It will happen, without action by organisations themselves eventually, targets will breach their NDAs to expose the bullies just has happened with Weinstein there will be the same domino effected and the same costs!
The failures to tackle abusive behaviour, in the workplace are usually a combination of management and HR. These 2 categories are often the first to be targeted by a perpetrator, who will want to make sure HR (often junior to the perpetrator) and their manager will back them. I’ll lay odds that HR were terrified of Weinstein! However often it’s subtler – perpetrators can be charming when necessary.
A common example of how a perpetrator grooms their management is a head of a department, who is not good at one aspect of their job. Their deputy, if a bully or harasser, will make it their business to take over that part of their manager’s job. Then you have a reliant, groomed, manager whose loyalty to the perpetrator can outweigh the effective management of a whole department, even the whole organisation if perpetrators are promoted high enough. Unpicking such situations is time-consuming and expensive as targets leave and perpetrators are paid off.
Look no further than the BBC’s Panorama scandal, staff who complained about the issues and were silenced. It seems that loyalty to Panorama was seen as more important than loyalty to the BBC. I am NOT BBC bashing here, be it the BBC, voluntary sector, NHS, or even the Church of England all have had scandals because staff raising concerns were silenced. Bullies and harassers look for 3 things from an employer – Status, Power, and Opportunity so employers like the BBC are magnets for them.
There are simple alternatives, all organisations have to do is
- Have clear policies in place with examples of what is and is not acceptable behaviour and make clear any employee who can’t or won’t manage their own behaviour will lose their job.
- Make clear witnesses to abusive behaviour should raise their concerns.
- Have bully-proofing webinars and workshops to empower their workforce to DO THE RIGHT THING.
I will post as to why the 3 points above protect EVERYONE