Employers should work hard to provide a safe working environment that is free of bullying and harassment. Managers should be tasked with investigating claims of harassment and take steps to eliminate the offending behavior. It’s important for employers to recognize the signs of harassment and to help resolve employee complaints.
What do bullying and harassment look like?
Any action that is designed to intimidate or humiliate another person could be considered bullying and harassment, including:
- Verbal insults or threats
- Derogatory name-calling
- Humiliating or dangerous hazing practices
- The vandalizing of personal belongings
- Spreading rumors
You can help shield yourself from legal liability as long as your organization is taking reasonable steps to teach, train, and engage in other forms of corrective behavior.
You should take any allegations made by an employee seriously. You should have policies and procedures in place for handling harassment claims. Any procedure should include:
- Details of how and when an investigation will be conducted
- What types of information will be included in an investigation
- Time frames
- Any necessary follow-up steps
Merely having a policy in place is not enough. You must actually follow through with your plan when an employee levels an allegation.
Workplace bullying and harassment impact both employers and employees. Workers may suffer from emotional abuse. Employers may experience lasting harm to their professional reputation. That is why it’s important to take allegations seriously and to take swift action. An experienced legal professional can help you address any issues and protect your interests if your organization finds itself in trouble.