One of the keys to the success of any business is having a workforce that feels free from harassment, violence and hostility. Achieving this goal often begins with creating policies that prohibit certain behaviours, outline complaint procedures and identify potential ramifications of violating the policy.
One of these behaviours is bullying. Before creating anti-bullying policies and procedures, employers need a better understanding of what constitutes this behaviour.
What is bullying?
Bullying is often difficult to pinpoint because it mostly involves psychological abuse. Some behaviours to look for include one person being persistently hostile and rude to someone else. Some perpetrators use intimidation and threats to bully their targets. This could be seen as an abuse of power if the one doing the bullying is a superior to the victim.
A wide variety of behaviours could fall under the definition of bullying. Some of them include gossiping about the victim, spreading rumours about the individual and insulting the target – among other things. A superior who bullies an employee could make unreasonable demands, set impossible deadlines, continuously change guidelines or otherwise interfere with the worker’s ability to perform his or her job duties. Victims may be excluded from activities or isolated by others.
What employers can do
These are just a smattering of the behaviours that constitute bullying. In order to properly prepare anti-bullying policies, employers will need to delve even further into the subject.
It would be beneficial to consult with a lawyer experienced in this area of law in order to create a policy that covers as many potentially prohibited behaviours as possible. In addition, doing so will help when investigating complaints of bullying from an employee, since not all behaviours constitute bullying. Being able to tell the difference is crucial in dealing with alleged instances of it.