If you’re dealing with someone in the workplace who has been bullying, harassing, intimidating, threatening or victimising an individual or group of employees, the very last thing you’ll want to do is make the situation worse. So how do you handle the situation without adding fuel to the fire?
The key is to act swiftly, confidentially, carefully and most of all – fairly.
Your initial steps will depend on the nature of the problem. If it’s appropriate, you might address it internally through mediation, a conference, a workplace review, informal counselling or employee assistance. The Fair Work Commission is a great place to start as it defines what constitutes both bullying and reasonable management action within the workplace.
If there’s been an incident, a workplace investigation will be necessary to find out exactly what has happened. This may be in the form of a workplace review to proactively explore the root causes of the incident or identify opportunities to improve workplace culture, staff morale and ethics.
An external workplace investigation seeks to make findings of fact. A seasoned, independent investigator will provide you with reliable facts so that you can make defensible decisions when dealing with complaints such as bullying.
The key: keeping it impartial
Procedural fairness and impartiality are two of the most important factors in a workplace investigation. If employees feel their complaint or an allegation against them hasn’t been handled fairly, it can open the situation up to worse behaviour, adverse action or unfair dismissal claims in the event that someone is let go. There is also the real risk of victimisation. Damaged relationships, an impacted workplace culture and negative word of mouth – the risks are real.
If you aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to investigating bullying claims, you don’t have the time or resources to spare to conduct a thorough investigation, or you simply want no doubt about impartiality, contract HR services such as PerformHR can prove invaluable.
An experienced external team can come into your workplace to serve a number of purposes when it comes to bullying allegations:
- To conduct workplace investigations
- to provide mediation services
- to refine your employment policies and procedures, and/or
- to transform the workplace culture through a workplace review process.
This is an ideal way to access HR support for small businesses in an agile way, with peace of mind that the matter is handled in accordance with your legal obligations under WHS legislation.
More than that – you can rest assured that your employment relations are managed in a way that will minimise any future incidents and provide an enjoyable and healthy workplace for all employees.
If you’re seeking HR consultancy services in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, or Newcastle, you can book a call with our team today.