How Employers Should Handle Workplace Bullying

Bullying has become one of the most common vices in a hostile work environment. It has to do with any sort of harassment (verbal and non-verbal) and uncomfortable situation/maltreatment from a coworker. Bullying may not be obvious, but prevalent in most workplaces even while the existence is contrary to the basic code of conduct in a work environment. While it is ethical for employees to enjoy a bully-free workplace, they deserve justice for any sort of harassment at work. As a matter of fact, organizations are billed to develop a program on how they can handle workplace bullying even with zero records of bullying.

Employers are required to device means within the frame of the laws and policies of the company that will curtail bullying situations. Provide effective channels to receiving any complaints from employees. And above all, ensure that complaints received are responded to promptly and appropriately. In dealing with workplace bullying efficiently, they ensure that the rights of their employees are equally protected.

These are basic tips on how employers should handle workplace bullying.

handle workplace bullying

One golden rule on how employers should handle workplace bullying is to “always maintain a neutral stand”.

Set the standard

The very first and professional step to take in handling workplace bullying is to establish robust anti-bullying rules. Set the records straight from the beginning that the work environment is a respectable and bully-free place. To achieve this, code of conducts which does not condone bullying should be adopted. Make employees understand the grave penalties they face if found guilty of bullying. Also, do well to educate employees regularly on how to deal with bullying cases that may arise.

Ensure prompt actions

There are no guarantees that bullying won’t be recorded even with the policies. However, a prompt response is vital in handling workplace bullying. Once allegations are made or bullying situations reported, there should be immediate investigation and action by the management. Show employees how serious the act is by the level of action taken as well as the urgency in dealing with any form of bullying.

Neutrality is expected from you

One golden rule on how employers should handle workplace bullying is to “always maintain a neutral stand”. While investing any reported case of bullying among staff, remember the golden rule. Neutrality on any matter gives you an unbiased judgment. It also helps involved parties understand that they are not just victims but the entire company. When you are noticed to be taking sides with any party, then this can lead to separation and further bullying.

Record keeping is important

Once investigation about any case of bullying is done, it’s advisable that the record is kept. This record does not serve as a means to victimize someone in the future. It is, however, a good reference point in case there is a need for reinvestigation or legal claims in the future. For instance, employees who falsely claim victims of workplace bullying due to grudges from conflicts with fellow employees could report to EEOC for further investigation. This may threaten the legitimacy of your workplace bullying policies, mostly if you don’t have proper records of previous investigation.


Workplace bullying is not limited to employees. Bullies are more among bosses. Hence, there is a need for employers to continually reevaluate the authorities they exercise on employees to ensure they are not bullying them inadvertently. They should also be open to receive information of any kind from the employees and effectively respond to other workplace challenges facing their employees.

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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