Is your business equipped to deal with bullying?

Increasingly business owners are prepared to try to understand the importance of employee wellbeing, staff engagement and work-life balance, it appears that bullying is still an issue across the UK. According to ACAS, bullying costs businesses up to £18bn per year.

There is no legal definition of the term “bullying”. ACAS define it as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour; an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.”
Bullying can create serious problems for employers –absence is a common consequence and can represent a cost to businesses. However, poor morale, loss of respect for managers, lost productivity and resignations are also common consequences.

Legal implications include constructive unfair dismissal claims, whistleblowing, personal injury claims, health and safety complaints, harassment and discrimination claims and claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Responsible employers can take the following action to curtail workplace bullying:

• Leading by example with the senior team setting the culture.
• Having a formal anti-bullying and anti-harassment policy in place and communicating this across the workplace.
• Training managers to identify the signs of bullying and on their responsibilities to combat it.
• Maintaining fair procedures for dealing promptly and fairly with complaints of bullying from employees.

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