If you have a serial bully among your staff members, they will reveal themselves by their department showing excessive rates of:
· Staff turnover
· Sickness absence
· Stress breakdowns
· Deaths in service
· Early and ill-health retirements
· Uses of disciplinary procedures
· Grievances initiated
· Uses of private security firms to investigate employees
· Litigation including employment tribunals or legal action against employees
When it comes to complaints, not all allegations of bullying require investigation. Where the allegation is not disputed then an investigation of fact is not required however arbitration may be required where there is a different interpretation of the meaning of actions and the justification for them in order to determine which perspective is more correct.
Where there is a distinct difference in what each party says occurred then an independent investigation may be necessary. Independent investigations should fact find, ensuring that where witnesses are interviewed, such interviews, are carried out without leading the witness. Complaints should be dealt with in a confidential manner and as speedily as possible maintaining a fair approach and without reprisals for the complainant.
Natural justice applies and accused persons are presumed innocent until, and if, proven guilty.
Accused persons will find the position they are in embarrassing and difficult and they should be offered some support from the employer throughout the process. Confidentiality, as far as possible, should be safeguarded to preserve reputations throughout the process until a finding has been reached.