Bullying And Harassment

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As an employer you are responsible for your staff and in taking reasonable steps to prevent such behaviour

As an employer you are responsible for your staff and in taking reasonable steps to prevent such behaviour

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  • Parent should teach your child to be assertive in expressing his or her feelings, they should know how to identify bullying behaviors. Encourage them for taking the brave step of reporting that incident and console them that things will get better, and that you will always be there when they need you. As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who find it quite hard to manage time, I found this great application which featured a safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here: http://www.SafeKidZone.com/
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  • 1. Bullying and harassment Table of contents Bullying and harassment 2 Introduction 2 What is meant by bullying and harassment? 3 Why does bullying and harassment occur? 4 The impact of bullying and harassment 4 Recognising bullying or harassment 5 Preventing bullying and harassment 6 Drawing up an anti-bullying and harassment policy 6 Dealing with bullying and harassment claims 7 Here's how I developed an anti bullying and harassment policy 8 Helplines 9 Related guides on businesslink.gov.uk 9 Related web sites you might find useful 9 Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 You can personalise content from the Business Link website and download it in PDF format. This is a free service Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 1
  • 2. Bullying and harassment Subjects covered in this guide Introduction Introduction Bullying and harassment in a workplace are What is meant by bullying and harassment? serious matters, and employers are responsible for taking reasonable steps to Why does bullying and harassment occur? prevent such behaviour. The impact of bullying and harassment The anti-discrimination legislation makes it unlawful in employment or vocational Recognising bullying or harassment training to harass someone on the grounds Preventing bullying and harassment of: Drawing up an anti-bullying and harassment • sex policy • marital status • gender reassignment Dealing with bullying and harassment claims • race • disability Here's how I developed an anti bullying and • religion/belief harassment policy • sexual orientation • age Helplines Related guides on businesslink.gov.uk The Sex Discrimination Act also explicitly outlaws sexual harassment. Related web sites you might find useful Bullying and harassment are unacceptable on moral grounds and may, if they are allowed to go unchecked or are badly handled, create serious problems for your You can find this guide by navigating to: business. Harassment is also against the law and can result in an employment Home > Employing people > Disciplinary tribunal or other civil claims against the problems, disputes and grievances > employer and large awards in Bullying and harassment compensation. Bullying and harassment can also have a bad effect on your business in other ways, including poor performance, low staff morale and poor employee relations, loss of respect for management, increase in absence, higher staff turnover and damage to your business' reputation. What is meant by bullying and Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 2
  • 3. Bullying and harassment Harassment is defined as any unwanted harassment? conduct on the grounds of race, age, etc that has the purpose or effect of: Harassment - in relation to employment - has a legal definition, but bullying does not. • violating the dignity of an individual Bullying • creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive There is no single legal definition of bullying, atmosphere for an individual but it can include: The definition of harassment in relation to • offensive or insulting behaviour by sex is slightly broader - an employee can another employee which makes an claim harassment even if the harassment individual feel threatened, or taken was not actually directed at them, eg where advantage of a female worker overhears a female • humiliation of an employee colleague being verbally harassed by a male • less obvious ways of making an colleague and it violates their dignity. employee feel frightened or demoralised It is also important to note that, while sexual harassment is commonly committed by a Some common forms of bullying are: man against a woman, it can also be committed by a woman against a man, by a man against another man or by a woman • verbal abuse - eg persistent taunting against another woman. • physical violence or violent gestures • public humiliation of an employee Sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical However, bullying can be more subtle, such conduct of a sexual nature that has the as: purpose or effect of: • giving someone an impossible • violating an individual's dignity deadline • creating an intimidating, hostile, • removing an employee's degrading, humiliating or offensive responsibilities and giving them more environment for an individual menial tasks • withholding information or giving false information It can also occur when an individual rejects the unwanted conduct mentioned above Harassment and, as a result, is treated unfairly. Harassment on the grounds of sex, marital You can read a factsheet on harassment status, gender reassignment, race, and the sex discrimination legislation on disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and age, along with sexual harassment, is website - Opens in a new window. explicitly prohibited in employment and vocational training. Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 3
  • 4. Bullying and harassment • a rigid style of management Examples of harassment include: • lack of procedure for resolving problems • embarrassing or otherwise offensive jokes If bullying and/or harassment is a problem in • unwelcome physical contact or your workplace, try to find out why it's sexual advances happening before taking action. • the expression of racist, homophobic, etc views • lewd comments and innuendo For example, if a number of employees • the sending of offensive emails, text have started to complain of being on the messages, etc receiving end of sexist jokes, it may be that • displays of pornographic material there is a culture of sexist banter in your workplace. If so, you could: It is possible that some incidents of harassment may not be covered by the • take informal disciplinary action anti-discrimination legislation. However, if an against those telling the jokes, eg employer fails to deal with any form of verbal or written warnings harassment, the victim could resign and • remind all your staff about your claim