Workplace bullying can reduce profits due to a decrease in productivity or performance, absenteeism, increased staff turnover and legal costs.
Bullying can lead to employer liability in reinstatement claims, claims for compensation for sexual discrimination or harassment, claims for damages for personal and psychiatric injury, prosecution for breach of OH&S laws and criminal charges if the bullying constitutes assault.
To limit the potential for bullying in its workforce, an employer should adhere to the following:
- Consult with employees and identify any risk of inappropriate behaviour;
- Develop effective policies and procedures to deal with inappropriate workplace conduct;
- Communicate such policies to all employees and conduct regular and training;
- Take all complaints seriously and ensure appropriate investigation;
- Ensure compliance with policies through regular reviews; and
- Keep accurate records of steps taken in case of legal action.