment
  • overbearing supervision or another misuse of power or position
  • unwelcome sexual advances – touching, standing too close, the display of offensive materials, asking for sexual favours, making decisions by sexual advances being accepted or rejected
  • making threats or comments about job security without foundation
  • deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism
  • preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities

If left, this unchallenged behaviour can lead to a profoundly rooted problem. That can manifest itself in a system that becomes the norm. Of the culture and organisation, and have a profound impact on the promoted claim to be an open and inclusive society. Acas advice and guidance 

What can the employer do, how to deal bullying and harassment

  • Like any workplace issue, fostering a culture that is free of bullying needs to come from the top down. Always be proactive; firstly you must have a bullying and harassment policy in place. Must be clear that this type of behaviour is considered a gross misconduct and those found guilty will be dismissed.
  • Workplace policy must not be just a ‘tick box exercise’ however an actual commitment to building a working environment that values all of the staff.
  • Words alone won’t change a thing, so the next step is to train managers, so they understand what constitutes bullying and harassing behaviour.  Perhaps this is a good opportunity to reflect on their management style as well as build awareness of discrimination characteristics which are often the precursor for ridicule.
  • Bullying and harassment may be verbal, non-verbal, written or physical. It is, therefore, important that examples be laid out in a policy so that all staff are aware of their behaviour.
  • While employers should encourage employees who believe they are being harassed or bullied to notify the offender that their behaviour is unwelcome (by words or by conduct), it is worth recognising that this is not always possible.
  • Employers have a ‘duty of care’ for all their employees. That all accusations of harassment or bullying a very real problem, and will be taken seriously, confidentially and that grievances or complaints of harassment will not be neglected or treated lightly.
  • Communicate the procedure to employees, so they understand how to make a formal complaint, whom the employee needs to speak to the manager and what will happen after the incident has been reported.

If we are to ensure that every worker is treated with dignity and respect at work regardless of gender, sexuality, race, disability,  religion or belief.

We must raise our voices and campaign to make it clear that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace and is totally unacceptable behaviour.

Start the discussion...