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Yesterday, Christine Pratt, CEO of The National Bullying Helpline, claimed several people in Gordon Brown’s office had contacted her anti-bullying charity. According to Ms Pratt, “three or four” calls had been made to the National Bullying Helpline in recent years and BBC political correspondent Norman Smith said it was understood one of the individuals involved had to take time off because of stress.
So how serious is bullying in the workplace and what can happen to Employers who fail to introduce a bullying and harrassment policy and/or don’t effectively deal with claims of bullying.
Just ask the News of the World what can happen to employers……….they had to pay out £790,000 in damages to reporter Matt Driscoll after sacking him while he was on long-term sick leave for stress related depression, having suffered from a ‘constant pattern of bullying behaviour’according to the employment tribunal.
How to Prevent Workplace Bullying
There are a number of things Employers can do to help prevent bullying in the workplace:
Have clear policies and procedures in place on how staff can raise any concerns with a structured reporting process so victims will know how to report the behavior and feel safe doing it.
Provide training that ensures managers know how to effectively manage people in the right way and provides a basic understanding of employment legislation relative to the company’s specific work situations and/or industry.
Build awareness by ensuring all employees are aware of the different ways bullying can occur (humiliation, insults, rude remarks, etc.) so all employees understand that there are serious consequences for workplace bullying and not just a “slap on the wrist.”
Those identified as bullies should be referred to experts that can help them understand the nature of their behavior.
Given the complexities of workplace bullying and potential impact of getting it wrong, Employers should tread carefully when managing alleged instances of bullying and where possible seek expert advice.
If you think you may have a bullying problem in your business or require further employment law advice on handling instances of alleged workplace bullying, or simply want expert HR Support to ensure you prevent problems and protect your business from costly employment tribunals, please call us on Freephone 0800 612 4772 or get a Free Quote for HR Services via our