New Providence, NJ (March 13, 2014) – While schools across the country have implemented bullying prevention programs, a new report and toolkit from XpertHR recommends that employers should do the same. Surveys have found that 27 percent of workers report being bullied at work; however, their employers are neither preventing workplace bullying nor responding adequately when complaints are made.
“Bullying is present in every workplace and all employers must be prepared to deal with it,” says Beth P. Zoller, JD, legal editor, XpertHR. “However, bullying is hard to define because it covers a wide range of conduct and behavior including physical threats, hostile words or any actions intended to interfere with an employee’s work.”
Some individuals are more likely to experience workplace bullying than others. Hispanics report the highest rate of bullying, followed by African-Americans. Furthermore, older workers tend to be targets of workplace bullying more often than their younger colleagues.
“Currently there is no law in the U.S. that explicitly prohibits workplace bullying and abusive conduct,” says Zoller. “State and federal harassment laws only prohibit bullying and harassment that occurs because an individual is a member of a protected class, such as race, sex, or sexual orientation. For employees who are not members of a protected class, their only option may be to bring claims for emotional distress, assault, battery, and negligent supervision and other causes of action.”
Workplace bullying presents a wide variety of risks to employers and often results in significant liability. Bullying can lead to decreased employee productivity and morale, workplace violence, workers’ compensation claims and health care costs, absenteeism and potential lawsuits for negligent hiring, infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery. It is important for employers to proactively implement measures to prevent and deal with workplace bullying.
XpertHR offers these tips for preventing workplace bullying:
– Implement a workplace bullying policy.
– Demonstrate that you will enforce the antibullying policy, ensuring offenders will be disciplined and terminated if necessary.
– Provide comprehensive anti-bullying training to all employees and supervisors.
– Put a complaint procedure in place and be vigilant about responding to all allegations of bullying.
To receive a free copy of XpertHR’s full report and toolkit, download “How To” Guide on Preventing Workplace Bullying.
XpertHR’s online service provides HR professionals with practical compliance tools and comprehensive guidance on federal, state and municipal law, helping employers stay current with evolving and complex employment law issues. XpertHR content is published in association with sister company LexisNexis. XpertHR.com is a unique, easy-to-use solution organized around the day-to-day responsibilities of HR professionals. In addition to smart search features, you can browse through content by task, by topic, or by tool type to help you find just what you need in seconds. Our key features include the popular Employment Law Manual and Liveflo employment workflows.
Editor’s Note: Please include a link to the full report http://www.xperthr.com/pages/workplace-bullying-prevention-a-toolkit-for-employers/
Beth Brody, fisher VISTA (For XpertHR)