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 eapassist.com.au