The prevalence of workplace bullying, or bullying in general, seems to receive near constant media attention these days, ranging from school-age children to professional football players. If, or when, you find yourself in an environment where bullying occurs, you will see how bullying can detrimentally affect you, your business, and co-workers.
Bullying potentially can create a hostile work environment and affect worker morale. It also can create legal risks and expose the employer to liability, especially if the bullying can be associated with harassment, discrimination, or retaliation directed towards a protected class. To maintain morale and minimize legal risks and liability associated with bullying, the employer can implement workplace policies aimed at bullying.
One of the best places for an employer to begin in combating bullying is with an anti-bullying policy. An anti-bullying policy could be similar to an anti-discrimination policy but should define bullying and give examples of wrongful bullying. An anti-bullying policy also could be much broader than an anti-discrimination policy. And as with an anti-discrimination policy, the anti-bullying policy should have a reporting method and an investigative method of which employers and employees are aware. The employer also should provide training to the employees on the new policy and the types of behavior that are unacceptable.