Inappropriate Behaviour At Work

 In Anti-Bullying, Behaviour, Harassment, HR

What is unacceptable behaviour at work?


In general, unacceptable behaviour can be described as any behaviour that poses a risk to the company or employees’ health or safety. It is normal for employees to behave professionally and treat others with respect and dignity in the workplace. Even though everyone is imperfect and every worker has bad days, it can be detrimental to your company and your employees.

Bullying, harassment, and other unacceptable behaviour in the workplace can be a problem that affects all ages, genders, and races. Employers must take action to ensure that there is an open workplace culture where employees feel safe and comfortable.

Examples of inappropriate behaviour

  • Harassment, bullying and other forms of harassment are still problems at many workplaces. These are behaviours that intimidate and humiliate others. Bullies can use verbal or written aggression against victims, but they may also resort to physical or sexual violence.
  • Demonstrating bias If you are biased towards something , you will tend to be favorable toward it. If you are biased against something, you will tend to think negatively about it. Everyone has their biases, preferences, and prejudices. These can be inappropriate at times if used within the workplace.
  • Oversharing: It is common for coworkers to share details about their personal and professional lives. Problems like sexual behaviour, alcohol abuse, or conflicts with supervisors can be best discussed with friends, family, or a therapist.
  • Gossiping is the sharing of negative information, often false or incomplete, about coworkers or company management, which can cause tension and distrust within a work environment. Gossip can be detrimental to organisational morale.
  • Non-productivity: Employees who are not communicative, miss deadlines frequently, or fail to complete work assigned will eventually harm your business through their inattention and laziness.
  • Aggressive and violent behaviour: This is unacceptable in the workplace. It can also have a negative impact on the culture and the environment in which your workers work. Although stress is common in the workplace, employees should be aware of where to draw the line before resorting to violence or aggression at work. Screaming at colleagues and hitting desks and walls with objects is not acceptable. This can cause property damage and is intimidating to coworkers. It could also be considered bullying.
  • Sexual harassment: Any conduct of a sexual nature which makes someone feel degraded, humiliated, offended, or intimidated is considered sexual harassment. Real-life examples of this can include jokes of a sexual nature, inappropriate comments especially ones based on a colleague’s appearance and inappropriate/unwanted physical contact with a member of staff.

harassing behaviourPrevent inappropriate work behaviour

Workplace behaviour prevention and treatment should be top priorities. You know the old saying, “An ounce prevention is worth a thousand cures.” Here are some tips to help you avoid dealing with bad behaviour within your company.

Hire wisely. Don’t just look at resumes. Get to know your new hires. To get a better understanding of the type of person you are hiring, make sure to check references.
Set up a referral program. Refer friends and former colleagues to your company. It is important to emphasise that all referrals should be good fits for your company’s culture and values.

Onboarding is often overlooked by many companies. Onboarding prepares new hires to their roles and allows you to clarify your expectations about employee behaviour.
Transparency is key. Employees may be more likely to spread rumors and attempt to undermine other employees if the company’s management team is honest and accountable. Insufficient transparency at the top of an organisation’s management can lead to gossip and backbiting. Share information about your business with employees. Be aware of their concerns.

Tips for managing inappropriate behaviour at work

It is expected that employees will act professionally and treat each other with respect and dignity in the workplace. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Preventing workplace disputes is the best way to avoid costly ones. We have provided five tips to manage and prevent inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

  1. Communicate with your employees what is unacceptable behaviour in the workplace.
  2. Create an employee handbook that is comprehensive and distribute it to your employees
  3. If you see signs of misconduct, be proactive
  4. Transparency is key to creating a positive work environment.
  5. Always seek assistance before you act

If you are Applying for a Position: Learn the Rules

It is important to be aware of the rules that govern job roles, including those relating to harassment.

Employers should not ask about your race or gender, marital status, religion, and age. This should be a warning sign that you might not wish to pursue your candidacy at this employer.

Employers should have a clear policy on acceptable behaviour in the workplace. This eliminates any excuses for workers not knowing what is right and wrong. This should be communicated to all employees and repeated often to remind them of what is expected.

There must be a clear procedure for reporting instances of inappropriate behaviour and workplace bullying at all levels, from junior staff to senior managers.


An employer should always strive to create a happy workplace. It is great to see all your employees working together and performing at a high level. Being able to get along with your coworkers is a great way to encourage employees to be successful and make the workplace a better place. Employees should feel free to talk to you about any issues. For assistance with creating Harassment and Workplace Behaviour policies contact our coaching team. If you prefer a tailored training session call our facilitators for a customised training program for your team.

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