We often think that bullying is quarantined to the school playground. However those playground bullies grow up and we then find them in our boardrooms and as our colleagues.

As an employer, you need to understand that you are duty bound to ensure a safe working environment for your employees. This means, ensuring they are safe from violent, harassing and bullying behaviour.

While bullying is a form of aggression, the actions can be both obvious and subtle. Bullying is usually considered to be a pattern of behaviour where one or more incidents will help show that bullying is taking place.

Examples of workplace bullying
According to Stop Bullying in SA, workplace bullying can be categorised according to the following behaviours:

  • Abusive, insulting or offensive language;
  • Behaviour or language that frightens, humiliates, belittles or degrades, including criticism that is delivered with yelling and screaming;
  • Teasing or regularly making someone the brunt of practical jokes;
  • Displaying material that is degrading or offending;
  • Spreading gossip, rumours and innuendo of a malicious nature.

Bullying affects an entire organisation and can lead to:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Increased stress levels
  • Decreased productivity
  • High staff turnover

What can you do to prevent this in your organisation?
Since bullying is a form of violence in the workplace, employers may wish to write a comprehensive policy that covers a range of incidents (from bullying and harassment to physical violence).

You also need a workplace policy in place that includes a reporting system.

Most importantly treat all complaints seriously, and deal with complaints promptly and confidentially.



Until next week