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Confronting Workplace Bullying Training for Supervisors
©SHRM Introduction “Bullying is the sexual harassment of 20 years ago; everybody knows about it, but nobody wants to admit it.” Lewis L. Maltby President, National Workrights Institute In surveys conducted by the Business Research Lab during 2002 and 2003, 40% of respondents stated they had been victims of workplace bullying and 59% had observed someone else being bullied at work. In many cases, managers and supervisors are the bullies. According to a study released by the Employment Law Alliance in 2007, 45% of respondents reported they had worked for an abusive boss. It is important for employers to recognize, confront and stop bullying in their workplaces. This sample presentation is intended for presentation to supervisors and other individuals who manage employees. It is designed to be presented by an individual who is knowledgeable in employee relations and specifically in workplace bullying issues as well as the employer’s own policies and practices. This is a sample presentation that must be customized to match the employer’s own culture, policies and practices.
©SHRM Objectives At the close of this session, you will be able to: Define workplace bullying. List forms of bullying behavior. Tell the difference between workplace bullying, illegal discrimination and harassment based on protected group status. Give reasons why it is important to confront and stop workplace bullying. Cite ways to stop this offensive behavior. Describe our policy on bullying.
©SHRM Definition of Workplace Bullying Workplace bullying, as defined by the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, is the repeated mistreatment of one or more employees with a malicious mix of humiliation, intimidation and sabotage of performance. According to the Institute, it is more common than sexual harassment or verbal abuse. It is the deliberate, hurtful, repeated mistreatment of employees driven by a desire to control. Bullying behavior may exist at any level of an organization. Bullies can and often are managers and supervisors as well as co-workers.
©SHRM 2008 Definition of Workplace Bullying (cont’d) Workplace bullying can generally be considered as negative acts directed toward employees. These include: Intimidating or undermining employees by demeaning their work standards, not giving them credit, setting them up for failure and constantly reminding them of old mistakes. Threatening employees’ personal self-esteem and work status. Isolating employees from opportunities, information and interaction with others. Giving impossible deadlines, creating undue pressure and stress, and overworking employees. 5
©SHRM Forms of Bullying Behavior The forms of bullying behavior include: Constant and unfair criticism. Social bantering and teasing. Yelling, shouting and screaming. Insults and behind-the-back put-downs. Hostile glares and other intimidating gestures. Malicious gossiping. Monopolizing supplies and other resources. Aggressive s or notes. Overt threats and aggression or violence.
©SHRM 2008 Questions? Comments? 7
©SHRM 2008 Difference Between Workplace Bullying and Illegal Discrimination and Harassment Workplace bullying is inappropriate and unacceptable behavior, but it is not prohibited by any federal or state law. Illegal discrimination and harassment covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and under state fair employment laws pertain to discrimination and harassment based on protected group status such as age, race, gender, ethnic origin, disability and religion. While workplace bullying may result in a hostile work environment, it is not the same illegal hostile work environment created by, for example, the employer allowing pornographic photos and objects in its workplace. 8
©SHRM 2008 Difference Between Workplace Bullying and Illegal Discrimination/Harassment: Quiz For each of the following, state whether the behavior is workplace bullying or illegal discrimination/harassment. Example 1 – John Smith, production line manager, calls Mary Adams, one of his assembly line workers, “sweetie pie” in a group meeting in front of her co-workers. Most of her co- workers are men. He continues, saying that she makes lots of mistakes and is slower than everyone else, but she looks really cute in her work overalls and hard hat. He calls her into his office after the meeting and says if she will go out with him, he will give her a desk job to get her off the assembly line. Is this workplace bullying or illegal discrimination and harassment? 9
©SHRM 2008 Difference Between Workplace Bullying and Illegal Discrimination and Harassment: Quiz (cont’d) Example 2 – Joan Downing yells and curses at her co-worker, Paul Jones, who has a cubicle next to hers. She makes fun of his new haircut and the way he walks. She constantly criticizes his work performance and gossips to other employees about phone conversations between Paul and his girlfriend. Is this workplace bullying or illegal discrimination and harassment? Example 3 – Kurt Brown, who manages the accounting department, sends nasty messages to his employee, Peter Marks. He blames him for the backlog in the department and threatens to demote or fire him if the department does not meet its goals. He glares at him and makes fun of questions Peter asks in staff meetings. Is this workplace bullying or illegal discrimination and harassment? 10
©SHRM 2008 Questions? Comments? 11
©SHRM 2008 Reasons to Confront and Stop Workplace Bullying Employers must confront and stop workplace bullying because of significant effects and damage to both employees and to the company. Workplace bullying results in employees suffering from significant physical and emotional problems, including anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, poor concentration, substance abuse and lowered self-esteem. Costs to the employer include turnover, higher health care costs, low productivity, absenteeism, low morale and retaliation that may reach levels of aggressive and violent behavior. Above all, tolerating workplace bullying makes it impossible for employers to reach the goal of treating all employees with respect and dignity. 12
©SHRM Reasons to Confront and Stop Workplace Bullying (cont’d) There is no specific federal or state anti-bullying legislation in the United States, but that does not mean that employers may not be held liable for tolerating bullying in their workplaces. If the offending behavior is pervasive enough to be considered threatening, intimidating or creating an environment full of hostility, there is potential for a claim of constructive discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress or relating the bullying to protected class discrimination.
©SHRM Ways to Confront and Stop Workplace Bullying To confront and stop workplace bullying: Establish an anti-bullying policy that explains what bullying is and that it is unacceptable behavior. Train managers and all other employees on the policy. Establish processes for reporting, investigating and resolving complaints. Conduct periodic employee attitude surveys to determine if workplace bullying is not being reported.
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Company Policy on Workplace Bullying Distribute a copy of your company’s policy, review and discuss with attendees.
©SHRM Questions? Comments?
©SHRM Summary Workplace bullying is the deliberate, hurtful, negative, repeated mistreatment of one or more employees driven by a desire to control. Some of the forms it takes are constant and unfair criticism, teasing, yelling, insulting, malicious gossiping, and aggressive behavior. Workplace bullying is inappropriate and unacceptable behavior, but it is not prohibited by any federal or state law, unlike illegal discrimination and harassment covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and under state fair employment laws.
©SHRM Summary (cont’d) Employers must confront and stop workplace bullying because of significant effects and damage to both employees and to the company. These include physical and emotional problems suffered by employees, high turnover, low productivity, low morale and employer liability under federal and state fair employment laws. To confront and stop workplace bullying, employers must establish an anti-bullying policy; train managers and all other employees on the policy; establish processes for reporting, investigating and resolving complaints; and conduct periodic employee attitude surveys to determine if workplace bullying is not being reported.
©SHRM Course Evaluation Please complete and leave the evaluation sheet you received with your handouts. Thank you for your attention and interest !
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