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Five Strategies for Establishing a Bully-Free Workplace

April 22, 2013
A bully-free culture starts with a zero-tolerance policy - but it won't go anywhere without upper-management support.

In a sidebar to her recent article on the culture of bullying in the United States,EHS Today senior editor Laura Walter offers these tips to help employers eliminate workplace bullying.

  1. Establish a zero-tolerance policy. Of course, it's one thing to have a zero-tolerance policy. Make sure that people know the policy has teeth by firing employees who engage in bullying and refuse to stop.

  2. Secure upper-management support. Any major initiative is doomed to fail without support from top executives. That's why it's critical that the CEO and other senior leaders are on board when it comes to creating a bully-free culture.

  3. Encourage workers to report bullying. Workers need to know that they can report bullying behavior without fear of reprisal.

  4. Don't offer bullies a safe haven. "Too often, company leaders maintain loyalty to bullies based on work performance or personal connections," Walter writes. "Realize that a bully can damage morale and productivity or cause good employees to go running for the hills."

  5. Promote tolerance. "Make it clear that all employees, including those who may be perceived as 'different' for whatever reason, are valued and must be treated with respect," Walter writes.

For more, read "Beyond the Playground: When Bullying Elbows its Way into the Workplace."