How HR Can Prevent Employees From Trolling Others Online

3 min read

Must read

Empowered Decision-Making for Purchasing HR Technology

Things are moving so rapidly in the ever-expanding HCM market that the focus of HR technology is not merely on core HR solutions alone,...

The Rise of the Hybrid Workplace

Top changes employers must make as they rise to the hybrid workplace.

Unleashing the Value of MRI’s International Community in a 3-Way Split

This white paper highlights a 3-way split between Chicago, Manchester, and Kuala Lampur offices. Connect with MRI Network today.

Information Security and Records Management Best Practices for a Remote Workforce

Businesses must train their workforce on information security and records management best practices. This Iron Mountain Guide can help you.
Suraj is a passionate blogger who writes for a global audience. His writings can be inspired from a myriad of topics to anything distinguishable that keeps a reader hooked. He has written for many websites and also been showcased as a guest author. Suraj lives in India right now.

With the office gone virtual, employee trolling and harassment has too. 

44% of US professionals complain of experiencing online abuse. The growth in social media and internet have also triggered trolls and mudslingers who misuse them to harass coworkers and even others. And the most infamous “zoombombing,” where hackers gatecrash ongoing video meetings and share explicit content, is a whole new level of challenge.

An employee subject to abuse can display high levels of frustration, which may eventually impact their performance at work. A prolonged period of abuse can even affect their mental and physical health. 

As an employer, you have a responsibility towards the welfare of your employees. The law holds employers accountable if employees suffer abuse at work, especially if the abuser is a colleague or anyone working in the same company. 

In another context, an employer may still be held accountable if the an employee is abused by someone who doesn’t belong to the company.

Harassment and cyberbullying crimes include stalking, hate crimes, provoking, threatening, annoying, and any other actions that may cause emotional or physical distress.

When a – mental or physical – harm is done and the troll is revealed as a part of your workforce, it can have repercussions. Additionally, there will be reputational issues, since every employee is considered a brand ambassador of your organization. 

What the law states 

The US Federal Government laws force a person convicted of stalking or online harassment to face a prison sentence of 5 years, or a fine of $250,000, or both. In case of death or physical injury to the person, the convict may receive a life sentence too. 

According to the UK Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the abuser could be handed a brief prison sentence, or a fine of £5,000, or both. This punishment might also get extended to the employer if it is found that they failed to take the correct measures or disciplines to prevent the mishap from occurring.

Equality and Human Rights Commission instructs that employers are, 

legally responsible for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimization carried out by employees in the course of employment.”

Now that you have completely understood the scenario, let’s look at some ways you can act on as an HR to prevent these vulnerable situations from taking place.

ALSO READ: 4 Ways HR Leaders Can Help Remotely Working Women

Take these key steps to prevent employee trolling

You might have a policy in place, and the necessary guidelines as well, but here are some other necessary actionable items.

#1. Investigate the matter

Instead of taking such matters lightly, spend some time thinking and investigation about it. Find the necessary evidence related to the case, such as, which social media channel or internet medium was used to harass, was the target trolled using a fake account, etc.

#2. Address the matter case-by-case

You don’t need to expel the employee or treat every employee the same way, if the harm was not too major. 

An unintended comment can be perceived as rude also, but such cases will be better dealt with if you give the employee a formal warning. 

In another case where the trolling was violent or aggressive, you must consult a lawyer and take rightful guidance.

It is important to understand between cases that require serious actions and cases that can be managed internally. 

#3. Follow a structured procedure

Take a step-by-step approach and give every involved person the opportunity to express and explain. Understand if there is literally a need to involve the government, because such actions will have a direct impact on your company’s years of hard-built reputation.

Online harassment is a serious offense, and both the employee and employer can face legal consequences. It is highly important that you take necessary steps to prevent employees from trolling or even get trolled during their tenure.


More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article

How to Develop an Effective Hybrid Workforce?

The post-pandemic office is leaning strongly in the direction of hybrid workforce.  The way we work has changed dramatically in the past year. The days...

Working Remotely In A Post-COVID-19 Era

Working remotely has increasingly gained popularity as a mode of conducting business since the global COVID-19 outbreak. Since March 2020, several businesses have migrated to remote working.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition across the globe has been majorly impacted by COVID-19. While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world economy, hiring still seems to be a key priority for several companies.

How to Make the Right Career Decision?

Feeling stuck? Unable to figure out what job might suit you the best? Read on to explore the 3 key considerations to make the right career decision.

How to Use ‘Johari Window’ to Nurture Talents?

Looking for ways to develop and nurture talents in your organization? Explore how the Johari window tool can help you on this journey.