Workplace bullying

Workplace bullying

Many employees spend just as much time with their colleagues as they do with their loved ones. Creating a harmonious workspace is therefore extremely important.

Workplace bullying or harassment occurs when unreasonable, repeated behaviour is directed at a staff member; either by a person in a position of power such as a manager or employer, or even by other employees. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, workplace bullying may consist of the following behaviours:

  • Sexual harassment, including touching, explicit comments or ‘jokes’ that make individuals uncomfortable
  • ‘Initiation rituals’ where employees are made to do humiliating tasks in order to ‘join the club’
  • Repetitive and inappropriate remarks, about aspects such as sexuality, nationality, religion, intelligence, etc.
  • Unrealistic demands such as being assigned tasks without adequate time or resources to complete task
  • Psychological harassment

Workplace bullying, apart from being childish and cruel, disrupts the functioning of a business and can cause health issues for those involved. It can cost the business money, through:

  • Employees affected taking leave because they cannot face coming into work
  • Losing employees and having to re-train
  • Unproductive employees because they have lost their motivation
  • Dealing with a lawsuit

As an employer, it is your responsibility to establish a workplace culture that is inclusive and enjoyable for all employees to be a part of. This can be achieved by:

  • Including expectations of the way employees conduct themselves around the business in their employee contract.
  • Explicitly stating that the business is an inclusive one and bullying will not be tolerated in the business’ core values and mission statement.
  • Leading by example.
  • Having a process for dealing with bullying and adhering to it.
  • Ensuring there are appropriate and accessible channels for employees to use should they feel they are the victim of workplace bullying.

If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.

Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.

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