Workplace Watch on harassment & bullying

  • Ask employees to be watchful for harassment & bullying in the workplace.
  • Ask employees to report the situation to their managers, providing as many details as possible.
  • Reassure all employees that they should come forward without fear of embarrassment or reprisal.
  • Be aware of diversity issues to avoid social exclusion, especially where mental health concerns are a factor.



Make sure employees know:

  • Who to talk to if they believe they are being harassed or bullied.
  • Specific procedures for reporting an incident when the alleged harasser or bully is a senior leader, supervisor or someone acting on behalf of the employer.
  • That, if the organization chooses, the process allows for the use of a personal advocate. People experiencing mental health issues often don’t have the stamina to engage in this process on their own.
  • How to initiate a complaint, either formally or informally.
  • How they will be protected.
  • How vexatious or frivolous complaints with malicious intent will be addressed.
  • What will be expected of them in an investigation.



Make sure employees know:

  • Who will conduct the investigation.
  • How the complaint will be investigated.
  • Rights of involved parties to representation.
  • Timeline for investigation.
  • Mechanism for appealing a decision.


Positive conflict resolution should ensure that, at minimum, the following guidelines are followed:


  • Avoid blaming or shaming those involved by focusing on the solution rather than the problem.
  • Include options to resolve a complaint either formally or informally.
  • Be fair, equitable and allow the alleged bully or harasser a chance to respond.
  • Ensure confidentiality of all parties.
  • Facilitate a quick resolution.
  • Ensure any written resolution uses plain language.


Implementation of processes & procedures should include:


  • Legal reviewof the policy, if appropriate.
  • Regular reviews by managementto ensure it continues to be relevant.
  • Communication of the policy & key messages to all employees, including senior personnel.
  • Providing a copy of the policy to all new employees upon hiring or transfer.
  • Acknowledgment in writing or by e-mail from all employees that they have received & read the policy & any amendments.
  • Posting of the policy, with any amendments, prominently in a place where all employees will see it and have regular access to it.
  • Instructions to all managers about what is expected of them in carrying out the policy, including documenting objective observations of possible harassment or bullying & the comments of employees involved.
  • Annual discussion between managers & their staff about this particular policy.
  • Appoint a contact person for informal inquiries, concerns or complaints to deal with incidents before they escalate.
  • Initiate steps to prevent or minimizeworkplace bullying & harassment by developing a culture of support for employees focused on:


  • Resolving workplace issues.
  • Improving the quality of performance feedback.
  • Ensuring that all employees are treated fairly & reasonably.
  • Communicating openly at all levels.
  • Increasing management accountability by setting goals.
  • Ensuring effective reporting structures.
  • Seeking assistance from outside resources where necessary.


For support & advice contact