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Make sure supervisors know these common justifications for harassment are unacceptable.
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Practice NoteThis sample workplace bullying policy applies to all employees, including supervisors, managers and company executives. It defines bullying and provides examples of behavior that would be a violation of the policy. The sample policy contains a simple statement about the consequences of a violation but does not contain procedures for reporting, investigating or disciplining employees found to be in violation. For a sample policy that contains procedures for reporting, investigating and administering discipline for violations of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, see Nondiscrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure. For a discussion on managing difficult and disruptive employees, see
Managing Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behaviors. For a discussion of workplace bullying that may not be unlawful harassment, see
Problem of Workplace Bullying Demands Attention, Researchers Say.
Workplace harassment is unlawful under federal and many state and local laws. See,
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and various state and local anti-discrimination statutes.
ObjectiveThe purpose of this policy is to communicate to all employees, including supervisors, managers and executives, that [Company Name] will not in any instance tolerate bullying behavior. Employees found in violation of this policy will be disciplined, up to and including termination.
[Company Name] defines bullying as repeated inappropriate behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment. Such behavior violates [Company Name]’s Code of Ethics, which clearly states that all employees will be treated with dignity and respect.
Bullying may be intentional or unintentional. However, it must be noted that when an allegation of bullying is made, the intention of the alleged bully is irrelevant, and will not be given consideration when meting out discipline. As in sexual harassment, it is the effect of the behavior on the individual that is important. [Company Name] considers the following types of behavior examples of bullying:
Verbal bullying: Slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his or her family; persistent name calling that is hurtful, insulting or humiliating; using a person as butt of jokes; abusive and offensive remarks.
Physical bullying: Pushing, shoving, kicking, poking, tripping, assault or threat of physical assault, damage to a person’s work area or property
Gesture bullying: Nonverbal threatening gestures; glances that can convey threatening messages.
Exclusion: Socially or physically excluding or disregarding a person in work-related activities.
In addition, the following examples may constitute or contribute to evidence of bullying in the workplace:
Persistent singling out of one person.
Shouting or raising voice at an individual in public or in private.
Using verbal or obscene gestures.
Not allowing the person to speak or express himself of herself (i.e., ignoring or interrupting).
Personal insults and use of offensive nicknames.
Public humiliation in any form.
Constant criticism on matters unrelated or minimally related to the person’s job performance or description.
Ignoring or interrupting an individual at meetings.
Repeatedly accusing someone of errors that cannot be documented.
Deliberately interfering with mail and other communications.
Spreading rumors and gossip regarding individuals.
Encouraging others to disregard a supervisor’s instructions.
Manipulating the ability of someone to do his or her work (e.g., overloading, underloading, withholding information, assigning meaningless tasks, setting deadlines that cannot be met, giving deliberately ambiguous instructions).
Inflicting menial tasks not in keeping with the normal responsibilities of the job.
Taking credit for another person’s ideas.
Refusing reasonable requests for leave in the absence of work-related reasons not to grant leave.
Deliberately excluding an individual or isolating him or her from work-related activities, such as meetings.
Unwanted physical contact, physical abuse or threats of abuse to an individual or an individual’s property (defacing or marking up property).
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