Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment, so it is in your interest to have a policy to avoid it and put procedures in place to implement the policy. See drawing up an anti-bullying and harassment policy.
It is your responsibility to make sure that any policy has been properly implemented, is understood by staff and is being developed, used and monitored properly. If a tribunal believes that all reasonable steps have been taken by the employer to prevent bullying and harassment, it may avoid liability.
You should make sure that:
- All the management team have a working knowledge of, and are seen to be fully committed to the policy.
- You identify who is in overall charge, and in day-to-day charge, of implementing the policy.
- You advise all employees, including managers, of their responsibilities under the policy.
- You have set aside time to train those in charge on their responsibilities.
- The policy covers all the areas covered by anti-discrimination law. See how to prevent discrimination and value diversity.
- The policy is linked to other relevant procedures such as discipline/grievance/social media and any appraisal system for managers.
- You use all appropriate ways to highlight and raise awareness of the policies to your workforce including any induction process.
- You keep a note of complaints so you can detect any patterns of inappropriate behaviour. Remember that an absence of any complaints does not necessarily mean that bullying and harassment is not going on.
- You review the policy from time to time to take account of changes in the law and make sure it's working properly.
- The employee's attention is drawn regularly to aspects of the policy focusing on, for example, the potential for sexual harassment at social events and the protocols regarding this.
- You have been seen to put the procedure into practice eg dealt informally with any inappropriate banter in the workplace.