Bullying was never just a high school problem. Invariably, abusive conduct grows up and becomes a problem for employers.
While California is still the only state that requires companies to address abusive conduct, creating a respectful workplace should be a priority for every company. That means providing training not just on the effects of abusive conduct, but on the kind of culture and environment that allows bullying behavior to happen.
It’s important that your HR team knows the signs of abusive conduct – a decrease in job satisfaction, lower morale, higher absenteeism, and lost productivity. However, knowing what actions to take to address bullying behavior can be much more difficult.
Abusive conduct is only one type of harassment of which your employees must be aware. California’s AB2053 refers to this kind of behavior as “malicious conduct,” that “a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” Similar to sexual harassment, a single act is not abusive “unless especially severe and egregious.” It is the severity and pervasiveness of bullying behavior that make it so important to address. Here’s what that can look like:
With a definition like that – broad, and leaving a lot of room for interpretation – your harassment prevention training can easily come under scrutiny, should an employee file charges for harassment or workplace bullying. It’s vital that you train employees and supervisors on the AB2053, and that you start doing so now.
Projections’ landmark harassment training has been keeping companies in full compliance with all training requirements since 1999. “The Respectful Workplace” eLearning is now available in versions for both managers and employees. This training meets your company’s needs in every state in which you operate and provides the consistency your company needs. More information on harassment prevention training can be found here.
Walter is Projections’ CEO and the founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.