Bullying promotes an unproductive work environment because employees who are distracted cannot perform their best, which can have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line. So-called “harmless” banter, for example, can escalate into harassment, hostilities and even violence that results in injuries or worse.
Bullying falls into several categories:
- Sexual harassment: Unwanted contact or advances. May require the involvement of law enforcement.
- Physical harassment: Touching or hitting a co-worker. Again, law enforcement officials may need to become involved.
- Verbal harassment: Name calling, threatening statements, obscene jokes and other offensive comments.
- Workplace discrimination: Insulting comments based on race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, political beliefs or age.
What should an employer do to combat bullying?
According to I. David Daniels, president and CEO of ID2 Solutions, employers are legally responsible for protecting their workers. To meet that standard, Daniels said at the 2018 Safety Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, that employers must:
- Recognize bullying, harassment and violence as a safety hazard that needs to “be part of the conversation,” Daniels said. “It will create awareness that will prevent situations later on.”
- Establish a plan to address the hazard, including reporting procedures. Adopt a “see something, say something” policy.
- Provide training to everyone in the organization. Encourage proactive cooperation in addressing any related issues.
- Make the plan part of the organization's safety management system. Assign the responsibility of investigating complaints to human resources.
“Why are we not having conversations about the value of kindness in the workplace?” Daniels asked.
What to do if you are a victim of workplace bullying
Victims often feel powerless. They may think there is nothing they can do without causing additional trouble, drawing negative attention to themselves, and possibly jeopardizing their own employment.
However, help is only a computer click or phone call away. The experienced West Virginia workplace harassment attorneys at Klie Law Offices have handled many cases just like yours. We understand the law, including your two-year statute of limitations. We can explain all your options, from negotiation to a lawsuit. And we will treat your case with both professionalism and compassion.
Contact us for a free case evaluation today. We’re here for you when you need us most.