A number of sources including UK law firm Shoosmiths have said that cyberbullying claims have “increased substantially” since the onset of COVID-19. With more of us working from home and using online platforms than ever before to connect with colleagues and clients, the blur between home and work life has seen many abandon office etiquettes.
The implications for any business are significant. Not just in terms of court cases and legal fees but also brand and reputation, talent retention and acquisition, and the performance of your employees. Toxic work environments are not good for promoting productivity because they become self-fulfilling negative patterns. If bad behavior is not addressed it becomes ‘acceptable’ or at least tolerated, encouraging others to behave in the same way.
Vault Platform: Your solution for workplace bullying
As you develop a culture that does not tolerate bullying, take steps to publicize diversity and harassment policies and training for all staff on the issue. Vault Platform hosts links to policy and training materials directly within the App.
It can be challenging for employees to speak up and report discrimination they experience or witness. Vault Platform is designed to provide a safe space for employees to report issues either anonymously, in-name, or through the power of strength in numbers (GoTogether) if they don’t want to go it alone.
Third-party harassment is also an issue and employees may experience or witness harassment or discrimination by a customer or visitor. Although the employer might not be liable for race discrimination it is their duty to protect the employee. Vault Platform is designed to allow employees to report incidents related to external parties, not just those within the organization. Vault Platform is designed to enable bystander accountability as well as give case managers and stakeholders real-time visibility of incident reports and progress.
Bullying remains the biggest form of workplace misconduct
In February 2020 Vault Platform polled 1,000 employees in the US and UK and 100% said they had experienced or witnessed some kind of misconduct – including bullying, sexual harassment, or discrimination, during their career.
When asked What type of workplace misconduct did you witness or experience? Bullying was the highest response at 70%.
With changes in the way we work due to social distancing and reduced in-person interaction, we’re seeing the bad aspects of interpersonal communication move online in sync.
Many workers were already heavily reliant on messaging apps such as Slack and Whatsapp and more still engage with each other on social media both professionally and personally. This blurs the boundary between working hours and personal time and sometimes this interaction takes a negative turn.
According to our own research, employees choose not to report misconduct because 51% are worried it would affect their job and 43% feel it would not be taken seriously.
One of the reasons bullying remains a challenge is because it’s not technically illegal. However, it is often closely associated with harassment and discrimination and if a workplace bully is targeting an employee based on a protected class, the bullying may qualify as illegal harassment.
how Vault Platform helps your company address workplace bullying
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A trust platform with
security at the core
Vault Platform’s core application is to facilitate trust between companies and their people and to help to create working environments that are inclusive, diverse, productive and safe. This is why we consider security and data privacy to be critical components of our platform and why both are at the foundation of everything we do.