Why your company needs an Anti-Bullying Policy
Posted on 12th November 2022 at 14:22
An anti-bullying policy can ensure staff are clear on what constitutes workplace bullying or harassment. It can also help to reduce the number of issues you might need to deal with.
Having an anti-bullying policy in your company is not a legal requirement. However, we advise you to have a clear, well-thought-out policy.
Complaints of harassment and bullying are becoming more common, which can be addressed via your grievance procedures in your staff handbook. But having a specific policy may help you to navigate what can be challenging and stressful situations.
Duty of care
All businesses have a duty of care to their employees, including ensuring their work environment is safe and they are not exposed to bullying or harassment.
According to the ACAS website, there is no legal definition of bullying; it can be described as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either:
· Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
· An abuse or misuse of power that undermines humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone
This might be a one-off incident or may be occurring over a period of time.
What to include in an Anti-Bullying Policy
• The most important part of this policy is defining what constitutes harassment or bullying.
• It must include a straightforward procedure for staff to follow to raise issues they are experiencing.
• It is important to include how the report will be dealt with and the consequences to staff who breach the anti-bullying policy.
What constitutes workplace harassment or bullying?
There are lots of examples, and sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain whether bullying or harassment has occurred. Therefore, always take legal and professional advice before taking action once you have completed an investigation.
Some examples might include the following –
- Spreading gossip
- Making someone feel inferior or being overly critical
- Overload of work
- Exclusion of a team member from conversation or social events
- Lack of cooperation from other team members or senior managers
- Being shouted at
According to ACAS by law, harassment is when bullying or unwanted behaviour is related to any of the following (known as 'protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010):
• gender reassignment
• religion or belief
• sexual orientation
If the behaviour towards an individual is making them feel undermined, unsafe, scared, humiliated, insulted, threatened, directed or intimidates, then this is bullying or harassment.
Keep the channels of communication open to all staff
Staff should feel comfortable speaking to you if they have concerns about how they are being treated or the treatment of a colleague.
Remote working has not put an end to bullying at work, so it's essential to understand your team dynamics and the personalities within that team.
What steps can you take to ensure issues with bullying are dealt with
- Have a written policy
- Staff training – cover what constitutes unacceptable behaviour and how this will be dealt with
- Training for your senior staff on how to spot the signs and deal with bullying behaviour
- For more information, visit the ACAS website or contact us for help.
Where can you find help if you are being bullied at work?
Your first call should be to your line manager, HR, boss or company owner.
If you have tried to deal with the problem through these channels, you might have to take things further.
On the Mind Website, you can find more information on dealing with bullying at work.
There is also more information on the ACAS website if you feel you are being treated unfairly at work.
For more support, check out the National Bullying Helpline. They offer free support via their telephone helpline and valuable resources on workplace bullying.
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