Bullying in the Workplace and Workplace harassment

This article is part 2 in our Choose to Challenge series and we are talking about workplace bullying and workplace harassment. This campaign is to talk about hard subjects so that we may challenge the status quo and make workplace improvements for everyone.

In a report by Statista 44 percent of workers in the UK know someone who has been forced to give up work due to stress. Burnout is an ever more present issue in the workplace, something that has been confirmed by a TUC survey of over one thousand safety representatives.

The infographic below shows 70 percent of those surveyed cited stress as one of their top five hazards at work, followed by 48 percent accrediting bullying and harassment (second on the leader board) as their reasons for leaving work.

Throw in a pandemic and lockdown and new working conditions as many employees work from home and those who think they may be free from workplace bullying and harassment have come under more covert forms of bullying.

Protected characteristics – Equality Act 2010

If a member of the team is protected under the Equality Act (which became employment law in October 2010 to protect age, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity) then you could face legal action and find yourself in an employment tribunal if they have fallen victims to bullying, harassment or discrimination of any kind. And if your grievance procedure, bullying and harassment policies and procedures are insufficient or worse unavailable to staff you could be facing some serious penalties and fines.

As an employer how do you know you have someone who is being bullied or you have a bully at play, causing issues with colleagues and in turn wider productivity and moral issues within your teams?

Based on work done by Tim Field of the Tim Field Foundation for BullyingUK most workplace bullying is identifiable to a person with several character traits including charisma, deceit, manipulation and a Jekyll and Hyde nature.

Serial bullies are people that single out a person to project, onto them, their own inadequacy and incompetence. If they have managed through manipulation to discredit their victim and remove them, they soon find someone else within the team to continue the cycle of abuse.

Employers who have bully’s in the workplace may not fully understand the damage that is being done to employee health, mental health, moral, and productivity. If left unchecked and poorly managed bullying can lead to your business reputation coming under attack.

As an employer you have a duty of care to all of your employees which includes preventing bullying and harassment at work. So how do you identify if you have a bully in your team or even worse a bully culture?

  • Do you have a sudden drop in performance without any reason?
  • Do you have team members of a single employee suffering with burnout, stress or mental health issues?
  • Do you have a member of the team with a sudden and prolonged absence with an unwillingness to return to work?
  • Do you have sudden increases in grievance for poor treatment?
  • People or a person leaving suddenly without the true course being established
  • Do other members of the team notice and report inappropriate behaviour being handed out to a particular member of their team?
  • Do you have a team member who has suddenly become introverted – declining to take part?

If you have any one of these issues they should be taken seriously. Your human resources department or HR consultant should be made aware as soon as possible so measures can be taken to deal with the situation, including impartial investigations.

If left unchecked, you will be condoning a culture of bullying which will be destroying not only the health and wellbeing of your employees but also the business.

The BullyingUK website is a great, further resource on how to deal with and look out for workplace bullying. If you have any concerns or issues that you need immediate HR advice and support, please contact the HR Ready Team.

We have extensive experience at helping employers address and deal with bullies and putting preventative measures in place. We can also provide support to those who have fallen victim of workplace bullying and harassment and help improve their work environment so they can regain their confidence.

Bullying at work, unwanted conduct, sexual harassment, verbal harassment and any other forms of unwanted behaviour are not something anyone should have to deal with in a place of work. As a caring employer what do you think?

 

 

HR READY you value your people, we take care of them  

 

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