Bullying isn't just something that's found among children on the playground. It's also unfortunately found in the workplace among employees and managers.
It's often a pattern flowing from the top down. In other words, from a position of perceived power.
Now, bullying in the workplace should be taken VERY seriously, and dealt with swiftly, because YOU can end up being liable for it having ever occurred.
Take note of these 3 ways in which you could be held liable for bullying in the workplace and see what you can do to prevent it...
Sleep better knowing you're on top of the POPI Act requirements!
Way#1: Vicarious Liability
The POPI Guide for HR Managers: Simple steps to comply with the POPI Act
will ensure you:
· Easily understand the complex POPI Act;
· Know what the Act requires from you as the HR manager;
· Understand your employees' rights so you can avoid legal comebacks;
· Align your internal processes with the Act;
· Meet the compliance deadline as soon as it's announced;
· Train your managers and staff on the new changes;
· Avoid steep penalties for non-compliance;
· And much more!
Find out more here
If your employees, in the normal course of their work for you, cause any harm to someone else through their fault, including negligence, then you may be held liable.
This is known as 'vicarious liability'.
Way#2: The Employment Equity Act
The EE Act says that you're liable for your employees' acts of discrimination in the workplace.
This includes harassment and bullying.
Way#3: Supreme Court of Appeal
The Supreme Court of Appeal has held that you are owe your employees care and protection in the workplace.
And this doesn't just include a safe physical working environment, but also a working environment that is free from bullying.
So what can you do to avoid liability?
The only resource you will ever need to navigate the myriad of HR challenges your employees present
How sure are you that your HR department's current processes aren't a lawsuit waiting to happen?
How certain are you that one small oversight won't end up costing your company R2.7 million in fines?
How confident are you that you won't land at the CCMA defending a case for following a faulty HR process?
Don't take a chance when you don't have to.
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You must take reasonable steps to prevent any bullying in the workplace, AND you should be able to prove this.
These 'reasonable steps' shouldn't just include a suitable policy in place, but also the fact that you thoroughly investigate every incident of bullying and take necessary action against bullies.
Include an internal process for your employees when it comes to reporting incidents of bullying in the workplace. This can be included in your grievance procedure.
The employee can only go to the courts after he has gone through your company's internal process, and so this internal process can also show that you have taken reasonable steps to try and deal with bullying in the workplace as much as possible before the employee resorted to the courts.
*To learn more important information on dealing with bullying in the workplace, go to chapter B03: Bullying in the Workplace
in your Practical Guide to Human Resources Management
If you don't have it already, click here.