By Patricia Kotze Sr.
VP of Commercial & Government Services, contributing writer 

Bystander Intervention


April 15, 2023

This column will take a look at the upcoming Bystander Intervention requirement for management and employees in the workplace. Recently, on The Morning Show's Hiring to Firing podcast, Bystander Responsibility in the Era of #MeToo was the featured topic.

The history of the bystander effect goes back to 1968 involving John M. Darley and Bibb Latane, both psychologists who were interested in the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 New York City. Years later, bystander intervention became a training model in secondary higher education to assist in preventing sexual harassment, assault, rape and many other forms of discrimination and inappropriate comments.

According to Wikipedia, a "bystander is a person at an event who notices a problematic situation with sexual advances on a drunk person" and intervenes personally, taking on that responsibility. Hopefully, the intervention is before a horrific act takes place or escalates.

Bystander intervention in the workplace is becoming more prevalent in harassment training, making all employees aware of their responsibility to use available options such as distracting, directly addressing those involved or delegating the responsibility to another staff member to get help for the victim. Obviously, outside in our community, calling 911 is always the first option. But we can always react first and call after, depending on how serious the situation is and if we can get the help of others who may be present.

Unfortunately, in the workplace, many employees do not want to become involved in situations involving harassment, bullying or discriminatory acts because of the fear of retaliation, being a "snitch" or ignoring a violation of policy. We need to educate and make employees aware of their responsibility to help co-workers in need of support when they are a victim of another's aggression.

Bystander intervention may someday become a law or a requirement for employers to include in their training library.

Compliance Training Group has this topic available today. We encourage you to start this training now and get ahead of the curve. This training can assist in further prevention of incidents in our communities and neighborhoods.

Visit our website for more information at or call (800) 591-9741. Remember, "where there is knowledge, there is power."


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