All employers promote the importance of staff engagement, work-life balance and employee wellbeing in their workplace. However, bullying and harassment is still prevalent across the UK to this day and it shouldn’t be tolerated.
Examples of bullying and harassment can involve being: insulting, intimidating, offensive or malicious. Employers can misuse their power through humiliating their colleagues and this can have many negative impacts. Bullying and harassment may not necessarily be face to face. It can be communicated through the use of phone calls, social media and e-mails. Other examples of bullying could be: unfair delegation of work, spreading inappropriate rumours, consistent over-monitoring and incorrectly withholding information.
Being bullied can have many negative impacts on the employee being humiliated. It can affect their job performance as they won’t be motivated to work hard. It will also lead to less productivity from the worker. The employee being harassed will feel less confident and very stressed and no-one should be made to feel like this.
There are also potential psychological health problems such as depression, anxiety or low self-esteem, which can affect the victimized employee. Physical health problems such as sleeping difficulty can affect a harassed employee as well. Witnessing someone being bullied can affect a worker as well and it could force an employee to leave the business.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace could lead to employees handing in their resignation. For an employer this isn’t good because their organisation hasn’t taken action to make that worker feel comfortable. This will also damage the business’ reputation. Customers may not want to use your business if it is known for treating employees unfairly and in turn, this will not prove attractive to future candidates if it is known for harassment in the workplace.
There is also the risk of legal consequences for an employer, as employees can take their claims to the court. These can include: claims of negligence, harassment and discrimination claims, whistleblowing and constructive unfair dismissals. We may also see a rise in cases going to court as a result of the Supreme Courts decision to abolish fees.
As an employer you can prevent bullying by having a formal anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies put in place. This will inform the employees of what is expected in terms of their behaviour and what the consequences are if these expectations are not met. If these policies and procedures are maintained, there should be no future problems of what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Employers should lead by example in the workplace. This is very important because if an employer is bullying or harassing another employee, other workers may think it is acceptable to act this way as well. Employers should create a suitable culture and set standards so all workers know how to behave when at work.
If you would like advice on how to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace, please contact a member of the HPC team on 0844 800 5932 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on twitter for HR news and updates @HPC_HRservices