Dealing with bullying in the workplace
Recognising the signs and early action
Employers in Ireland are facing the problem of bullying at work on a more frequent basis than previously.
As a business owner how do you recognise the early warning signs of workplace bullying, and what steps can you take to confront the bullying situation in a way that promotes dignity in the workplace for all.
Employees rights and responsibilities
The right of an employee to work in a safe environment also places a responsibility on fellow workers not to engage in bullying behaviour towards their colleagues.
The employer has a duty to provide a safe environment, but the workers also have a duty to avoid creating an unsafe workplace.
When bullying is identified
The employer must have regard to the rights of the person being bullied as well as the rights of the person accused of bullying. Fair procedure is a constitutional right in Ireland. Any investigation of a complaint of bullying must be carried out using procedures which are seen to be fair.
Health and safety concerns
Where a culture of bullying is identified, employers must take all reasonable steps to stop bullying at work occurring. This usually involves training and other efforts at raising awareness of bullying.
Support is usually offered to the victim of bullying.
Regular monitoring of workplace attitudes and behaviour will help to reduce the chances of it happening again.
The employer should have and closely follow a Code of Practice for preventing and dealing with workplace bullying.
All workers should examine their own behaviour to see if what they do could be interpreted as bullying. Try to avoid behaviour which might be interpreted as condoning bullying behaviour.
Download a copy of the Workplace Relations' (formerly The Labour Relations Commission) Guide; Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Workplace here ;
Download a copy of The Health and Safety Authority's Code of Practice on Bullying in the Workplace here ;
See employer article on Bullying in your workplace here
What can I do next?
We can help produce a suitable anti bullying workplace policy for your business. We will set out procedures for addressing bullying in the workplace.
Remember if you do not have a suitable policy in place, you could be facing a costly claim for illness resulting from bullying in the workplace. Prevention is always better than cure.
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