PROTECTING your EMPLOYEES from bullying and harassment in your nursery is IMPORTANT
Bullying and harassment can happen to ANYONE. You need to protect your staff so that they can protect your children.
When we talk about bullying or harassment we automatically think of children in the playground being picked on. I can remember it now, one child being singled out whilst others cruelly taunted them, no one daring to intervene in case the bully turned on them. More recently I have seen a you-tube video showing a teenage girl swearing, kicking and punching another girl (in the foetal position) whilst others looked on laughing – cruel, unnecessary and absolutely disgusting in my opinion!
I spoke to some 11 year olds about what they had learnt during anti-bullying week. They told me the following:-
‘STOP – Start Telling Other People’
‘STOP – Several Times on Purpose’
‘Bullying is mean’
“It can be emotional, racial, sexual’
‘Never bully you will regret it, never fear Ava and Harry are here’
The bottom line is these 11 year old children have recognised bullying is wrong, they also told me that bullying can happen to anyone. Wise words from children, I am constantly asking myself ‘why do some children and adults not get this’?
I have dealt with numerous bullying and harassment cases during my career and have seen how devastating bullying can be. Everyone involved is affected in some way – obviously the individual bullied, peers, managers, family and the bully.
One particular case I managed involved a disabled man, who was suspended from work pending a gross misconduct allegation. This was thoroughly investigated and the results were alarming. As the events of the last few weeks were pieced together evidence suggested that the individual was not at fault, the incident had been engineered in a bid to get the employee dismissed.
In brief it was found that the team leader ostracised him from his peers and a catalogue of petty events took place resulting in the employees suspension. Without the proper procedures in place this could have ended very differently.
So have you learnt anything from Anti Bullying Week? Are you clear on how to manage bullying and harassment in your nursery? Will anything change as a result for you and your nursery? – A few questions for you to ponder.
Do you have bullying and harassment policies and procedures in place to protect both your employees and children from the effects of bullying?
Would you know how to recognise bullying and harassment in your nursery? This may sound patronising but the definition of bullying and harassment means you can be badged as a bully if you stand by and let an act of bullying happen. Acting in ignorance is not a form of defence should this reach a tribunal. It is well worth reminding yourself of the definition and ensuring that both your HR documentation reflects this and your employees are educated. Remember the aim is to eradicate bullying and harassment in your nursery completely.
The Equality Act 2010 defines harassment as ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating and intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.
Bullying is not specifically defined in law but Acas gives the following definition: ’Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient’
As a Nursery Manager, Team Leader or Owner then you are responsible for the health and safety of your employees whilst they are at work, this includes ensuring that any behaviour that could be viewed as bullying is dealt with swiftly. The Staff Behavioural policies referred to in the new Safeguarding guidelines should be in place to deal with this and there will be a process for you to follow.
The Nursery HR People write easy to follow policies and procedures specific to bullying and harassment in your nursery.
To demonstrate you are committed to children and employee welfare in your nursery, ensure you have policies to reflect this. As a minimum your employees should have a copy and receive relevant training allowing them to recognise and deal with potential bullying or harassment situations before they get out of control.
If you have a current issue that you would like guidance on, then we would be happy to advise you.
I hope you have found this blog useful, I would as always be happy to hear your feedback
Keep it Simple -Stay Kind and remember STOP
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