constructive dismissal. See the page bullying/harassment policy, eg that in this guide on the impact of bullying and bullying and harassing colleagues is harassment. a serious disciplinary matter It is good practice for employers to have a See the page in this guide on dealing with bullying and harassment policy giving bullying and harassment claims. written examples of what is unacceptable behaviour in their organisation. See the page in this guide on drawing up an The impact of bullying and anti-bullying and harassment policy. harassment Employers should be aware of the potential Why does bullying and legal implications of bullying and harassment in the workplace. harassment occur? Bullying and harassment may occur Harassment of an employee can amount to: because of underlying problems in the workplace such as: • unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, marital status, • poor job design and work gender reassignment, disability, relationships religion/belief, sexual orientation or • lack of accountability age • the existence of a particular culture • a breach of contract, ie a breach of at work one of the implied terms of any • an over-competitive environment employment contract, such as the • fear of redundancy duty to provide a safe working Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 4
  • 5. Bullying and harassment environment or to maintain trust and confidence in the employer Bullying and harassment can often be hard • a criminal offence for employers to recognise, particularly as it may not be obvious to colleagues of the person being bullied or harassed. You could be liable for the actions of your employees unless you have taken reasonable steps to prevent bullying or This may be because: harassment. Action could still also be taken against you even after a person has left your • the harassment or bullying is done in employment. You could even be responsible subtle ways for the actions of third parties, eg clients or • staff may think it's part of the 'culture' customers, where they are within your of the workplace control. An individual may also be too frightened to You could also be held liable for harassment report an incident. if you fail to prevent a third party, eg a customer, repeatedly harassing an A good employer should be aware of this, employee. Note that the harasser does not and keep an eye out for some of the have to be the same person on each possible signs of bullying and harassment. occasion. Signs may include: See our guide on how to prevent discrimination and value diversity. • absenteeism - if this is more frequent, or for longer periods than Bullying and harassment can also have a usual serious adverse effect on the success of the • high staff turnover - especially if it business leading to reduced productivity and occurs in a particular section or profits. This is because bullying and where staff work for a particular harassment can cause: manager • stress symptoms - including fatigue, • low morale and poor employee anxiety, depression, immune system relations suppression, aches, pains, • loss of respect for managers numbness and panic attacks • reduced productivity and profits • a change in an individual's behaviour • increased absenteeism and turnover or performance at work of staff • damage to the image of the business Bullying and harassment may be carried out • employment tribunal or other civil face-to-face. However, it may be done in court claims - see our guide on more underhand ways, such as: handling employment tribunal claims • by letter • electronically, by email Recognising bullying or • by phone • at work-related social functions harassment Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 5
  • 6. Bullying and harassment • You keep note of complaints so you See our guide on how to manage absence can detect any patterns of and sickness. inappropriate behaviour. Remember that an absence of any complaints does not necessarily mean that Preventing bullying and bullying and harassment is not going harassment on. • You review the policy from time to Employers are responsible for preventing time to make sure it's working bullying and harassment, so it is in your properly. interest to have a policy to avoid it and put procedures in place to implement the policy. See the page in this guide on drawing up Drawing up an anti-bullying and an anti-bullying and harassment policy. harassment policy It is your responsibility to make sure that any Ideally you should draw up a bullying and policy has been properly implemented, is harassment policy in consultation with staff understood by staff and is being used and and/or their representatives. monitored properly. If a tribunal believes that all reasonable steps have been taken by the For example, trade unions may help you as employer to prevent bullying and they may well have experience in handling harassment, it may escape liability. bullying and harassment cases. You should make sure that: Your policy on bullying and harassment • All the management team are seen could include: to be fully committed to the policy. • You identify who is in overall charge, • An explanation of what the terms and in day-to-day charge, of mean and that harassment covers all implementing the policy. the areas protected by • You have set aside time to train anti-discrimination laws. See our those in charge on their guide on how to prevent responsibilities. discrimination and value diversity. • The policy covers all the areas • Examples of behaviour that could be covered by anti-discrimination law. considered bullying and harassment. See our guide on how to prevent • A statement that bullying and discrimination and value diversity. harassment will not be tolerated, and • The policy is linked to other could result in the bully or harasser disciplinary and grievance being subjected to disciplinary action, procedures and any appraisal which may result in dismissal. system for managers. • A statement pointing out that bullying • You use all appropriate ways to and harassment will not be tolerated advertise the policies to your at work-related events, eg Christmas workforce including any induction parties, training courses - even if process. they are away from the normal Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 6
