Do I need to have an anti-bullying policy?
In my opinion there are three HR compliance (legal) topics du jour this side of health care reform: intern pay; minimum wage legislation; and anti-bullying laws. Of these three, anti-bullying laws is perhaps the newest and most confusing among them.
With minimum wage and intern pay there are regulations, agency memos, court cases and laws. Bullying, however, is nebulous and open for interpretation. What does it mean to be bullied? Can it be objectively measured or do we look at it more like unlawful harassment which is measured by a combination of objective and subjective criteria? For better or worse, the issue of bullying among children and at schools has now spilled over into the workplace.
So, to the question, do you need a policy on this? Probably not - at least not yet; we have to see what the legislatures do over the coming years. So far, every attempt to ban "bullying" in the workplace has failed. Fortunately. That is not to say that you should condone bullying at work, and many harassment policies will likely and appropriately cover the topic. Would it hurt to have a specific policy prohibiting bullying? Certainly not, and it may be appropriate for your company's culture and morale.
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