Five Top Tips on Tackling Bullying in the Workplace

By Andrew Willis
25 Oct 2019

Never underestimate the impact bullying can have on your workforce. It can take may forms and can sometimes be unseen.

To avoid damage to morale, and potential grievances, disciplinaries and legal claims, read our five top tips on how to combat bullying.



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Five Top Tips on Tackling Bullying in the Workplace

You shouldn’t underestimate the impact bullying can have on your workforce.

Whether it’s from colleagues or managers, employees suffering abuse are less likely to do their job well, and more likely to leave it.

1. Know what behaviour amounts to bullying

Acas defines bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour that undermines, humiliates, denigrates or injures the recipient. This includes: malicious gossiping, isolation, spreading critical feedback, deliberately ridiculing an individual and cyber bullying.

2. Outline standards of behaviour in a policy

Develop a clear, robust policy outlining all types of unacceptable behaviour and the consequences if caught. This policy should be issued to all members of staff. Preferably, they should be encouraged to read, and sign, the policy as part of an induction process.

3. Take all complaints seriously

Have a zero-tolerance policy towards all incidents. If an employee claims they’re being bullied, this should be taken seriously regardless of their personal perception. Undertake a full investigation into the incident(s). If necessary, prepare to take disciplinary action against the accused individual.

4. Consider mediation

If for whatever reason your employees are not getting on, this may lead to an increase in bullying behaviour. Mediation involves the use of a third party, such as a manager or HR representative. It help both parties talk freely, and voluntarily, encouraging them to see each other’s perspective.

5. Be mindful of the ‘banter’ defence

‘Banter’ is the friendly exchange of teasing, good-humoured remarks. However, the person on the receiving end may not see the funny side. Regularly remind employees of appropriate conduct at work, potentially through additional training.

Expert support

If bullying is an issue in your workplace, or you're having trouble with a discplinary, grievance, or redundancy situation, speak to a Croner expert on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.