  • 7. Bullying and harassment workplace. • Details of the procedures to be issuing a policy that: followed if bullying and/or harassment occurs, including both • encourages victims of bullying or informal and formal approaches and harassment to come forward, in a relevant timescales that should be way that provides a way to bypass linked to your discipline and the bully or harasser grievance procedures. • combines an informal route to • Assurance that any complaint will be complain within a formal procedure taken seriously, treated confidentially to be used when the matter cannot and that employees making be resolved informally and balances complaints will be protected from the interests of the victim and the retaliation. alleged bully/harasser • Assurance that a thorough and fair • tells staff and trains managers as to investigation of a claim will take what they should do if they become place. aware of someone being bullied or • A statement that there will be a right harassed - see the page in this guide of appeal. on drawing up an anti bullying and • Sources of guidance and support. harassment policy You should also include: Bear in mind that a claim could be malicious - to investigate it thoroughly and fairly you • the name of the person the employee should: should contact if they are being bullied or harassed • if possible use an impartial, trained • an alternative name in case this investigator person is unsuitable, for example • consider suspension of the alleged because they are the employee's bully or harasser on full pay while the manager investigation is carried out • allow both parties to be accompanied Read a draft bullying and harassment to a hearing by a representative of policy agreement on the UNISON website their choice - Opens in a new window. • make it clear that both parties have the right of appeal Dealing with bullying and When you are dealing with a case of bullying and harassment, decide carefully harassment claims what action you are going to take - whether You should take bullying or harassment against the complainant or bully/harasser. complaints seriously as you can be held This could be: liable for harassment suffered by your employees at work or at work-related • counselling or training events. Therefore, you should know, and • an informal or formal warning make known to your employees, what • suspension approach you will take, for example, by • transfer - only the guilty party should Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 7
  • 8. Bullying and harassment be transferred Recognise the need for a formal policy • dismissal "We recently reviewed all our policies, to Trade unions may have a role in cases of make sure we were legally up to speed and bullying and harassment. They can provide: to reflect the growth of the business. We also wanted to build on our culture of • support for claims openness and good communication. • guidance and support for the complainant or the alleged bully or "One area that hadn't been properly harasser addressed was bullying and harassment. • accompaniment to hearings The management team decided to develop • help in eliminating a bullying culture a formal bullying and harassment policy, not because we had a problem in that area, but because we wanted staff to know where Here's how I developed an anti they stood." bullying and harassment policy Write a policy Elizabeth-Anne Williams "We gathered information from sources like Sefton Park Palm House Preservation the Acas website and also used a model Trust - Opens in a new window policy supplied by Tourism HR to get us started. The document sets the scope of the policy upfront and explains why it's Elizabeth-Anne's top tips: important. For example it aims to give employees a clear sense of what behaviours • "Involve staff as much as possible." are acceptable and what are not, to support • "Be clear about why you're and protect them in the workplace and to introducing a policy and underline encourage teamwork. management commitment to it." • "Communicate the messages in a variety of ways." "The policy also includes sections on the principles behind the policy, legal responsibilities and the procedures to be The Sefton Park Palm House Preservation followed in the event of an allegation. For Trust was formed in 1996 to restore and example, it's important to show how it develop a Grade II listed Victorian palm dovetails with related policies such as house in Sefton Park near Liverpool. The disciplinary and grievance procedures. Trust raises income through commercial hires of the building, to ensure a sustainable "We included examples of what constitutes future and support the development of an bullying and harassment. We especially events programme for visitors. Director wanted to highlight the less obvious forms, Elizabeth-Anne Williams describes how a such as circulating offensive jokes or review led to the introduction of a new policy consistently setting unachievable deadlines. to prevent workplace bullying. We also developed a simple flow-chart to show the lines of reporting and procedures What I did at-a-glance." Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 8
  • 9. Bullying and harassment Communicate with staff Prevent discrimination and value diversity | Set up employment policies "For staff to have faith in a bullying and for your business | Handling harassment policy you have to involve them disciplinaries | Handling employment and make it more than just a document. We tribunal claims | How to deal with stress | consulted staff about the new policy via Manage absence and sickness | Work team meetings and individual discussions to effectively with trade unions | Here's how make sure they understood the principles asking employees for ideas improved our and procedures involved. business | Here's how a diverse workforce has helped my business | "We've made the policy very much a part of our company culture and we look for ways to reinforce the message during day-to-day Related web sites you might find activities. Having the policy in place has already proved useful. Not only does it useful support our goal to create an open and Bullying and harassment at work team-spirited environment, we've actually guidance (PDF, 232K) - Opens in a new referred to it formally to help resolve a minor window incident." Tackling bullying at work for employers What I'd do differently on the Andrea Adams Trust website - Opens in a new window Introduce a policy sooner "We believe our bullying and harassment Resolving conflict online courses on the policy is thorough and comprehensive and learndirect business website - Opens in a sets clear guidelines for acceptable new window behaviour. In an ideal world, we would have put it in place from day one." Download guidance on dealing with bullying at work from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development website (PDF, 550K) - Opens in a new Helplines window Andrea Adams Trust Helpline Harassment and sex discrimination 01273 704900 legislation factsheet on the Government Equalities Office website - Opens in a new window Acas Helpline 08457 47 47 47 Stress at work advice on the Acas website - Opens in a new window Draft bullying agreement on the UNISON Related guides on website - Opens in a new window businesslink.gov.uk Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 9
  • 10. Bullying and harassment Bullying and harassment | Created by Business Link on 16 September 2009 14:40 è Crown copyright 2007 Page 10