Is workplace bullying and harassment on the increase, or is it that confidence in raising issues, and the protection afforded under equalities laws, are more recognised?
Our employment law department at THSP Risk Management are certainly seeing an increase in cases relating to this difficult topic.
There is no clear definition of what constitutes bullying or harassment; it is entirely down to the impact it has on the receiver at the time it occurs. As personal perceptions can be affected adversely by a range of changing personal factors that impact on our lives each and every day, then bullying or harassment can be alleged to have happened at any time.
What does this mean for employers? Why should they be concerned about what is said or done at work?
Not only does bullying and harassment have a profound and significant effect on the health and wellbeing of those affected, but also creates a toxic culture whereby recruitment and retention is poor, and sickness absence is high. This all affects productivity and profits. Coupled with this is an increase in employment tribunal claims from aggrieved workers seeking damages for the hardship experienced within their employment. Every employer has a legal and moral duty to ensure bullying and harassment doesn’t happen ‘on their watch’.
Having said all of that, banter has such a strong role to play in every workplace and should never be lost… but it can be such a fine line between constructive banter and demoralising harassment.
As there is a lot to consider, such as the legal differences between bullying and harassment, the Equality laws that surround this difficult subject coupled with the duties employers have to protect their workforces, so I have decided now is a good time to set a date for my next webinar:
Bullying and Harassment: A Guide for Employers
When? 22 September @ 10:30am
Sign up here.
In the meantime, if you feel the need for advice on this or any other HR or employment law matter then call our team of Lawyers on 03456 122 144.
Employment Law Consultant Director