Workplace restorative justice


An alternative approach to dealing with misbehaviour in the workplace is restorative justice. Restorative justice considers the impact of misbehaviour within the context of the workers’ relationships to one another and their communities, as opposed to viewing it as a violation of policy.

Some people think restorative justice is an ineffective, flimsy way to deal with wrongdoing. But how frequently are the effects of inappropriate behaviour addressed? Workers are still attempting to make sense of the situation and how it may impact their day-to-day job and position within the company. Punitive action does satisfy a demand for justice, but it rarely helps the victim rebuild or feel safe again.

When misbehaviour occurs at work, official procedures and restorative methods and objectives aren’t usually used in tandem. Nonetheless, businesses can still address the victim’s psychological well-being, personal safety and the effect on the organisation as a whole while simultaneously establishing formal accountability for the offender’s action.


Companies do have a duty to (1) look into the majority of misconduct claims and (2) keep their workers safe. If the employer is aware of the harassment occurring, they may also be charged in addition to the harasser. Employers must establish rules that forbid any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination in order to reduce their risk. Once their legal obligations have been met, they will still need to deal with the incident’s fallout. Following the completion of punishment, a business is still accountable for the victim’s health and safety.

Retaining staff members, encouraging a positive workplace culture and, eventually, boosting productivity can all be achieved by addressing the infraction through a restorative approach. In many cases, the victim’s right to speak up about the violation is disregarded, which can cause disengagement, retaliation, rage, sabotage and even an escalation of the conflict. More significantly, a victim’s mental health and safety are not addressed by the business, which damages employee trust.

In the reparation process, the victim is given more attention than an organisation’s obligations or the offender. It starts by recognising the harm caused and going over possible remedies. In a collaborative problem-solving exercise, participants put the victim’s needs first. As a result, there will either be a written, verbal or combined apology as well as, if appropriate, forgiveness. The reparation procedure should not be viewed as a punishment but rather as a chance to correct mistakes and undo harm. In an ideal world, the offender would be optimistic about repairing their reputations, as this would encourage positivity and increase inclusivity for everybody.


If forgiveness is the desired outcome, it does not entail endorsing or justifying the wrongdoer’s conduct but, rather, distancing the wrongdoing from the offender. According to the dictionary, forgiveness is “the release of wrath, revenge or resentment toward someone for an offense, shortcoming or error, and the liberation from anger related with the harm to one’s self or self-image”.

The improved bond between teams is a side effect of restorative approaches in HR. An understanding between them might grow through open dialogues with skilled facilitators. They jointly resolve to practice accountability as they move forward with this new level of knowledge. Working together, the teams establish standards and goals for themselves.

Businesses now have a chance to ask the proper questions as they examine their alternatives for restorative procedures and reconsider how they respond to bullying, harassment or discrimination at work: Who and how did the victim suffer harm?; What does the victim require?; Who is accountable for the needs of the victim?

Building stronger, more compassionate and more motivated employees’ benefits from a clearer focus on the victim and their needs important. As such, organisations can foster a culture of respect for one another, give leaders opportunities and instill ethical behaviour among all of their staff members by implementing restorative HR practices.

The instant a person feels heard, healing begins.

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