There can be a misconception that bad behaviour at work is easy to spot, but very often mistreatment can be gradual, subtle and insidious.

It can be difficult to pin point a stand out example which is why so often bad behaviour slips under the radar, leaving you with that niggling, uncomfortable feeling that something is ‘off’. If you sense that something just isn’t right about a colleague (or manager’s) behaviour, below are some behaviours to watch out for;

  • Bullying: this one might sound obvious, but undermining and humiliating another person can take many subtle forms. Jokes can all too easily be written off as ‘banter’ but if these jokes consistently seem to target an individual or group, it’s likely causing more damage than meets the eye.
  • Harassment: with the #MeToo movement now firmly embedded in our landscape, there is awareness that harassment, in particular sexual harassment, can manifest in every day, mundane ways. Such behaviour could be as subtle as a creeping invasion of personal space.
  • Substance abuse: at work this poses a risk to the individual and everyone around them. It can be identified by unusual changes in a person’s judgment, alertness, perception, performance and emotional state. They may even have confided in you or offered you some drugs.
  • Violence: intimidation, pushing, anger-related incidents and disregarding the health & safety for others can all be warning signs of violent behaviour.
  • Disregard of company rules: reoccurring lateness, theft, disregard for company property should all be reported to management to avoid a toxic culture developing.

Inappropriate behaviour can manifest in many different ways, from the unprofessional to the criminal. Sometimes it’s not covered by Whistleblowing protection legislation, but might be covered in other legislation or company policies. Sometimes it’s plain as day, but very often it’s not. Whether its behaviour directed at you, the company or someone you know, we urge you to trust your gut, check the list and call it out. If you think there is a more serious issue that might be covered by Whistleblowing check out our article here.

If you are dealing with inappropriate behaviour at work and not sure where to turn chat with one of our HR and employment law experts today and get specific advice today.

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