Harassment and Bullying – the majority of incidents are not reported!
image copyright: change.org
Harassment and Bullying has many underlying causes – abuse of management power; personality clashes; discrimination.
The majority of incidents of harassment or bullying are not put on the record. Employees may fear the consequence of reporting a supervisor or manager. Colleagues may be reluctant to come forward as witnesses as they fear the consequences for themselves.
In a recent workplace investigation into a serious incident 15 employees were interviewed;
– 5 reported being subjected to bullying and abusive behaviour;
– 5 reported witnessing abusive behaviour in the past 12 months.
The investigation uncovered a culture which was characterised by lack of co-operation, lack of respect for individuals, failure to accept responsibility, and abusive behaviour.
Most organisations have a written policy for the dealing with harassment and bullying and managers are expected to follow detailed procedures when cases are reported. This approach relies on the individual having the courage to report abusive behaviour to their manager or HR Department.
In practice (as evidenced by the stats reported above) individuals do not report incidents of abuse for a whole variety of reasons:
– Fear that making a complaint will make the situation worse
– Lack of trust in how the complaint will be handled
– Concern about how it will affect their future job prospects
I have extensive experience of preventing and investigating harassment and bullying cases. Call me if you need advice on how to prevent abusive behaviour in your business.