Incivility and bullying in the workplace are a common problem for Connecticut employers.
And they’re not alone.
In a 2016 survey conducted by the firm Weber Shandwick, 30% of managers reported they had fired or threatened to fire someone due to incivility, with approximately 25% of employees saying they left a job due to a hostile workplace.
According to this same study: just under 90% of workers report that workplace incivility has an impact on work performance, including in the following ways:
- 55% of respondents said their morale suffered.
- 45% wanted to quit.
- 38% felt anger toward co-workers or the employer.
- 36% noticed a reduction in the quality of their work.
- 33% discouraged others from working at the company.
- 32% experienced a negative effect on their personal time.
- 26% felt less creative.
- 23% regularly called in sick.
Findings from a 2017 survey by an organization called the Workplace Bullying Institute found the following:
- 19% of U.S. workers are bullied consistently, and another 19% have seen bullying take place.
- 61% of U.S. workers have seen or are aware of abusive behavior in the workplace.
- 70% of perpetrators of abusive behavior are men
- Women are targets of abusive behavior 605 of the time.
- 61% of bullies are managers, and the majority (63%) operate alone.
- 40% of bullied targets report adverse health effects.
- To make the bullying stop, 65% of the targets of abuse leave their jobs.
Put simply – incivility, including bullying, is bad for a company’s bottom line.
So, what’s an employer to do?
Here are five steps we recommend:
- Train your managers and employees well so that they understand the kind of conduct you expect in your workplace.
- Make sure you keep your ear to the ground – listening for signs of disruptive and abusive behavior.
- Make sure you and/or your managers provide honest feedback to employees whose behavior is unacceptable. And remember to critique the behavior without attacking the personality of the employee in question.
- Document, document, document – and be sure to follow all established disciplinary procedures. All too often, employers warn but fail to document bad behavior. To do so is to invite legal headaches down the line.
- Follow up with the employee in question. Don’t assume one conversation takes care of a problem. Always follow up and monitor.
Remember, an employee may be terminated “at-will” for any lawful reason at any time. Typically, for performance related issues, termination should only occur if progressive discipline has failed to correct the problem. When the issue involves more significant violations of company policy or acts of willful misconduct (even if first time offenses), progressive discipline may not be warranted.
If you are an employer in Connecticut and have questions about disciplining or terminating an employee, contact the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale. Each of us has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of employment and labor law and can help you with this complicated topic. Please call us if we can help you.
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