5 Tips for Handling Workplace Bullying: New Book by Employment Law and HR Expert Details Solutions

Aug 27, 2009
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5 Tips for Handling Workplace Bullying: New Book by Employment Law and HR Expert Details Solutions

More than 70 million workers report being a target of or witness to workplace bullying.

Alexandria, Va. – A new book to be released the first week in September, “Stop Bullying at Work,” provides strategies and tools for HR and legal professionals managing the sensitive issue of workplace bullying.

The book is published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and authored by Teresa Daniel, an attorney and HR expert who is also a business professor.

Daniel offers solutions to combat workplace bullying, a problem costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars annually in lost productivity, employee absenteeism and turnover, and increased medical costs. The book identifies the most common types of workplace bullying, and what distinguishes a tough boss from a workplace bully. The book also looks at the consequences of workplace bullying, including employee relations problems and legal implications.

In “Stop Bullying at Work,” Daniel provides five in-depth tips for businesses to handle workplace bullying (see attached tip sheet). Highlights include:

  1. Confront and monitor existing bullies;
  2. Obtain a senior management commitment to a bully-free environment;
  3. Develop an anti-bullying policy;
  4. Create monitoring, investigation, and complaint systems, disciplinary procedures, and follow-up measures; and
  5. Train employees about conduct expectations.

Daniel is an employment lawyer and president of InsideOut HR Solutions PLLC. She is a professor of human resource management, business law, and organizational behavior. Daniel has taught at several universities including Marshall University and Ellis College. She lives in Ashland, Kentucky.

Review copies of the book and author interviews are available upon request.

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About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org.

TIP SHEET

Five Tips for Businesses on Handling Workplace Bullying Situations

by Teresa A. Daniel, author of Stop Bullying at Work(ISBN 9781586441357, September 2009, $17.95)

  1. Confront and monitor existing bullies. ​To properly approach the bully and create individual change, Teresa Daniel suggests:
  2. ​•​ “Talking directly to the bully about the consequences of his or her behavior;
    • Training bullies about how to treat others fairly in the workplace; and
    • Implementing performance evaluation and appraisal mechanism to discourage bullying behaviors, such as a 360-degree performance feedback system.”
  3. Obtain a senior management commitment to a bully-free environment. “Organizations need to demonstrate in visible and continuous ways that senior management is committed to addressing and eradicating the bullying phenomenon. Because of the power differential that exists in the relationship between the bully and the targeted employee, the reluctance to report bullying appears to be linked to the belief that nothing will be done and also to the fear of retaliation if something is done.”
  4. Develop an anti-bullying policy. ​“Any policy that you develop should be customized to fit your organization’s specific culture, values, and needs. An anti-bullying policy will generally address the following types of issues: your company’s commitment to a culture of mutual respect and zero-tolerance of bullying, clear definitions of bullying, managerial responsibilities, complaint procedures, any support or counseling offered to the target, assurances that all complaints are taken seriously and will be treated confidentially, a ‘no retaliation’ provision, and who to contact to get further information.”
  5. Create monitoring, investigation, and complaint systems, disciplinary procedures, and follow-up measures. ​“Whether or not you elect to develop and implement an anti-bullying policy, a specific internal group or department needs to be identified as being responsible for receiving complaints and educating your employees. An investigation is a necessary response to a bullying complaint. All complaint resolution systems must include an effective disciplinary procedure that spells out the consequences for failure to abide by the company’s policy, including progressive discipline.”
  6. Train employees about conduct expectations.  “Periodic training of employees must be conducted to ensure a culture of respect and accountability, and also that all employees understand the company’s expectations about their workplace conduct – what is and is not acceptable – and the consequences for failing to observe these requirements.”
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