Bullying and Harassment

Bulling and Harassment - Employment Law Solicitors Dublin

Bullying in the Workplace is completely unacceptable behaviour. Workplaces have in the last number of years become more pressurised for employees simply having to deal with all the normal stresses and strains that their employment presents. However, in cases where a person also has to deal with Bullying, these stresses and strains can lead to anxiety and stress related illness.

Bullying claims arising from employment have become more prevalent in recent years. Nobody should have to live with bullying; and there is a responsibility on employers to look after their employees and ensure that they do not suffer injury during the course of their employment, which includes injuries caused by Bullying in the workplace.

Unfortunately in Ireland, there is no specific legislation in place to cover bullying claims in the workplace. Therefore, these claims will usually take the form of a claim for constructive dismissal under the unfair dismissal legislation or as a personal Injury claim where the bullying complained of has caused the employee to suffer injury, such as, anxiety or stress related disorders.

The Labour Relations Commission, code of practice: “Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Workplace", gives a definition of Workplace bullying as:

Workplace Bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual's right to dignity at work. An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition"

Employers need to be aware that there is a responsibility to protect their employees from being bullied in the Workplace. Obviously employers have a duty not to bully their employees themselves but they also have a duty to actively prevent their employees from being bullied by other people such as other employees, clients or customers.

The duty on employers to protect their employees in this regard can be found in statute, in particular under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005; also under contract there may be an expressed term within a person's contract confirming the employers obligation to an employee to ensure that they are not subjected to bullying in the workplace, however, even in circumstance where such a provision is not expressed within the contract has still been recognised by the court as being an implied term of a person's contract of employment. There is also a simply duty of care on an employer to ensure that their employees do not suffer injury or loss as a result of Bullying in the Workplace.

There is also a clear obligation on employers to ensure that they prepare a risk assessment in respect of their business and this should include a system of managing work place Bullying.

If you would like further information on Bullying in the Work Place whether you're an employer or an employee why not contact us today by phone on 01-679 3539 or via email on info@pposullivan.ie to arrange a consultation.


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