Trainee solicitor Ciara Jenkins highlights the continuing claims of bullying in businesses and refers to a couple of recently reported articles. It is a sad but true fact that, unfortunately, employees continue to be bullied and harassed in the workplace despite many employers adopting anti-bullying, harassment and discrimination policies at work as well as employment legislation being put in place to provide protection to employees.
If complaints of bullying are not handled correctly, they can often lead to employees or former employees bringing claims of constructive dismissal, discrimination and/or harassment, resulting in hefty sums of compensation being payable should the employee be successful. By way of example, it was reported at the end of last year that Deal Town Council settled allegations of bullying from former town clerk, giving her £45,000. Councillors have since been asked to attend a course, organised by ACAS, to learn how to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace. Bullying is a difficult subject to tackle in any context, whether it be in the workplace or via social media.
It can be a particularly sensitive area for an employer to address when it involves senior members of staff or managers, however, it is important that employers do not bury their head in the sand as it appears the BBC did following the findings of their Respect at Work report published in May last year which highlighted a problem of known bullies.
The editor of Radio 1’s Newsbeat has only recently been moved from his post following multiple complaints from staff about alleged bullying. The disciplinary process is understood to have lasted for more than a year. As such, it is important for employers to tread carefully and ensure that staff feel comfortable in their working environment and are able to pursue any grievances through the correct channels. With organisations such as ACAS only providing guidance to employers it can be difficult to determine how best to deal with a complaint of bulling and/or harassment, but our specialist team at Ralli can help guide you through this process. If you have any queries,
please do not hesitate to contact our employment department on 0161 832 6131 for further advice.