Preventing Workplace Victimisation: Strategies for Employers

Preventing Workplace Victimisation: Strategies for Employers
Photo Credits - Clay Banks via Unsplash

Understanding workplace victimisation, a form of discrimination protected under the Equality Act 2010, is crucial for employers. Despite legal safeguards, this issue persists. In this article, we delve into strategies that can help employers combat this issue, from implementing robust work policies to the benefits of training employees. We also underscore the pivotal role of fostering an inclusive workplace culture and offer insights into effective monitoring mechanisms.

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Mapping Out Workplace Victimisation

The victimisation meaning can be found in legislation. Under the Equality Act 2010, it’s conduct that causes another detriment because they’ve done or intend to do a “protected act”. These acts include lodging a complaint about discrimination or supporting another’s complaint.

READ: Ex-BBC Commentator Claims Unfair Dismissal Following Whistleblowing Incident

In essence, workplace victimisation entails treating someone worse because they’ve spoken up about discrimination or supported another who did. As such, the following could be examples of victimisation at work:

  • Denying an employee a promotion because they testified in a colleague’s discrimination claim
  • Refusing the custom of an ex-employee after they launched harassment proceedings and quit
  • Threatening to fire an employee because it’s believed they will support a colleague’s claim

When an employee alleges they’ve faced victimisation, it’s the employer’s responsibility to address the issue promptly and fairly. This requires following a comprehensive procedure in line with the ACAS codes of practice. Failure to meet these legal obligations could expose the employer to compensation claims.

Shielding Your Workplace: Crafting Effective Policies to Combat Victimisation

While effectively handling workplace victimisation complaints is crucial, it’s equally imperative employers take proactive measures to eliminate the underlying causes. An ideal starting point involves producing effective work policies. This will enlighten the workforce about victimisation at work and bolster the implementation of other essential measures.

For complete and versatile work policies concerning victimisation, employers should ensure they are legally compliant and encompass:

  1. A clear definition of what victimisation is
  2. Information about how the workforce can report incidents
  3. Details on how senior staff must investigate complaints, including swift and impartial action
  4. The support in place for those who’ve been victimised
  5. The potential consequences for those who perpetrate the policy
  6. Information about training to help prevent future incidents
  7. Regular reviews and updates to ensure the policy remains compliant with current laws and regulations

Empowering The Workforce – The Benefits of Training Employees

Investing in a complete training programme can go a long way toward stamping out future cases. By equipping managers with the ability to recognise signs of workplace victimisation, they can intervene early, reducing both the frequency and impact of such incidents on affected individuals.

Moreover, training encourages employees to consider the consequences of their actions, fostering greater empathy and understanding within the workforce. This, in turn, promotes greater inclusivity and can substantially decrease instances of victimisation at work.

Build Bridges to Combat Discrimination

Since workplace victimisation stems from discrimination, cultivating an inclusive environment is essential. While training serves as an initial step toward fostering understanding and inclusivity, employers can further enhance these efforts. As such, we contacted industry professionals to gather insights on strengthening this initiative.

We initially spoke with Vit Koval, HR expert and Co-founder at Globy, who began by discussing the transformative power of workplace culture. He said, “If well incorporated, [inclusivity] could enhance the kind of work environment and bring a positive difference in productivity”. 

Jon Morgan, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter, echoed this, adding, “A key ingredient for any successful company… is having a talented and diverse team… it’s not just the right thing to do; it’s smart business”.

Inclusive culture is key to reducing workplace victimisation. 
Employees must feel heard and valued. Furthermore, flexibility must be encouraged to accommodate varied backgrounds. Diversity in the workforce and within leadership is also a must to show everyone is welcome and can succeed.

To achieve this, Mr Morgan set out several elements employers must focus on. Among them was the importance of employers ensuring their staff felt valued. He stated, “We must actively promote an environment where everyone feels respected, heard, and appreciated”. Mr Koval echoes the sentiment and says, “This can be achieved through systems of periodic feedback and building diversified teams where variance in perceptions is well encouraged”.

Samson Dada, media relations strategist at Casumo, highlighted another essential area of focus. He stated that a prospering workplace culture should include “the opportunity to work from home when needed”. Mr Morgan added, “Offering flexible work arrangements… can significantly enhance inclusivity”. He reasoned this was because it accommodates each individual’s circumstances, from caring responsibilities to being a parent.

Finally, Mr Morgan discussed the need for representation in and amongst the workforce, including within leadership. He said, “Representation matters… When employees see people who look like them in positions of influence, it inspires confidence and reinforces the belief that they, too, can rise within the organisation”.

Are Your Workplace Victimisation Strategies Working?

It’s all well and good devising ‘revolutionary ideas’ to combat workplace victimisation, but they pale into insignificance if proven ineffective. As such, it’s crucial employers take steps to measure the effectiveness of their strategies.

READ: Rishi Sunak Vows to End “Sick Note Culture” To Prevent People From Using Benefits as a Lifestyle Choice

An excellent place to start involves assessing whether victimisation at work has fallen. However, two key issues remain. Firstly, even if the steps taken work, they might not be the most effective way of achieving the goal. Secondly, this assessment focuses on the impacts on the overall workforce, failing to consider each employee’s unique experiences.

As such, it’s a good idea to receive regular feedback from the workforce. This provides an opportunity for staff to suggest improvements to existing strategies and voice any grievances they have experienced firsthand.

Our Final Thoughts

Workplace victimisation is a hot topic, and it’s wise for employers to become clued up on the matter. By implementing comprehensive policies and training, promoting an inclusive culture, and actively gathering staff feedback, employers can make the workplace better for everyone.

Yet, if your employer fails to meet their legal obligations and you experience victimisation at work, contact Redmans Solicitors today. They are employment law specialists and could discuss your circumstances before advising on your possible next steps.

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