Prompt investigation of claims of bullying and harassment is key explains XpertHR

XpertHR says it is important that employers act promptly to investigate any claims of bullying or harassment they receive, following news that there have been further bullying allegations made against Home Secretary Priti Patel[i].

According to a TUC report[ii] nearly a third of people (29%) have been bullied at work and in nearly three-quarters (72%) of cases the bullying is carried out by a manager. More than one in three (36%) people who report being bullied at work leave their job because of it.

XpertHR highlights that employers have a duty to provide a working environment free from bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment can range from unwanted physical contact or verbal abuse to isolation and exclusion from work-related social activities or unreasonable work-related instructions.

It is important that employers make clear the sorts of behaviour that are unacceptable, as well as what employees should do if they believe they are being bullied or harassed.

Jo Stubbs, XpertHR’s global head of product content strategy, says, “Bullying can have a significant impact on people’s mental and physical health, leading to increased sickness absence and lower productivity. It can also have a negative effect on engagement and morale and result in increased turnover.

“Apart from these detrimental effects on the general working environment, a failure to respond appropriately and in a timely way to a complaint and investigate it thoroughly could lead to a complaint being brought in an employment tribunal.

“Employers should have a bullying and harassment policy in place and ensure it is communicated to all staff. It should outline the types of behaviour that will be regarded as bullying or harassment and the consequences that may result from any such behaviour. It should also set out the steps that the organisation will take to investigate any reports of possible bullying or harassment, whether or not a formal complaint has been made.”

XpertHR offers a Model Policy document to help employers develop their own policy on investigating claims of bullying and harassment. As well as model policy wording, it explains the law on bullying and harassment, and forthcoming developments in this area for employers to be aware of.

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