What is bullying?
Bullying is behaviour which intentionally hurts another individual either physically or emotionally. It is exhibited by either a group or individual and is repeated over time. Bullying involves an imbalance of power between the perpetrator(s) and the victim which can manifest itself in several ways.
What is harassment?
Harassment is unwanted conduct which is related to a protected characteristic which results in violating someone’s dignity or the creation of an intimidating, offensive, or humiliating environment for that individual.
Harassment in the workplace is against the law
All work organisations should have an anti-bullying policy so that employees understand their rights in relation to bullying and harassment in the workplace.
The anti-bullying policy acts as a statement of commitment from the senior management team that bullying and harassment are not to be tolerated in the workplace. It also acknowledges that bullying and harassment are issues can occur in all workforces.
The anti-bullying policy should include:
- A clear statement that bullying and harassment is against the law
- Examples of behaviour which is unacceptable
- Preventative strategies the organisation will take
- Commitment to confidentiality for any complaint
- Responsibilities of supervisors and managers to respond to complaints made
- Procedures involves in the investigation of harassment case, including timescales involved for action
- Procedures involved in the implementation, review, and monitoring of the policy
- Training for managers to be able to address issues around bullying and harassment
Top tips for maximising the effectiveness of the policy:
- The best workplace anti-bullying policies place employees at the heart of the policy.
- All staff members at all levels of the hierarchy are responsible for ensuring the anti-bullying policy is adhered to
- It is very important that employers and senior managers set a good example – this helps to establish a culture that bullying and harassment are unacceptable.
How can you publicise the policy?
It is important that the anti-bullying policy is easily available to all employees. It would be helpful to place a copy of the policy in the staff handbook, making it available on the company website, and putting it on the walls of your office for all employees to see.
How can you involve your union?
You can seek the advice/support of your trade union representative to discuss your concerns. Your union representative can help you to state your grievance clearly to your employer, this can help in its resolution and reduce the stress of the process.