Abusive Conduct, Anti-Bullying, and Retaliation Policy for All Employees

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Organization Name (EMPLOYER): ____________________

Policy Name: Abusive Conduct, Anti-Bullying, and Retaliation
Reference(s): (Cite specific State law if applicable)
Approved Date: __________
Effective Date: ___________

Policy Purpose

This policy is designed to notify all employees, including supervisory employees, of their rights and responsibilities regarding abusive conduct, also known as bullying, and retaliation in our workplace. (EMPLOYER) believes that abusive conduct interferes with our employees’ ability to do their jobs. Furthermore, it negatively impacts morale and the integrity of our entire workplace.

This policy defines “abusive conduct” and explains how to report abusive conduct and retaliation. It sets forth the potential consequences for engaging in abusive conduct and retaliation, and includes strategies for prevention. All questions or concerns about this policy should be directed to supervisory employees or Human Resources (HR).

(EMPLOYER) intends for this policy to fully comply with any and all applicable laws.

Definition of Abusive Conduct
“Abusive conduct” means the intentional conduct in the workplace of an employer or employee, unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests, that a reasonable person would find hostile or offensive. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets; verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; bullying; or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless it is especially severe and egregious.

Victims of abusive conduct may be targets or observers of the offensive conduct. It is irrelevant whether or not the offender intended his/her conduct to be abusive.
Examples of Abusive Conduct
Abusive conduct can take many forms. The examples listed below may constitute abusive conduct, but these examples are not exhaustive.

Examples of “abusive conduct” include:

  • Verbal Abuse: Slandering, ridiculing, gossiping, or maligning someone against others; persistent name calling which is hurtful, insulting, or embarrassing; yelling, screaming, or cursing; chronic teasing, belittlement, bullying, or frequent criticism that undermines the victim’s ability to perform his/her job.
  • Nonverbal and Visual Abuse: Threatening gestures, actions, or glances; shunning, excluding, or disregarding a person; offensive depictions of another through a visual medium such as a drawing or doctored photograph; mimicking another in an offensive manner; objects or clothing that contain offensive language or other depictions.
  • Physical Abuse: Pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking, tripping, bullying, or purposely impeding another’s path; battering or threatening physical harm; damaging another’s work area or property.
  • Cyber Abuse: Tormenting, threatening, harassing, embarrassing, cyber-bullying, or otherwise targeting another using social media,email, instant messaging, text messaging, or any other type of digital technology.
  • Workplace Interference: Sabotaging another’s work; deliberately tampering with a person’s work area or property; assigning menial tasks outside of a person’s normal job duties.
Reporting Abusive Conduct
Anyone with knowledge of abusive conduct in the workplace has a right to notify (EMPLOYER) and formally complain. This is true whether or not the knowledge came firsthand. Report abusive conduct to any supervisory employee in your chain of command or HR. If the conduct immediately threatens safety, contact the police.


(EMPLOYER) prohibits anyone from retaliating against those who report, resist, or speak out against abusive conduct. (EMPLOYER) further prohibits retaliation against anyone who participates in an investigation regarding abusive conduct, or who supports others in their efforts to report, resist, or speak out against this kind of behavior. Additionally, (EMPLOYER) prohibits retaliation against anyone connected to an investigation participant, or anyone connected to those who report, resist, or speak out against abusive conduct. For instance, (EMPLOYER) will not tolerate retaliation against a member of a complainant’s family. Anyone with knowledge of retaliation has a right to notify (EMPLOYER) and formally complain. This is true whether or not the knowledge came firsthand and whether or not the offender was an employee or a third party connected to the workplace.

Responsibilities of Supervisory Employees

All supervisory employees who learn of abusive conduct or retaliation must document their knowledge of the behavior and immediately notify a superior or HR. Furthermore, supervisory employees must take all reasonable steps to stop the behavior and protect the victim. These requirements are in effect whether or not the supervisory employee gained the knowledge firsthand.

Investigations and Consequences for Violating this Policy

(EMPLOYER) will fully investigate all instances of abusive conduct and retaliation. (EMPLOYER) will make all reasonable efforts to keep investigations confidential and remind all investigation participants that (EMPLOYER) does not tolerate retaliation.
(EMPLOYER) may discipline anyone who engages in or encourages abusive conduct. (EMPLOYER) may discipline anyone who engages in or encourages retaliation. Discipline may include verbal, written, or other action up to and including termination from employment.

Prevention and (EMPLOYER’S) Commitment Against Abusive Conduct, Bullying and Retaliation

(EMPLOYER) is committed to preventing abusive conduct and retaliation. As part of that commitment, (EMPLOYER) will train all supervisory employees on abusive conduct within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position or duties. (EMPLOYER) will retrain each supervisory employee on abusive conduct no less than once every two years. The training will teach supervisory employees how to identify, prevent, and stop abusive conduct and retaliation. It will also instruct supervisory employees on how to protect victims.

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