There are two mistakes that employers often make when handling bullying complaints made during the disciplinary process
Occasionally, an employee will genuinely believe they are being bullied during performance management - which might indeed be the case.
Special counsel Felicity Clarke and senior associate Jillian Howard at Hall & Willcox say the biggest mistake an employer can make in this scenario is terminating the employee.
The second biggest mistake is using the same manager to investigate a bullying claim. The most important thing is not to panic.
Clarke and Howard say it’s essential to consider the following steps:
Separate the performance management from the bullying:
Employers can become overwhelmed because they are now dealing with two things: an underperforming employee; and a bullying investigation.
Employers must realise they can deal with both, but it’s best if they are treated separately.
Assess whether a formal investigation is required:
Investigations almost always result in one or more employees leaving – there must be caution, and a policy and procedure on when to conduct formal investigations.
As part of an initial assessment: