Bullying at the Workplace
Employees and Employers have a legal contractual relationship and evidently it should be a professionally based relationship and any bullying in a place of work is unacceptable.
Now it can be common and people accept it more than they should but this post should give you to a baseline level of knowledge on the matter. Employers have health and safety legal obligations regarding their employees.
If you are being bullied at work, we will be happy to help with any questions you may have.
Bullying at the Workplace Definition
Bullying at the workplace is repeated inappropriate behaviour that undermines your right to dignity at work. It can be done by one or more persons and it is aimed at an individual or a group to make them feel inferior to other people. Bullying can be verbal bullying, physical bullying or cyber bullying which is carried out on the internet or mobile phones, through social networking sites, email and texts. It can take many different forms such as:
- Social exclusion and isolation;
- Damaging someones reputation by gossip or rumours;
- Aggressive or obscene language;
- Repeated requests with impossible tasks or targets etc.
In 2005 the Expert Advisory Group on Workplace Bullying reported that bullying is an increasing problem in the workplace. A survey on bullying was carried out as recommended by the Group and Bullying in the Workplace, Survey Reports 2007 was published. In many European countries the term ‘mobbing’ is used instead of bullying to describe this type of hostile behaviour in the workplace.
The Employment Equality Acts place an obligation on all employers in Ireland to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Bullying which is not linked to one of the discriminatory grounds in the Equality Act is not covered by the Employment Equality Acts.
The Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work aims to give practical guidance to employers, and employees on how to prevent sexual harassment and harassment at work and how to put procedures in place to deal with it.
Health and safety at work – Bullying at the Workplace Employer Responsibilities
Bullying in the workplace can affect both the safety and the health of employees. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their employees in the workplace.
Under section 8 of the Act your employer is required to ‘’prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk”. Your duty as an employee is not to engage in improper behaviour which would endanger the health, safety and welfare of yourself or the other employees.
The Health and Safety Authority works to ensure that workplace bullying is not tolerated and that employers have procedures for dealing with bullying at work. It provides information and advice on bullying and is responsible for the Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work. This Code sets out guidance notes for employees, employers and trade unions on dealing with bullying in the workplace.
Your employer must take reasonable steps to prevent bullying in the workplace. There should be an anti-bullying policy and established procedures for dealing with complaints of bullying in the workplace. Your employer should deal with such complaints immediately. The Labour Relations Commission has published a Code of Practice detailing Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Workplace.
How to Apply
You should begin by making it very clear to the person concerned that you find his or her behaviour unacceptable and undermining. If this informal approach is not enough to resolve the issue and in situations where the bullying continues, you may need to consider making a formal complaint. You should report the bullying to a manager. Your employer’s policy on bullying should clearly set out what will happen when a formal complaint is made, how the complaint will be investigated and who will carry out the investigation, taking into account issues of confidentiality and the rights of both parties.
If you feel that your complaint about bullying has not been dealt with properly by your employer, one of the following options may also be available to you:
Employment equality: If you are being bullied in relation to one of the 9 grounds for discrimination, you can bring your case to the Equality Tribunal. You can make a complaint under the Employment Equality Acts.
Health and safety: If your workplace does not have an adequate bullying policy you can make a formal complaint about this to the Workplace Contact Unit of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
If you feel you are being bullied you can make a complaint about your rights under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act to the Workplace Relations Commission.
Unfair dismissal: If the bullying becomes unbearable and you are forced to leave your job, you may be entitled to claim constructive dismissal under the Unfair Dismissals Acts. This means that although you left your job voluntarily, in reality, you were forced to do so because of the way that you were being treated.
Time limits: complaints under the Employment Equality Acts and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act must be brought within 6 months of the contravention of the legislation to which the complaint relates. This time limit can be increased to 12 months if a “reasonable cause” for the delay can be shown.
Disclaimer – Bullying at the Workplace Article
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad outline of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.
Bullying at Work Ireland & Definition
Bullying at the workplace is repeated inappropriate behaviour that undermines your right to dignity at work. It can be done by one or more persons and it is aimed at an individual or a group to make them feel inferior to other people. Bullying can be verbal bullying, physical bullying or cyberbullying which is carried out on the internet or mobile phones, through social networking sites, email and texts. It can take many different forms such as:
- Social exclusion and isolation;
- Damaging someone’s reputation by gossip or rumours;
- Aggressive or obscene language;
- Repeated requests with impossible tasks or targets etc.
In 2005 the Expert Advisory Group on Workplace Bullying reported that bullying is an increasing problem in the workplace. A survey on bullying was carried out as recommended by the Group, and Bullying in the Workplace Survey Reports 2007 was published. In many European countries, the term ‘mobbing’ is used instead of bullying to describe this type of hostile behaviour in the workplace.
Bullying at Work Employer Responsibilities
The 2005 Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act is the main legislation on workplace safety and health. It applies to all employers, employees, and sole proprietors. This law outlaws the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees at work in terms of health and safety law. Employers also have common law duty obligations to take reasonable care for their employees safe at work.
Under Section 8 of the act, employers are responsible for ensuring employees safety, health, and welfare at work to the reasonably practicable limit. If any employee should suffer physical injury or mental injury because of the negligence of the employer, an employee is entitled to seek a legal remedy, such as a personal injury claim* for bullying at work.
Duty of Care
Firstly, when assessing a case, it is necessary to evaluate if a legal duty of care was owed between the parties. In an industrial deafness claim* an employer will owe an employee a duty of care.
Employers must take reasonable care to avoid acts/ommissions one could foresee that would likely injure the employee.
Negligence consists of the failure of an employer to reasonably fulfil their duties to employees and the employee suffers as a result. Employers have obligations regarding employee safety, and the employee also has a responsibility regarding their safety & wellbeing.
Employers found liable for negligence will face legal consequences for the injury sustained by the employee.
Personal Injury* Claim Bullying at Work Legal Remedy
If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, and as an injured party, you will have a right to initiate legal action. Here is more information about the personal injury claims* process.
Personal Injury Claim* Bullying at Work Time Limits
There is a limit regarding how long an injured person has to initiate a legal personal injury* claim legal action. This limit is pursuant to the statute of limitations act and if surpassed, it can cause your claim to be what’s termed as statute-barred from the court. One has two years from the date of the incident to initiate the legal action, and there is a separate statute of limitation period rule for assault.
Employment Law Articles
- Employment Law Ireland
- Unfair Dismissal Ireland 2024
- Protected Disclosures
- Constructive Dismissal Ireland
- Redundancy Ireland
- Bullying at the Workplace
- Workplace Harassment
- Discrimination at the Workplace
- Disciplinary Meetings & Fairness
- Deduction from Wages – Employment Law
- Dyslexia Discrimination at the Workplace
- Disability Discrimination at the Workplace
- Discrimination – Interview Process
- Disciplinary Procedure & Unfair Dismissal
- Workplace Investigations Ireland
- Age Discrimination in the Workplace
- Redundancy & Maternity Leave
- Redundancy Ireland Guide
- Redundancy Calculator Ireland
- Selection Criteria for Redundancy & Performance
- Selection Criteria for Redundancy & Genuine Consultation
- Redundancy & Temporary Lay-Offs
- Unfair Selection for Redundancy
- Redundancy & Consultations
- Redundancy Selection – Alternative Options
- Redundancy Claim Defence – Redeployment
- Retirement Ages & Discrimination
- Sick Leave & Covid-19
- Sick Pay Leave Bill
- Sick Leave & Dismissal
- Sick Pay Entitlement
- Gross Misconduct & Dismissal
- Health & Safety Unfair Dismissal
- Annual Leave Entitlement
- Calculating Loss in Unfair Dismissal Claims
- Unfair Dismissal Ireland – Probation
- Disability Discrimination Ireland
- Unfair Dismissal Claim – Employee Duty to Mitigate Loss
- Employee Verbal Warning Appeal
- Employer Delays Bullying Investigation
- Epilepsy Discrimination at the Workplace
- Disciplinary Meetings – Employment Law
- Filling out Workplace Relations Complaint Form
- Fixed-Term Employee & Pregnancy Dismissal
- Fixing Retirement Ages
- Statutory Break Entitlements
- Redundancy Selection in Ireland
- Redundancy Selection Criteria Matrix
- Time Limits – Cases
- Student Discrimination
- Severance Agreements & Tax Advice
- Terms of Employment 5 Day Rule
- Text Message & Disciplinary Meetings
- Transfer of Undertaking
- Unfair Dismissal Claim- Dismissal in Dispute
- Compensation for Unfair Dismissal
- Unfair Dismissal Claim & CCTV
- Workplace Statutory Rest Periods
- Gardai & Employment Disputes
- Gender Dismissal Discrimination
- Grievance Procedures & Constructive Dismissal
- Guide for Employees in Redundancy Selection Process
- Maternity Leave & Salary
- New Postponement Guidelines WRC
- Legal Representation at Disciplinary Hearings
- Part-Time Workers
- Plumbers & Pipefitters
- Pre-emptory Dismissal
- Pregnancy related Discrimination
- Pregnancy related Unfair Dismissal
- Proving Fairness in Unfair Dismissal Actions
- Race Discrimination in the Workplace
- Red Circling Defence
- Workplace Relations Commission
- Employment Notice Periods
- 3 Ingredients to Prove Workplace Victimization
- Christmas Bonus for Employees
- Covid-19 Force Majeure Leave
- Redundancy Ireland & Covid-19
- Defence to Disability Discrimination Claim Ireland
- Workplace Discrimination – Gender & Family Status ground
- Discrimination on a Licensed Premises
- Discrimination in Schools
- Employers Guide to Defending Unfair Dismissal Ireland
- Workplace Whistleblowing Policy
- Temporary Lay-Off & Covid 19
- Temporary Lay-off & Non-Payment of Wages
- Severance Agreement & Legal Advice
- Unfair Dismissal Claim – Mitigating Loss
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We help people injured due to negligence* attain restitution to their pre-accident position, as much as is possible, for the pain, suffering & financial loss, by seeking damages from the negligent party on their behalf.