Workplace Bullying And Harassment Management And Training
Do you know that employers, managers and employees could be held liable for acts of unlawful discrimination, harassment or bullying even if they were not directly involved in the actual incident or the incident occurred at drinks after work?
Do you know that in Victoria, a person convicted of bullying under the amended Victorian Crimes Act, could face up to 10 years in jail?
To reduce the level of liability (which if convicted could involve fines, legal costs or a possible jail term) and to minimise other costs associated with decreased productivity and increased absenteeism, workers compensation claims and staff turnover, we recommends that organisations take a multi-targeted approach such as:
- Development of comprehensive workplace policies
- Information sessions (initial followed by annual updates) for all employees
- Regular and continued communications to all employees
- Manager training sessions (covering obligations, responsibilities and skills training)
- A serious, structured and consistent approach to receiving and handling complaints
Whether you believe that bullying or harassment is happening at your workplace or not, the above recommendations are still appropriate and strongly encouraged.
Workplace Conflict Resolution can support your organisation towards developing a culture with a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment.
If, at your workplace, there is currently an existing complaint or allegation of bullying and/or harassment, Workplace Conflict Resolution can advise you on whether an informal or formal resolution process is appropriate and then conduct that process for you.
Prevention of Bullying and Harassment
Staff training encourages a shared understanding around personal and individual responsibility, accountability, and liability and explains relevant terminology, organisational policies (and when they apply including the blurred line between work and private life), use of social media, reasonable management action, WHS responsibilities of all staff, the expected complaints handling process, possible outcomes from disciplinary action, bystander action and self management for addressing behaviours of concern.
(2 hour training session)
Manager training in addition to the staff training stresses a manager’s vicarious liability, role modelling expected behaviours, situations and comments to avoid to minimise risk to the organisation, and a brief summary structure on how to address ‘in the moment’ any incidents of inappropriate behaviour they witness.
(1.5 hour training session – managers attending total of 3.5 hours training)
Providing step by step guidance: addressing inappropriate behaviour at the moment they witness this, best practice conversations to have when a staff member approaches them to make a complaint, understanding the organisation’s complaints handling policy, do’s and don’ts for managers and coaching staff to speak up and constructively manage uncomfortable situations at work with other colleagues.
Changing a Culture of Bullying – Step Up, Speak Out
We work with organisations to change their existing cultural approach to bullying in the workplace – from Board and Senior Executive level to ground level staff at the ‘coal face’. This includes the delivery of ‘Prevention of Bullying and Harassment’ training, facilitated team discussions gaining agreement around appropriate behaviours, constructive communications (including self management of uncomfortable situations), how values can be displayed in action and self protection strategies. The program may include training managers in best practice complaints resolution/investigation, training Grievance Officers, training managers in how to coach staff for behavioural change and the implementation of a ‘blind’ reporting system in which all complaints are addressed promptly and sensitively, are properly investigated and have a ‘tracking’ process to identify ‘repeat’ offenders who may require training, counselling or disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Related item – See our blog item on harassment and bullying.