The Bullying and Respect at Work Bill recognises that legislation is needed to protect individuals whilst also empowering employers to challenge and bring about positive change in the workplace.
“As it stands, there is no legal definition of “bullying” at work which means there are few protections for those who are harmed.
“Under the current legislative framework, individuals experiencing bullying at work have to rely on a claim for constructive unfair dismissal following resigning from work, or a harassment claim if they can link the treatment they have received to a protected characteristic.
“The new Bullying and Respect at Work Bill aims to break the cycle of workplace bullying. It seeks to call to account those who abuse their power, while protecting others and providing much-needed clarity around a very pertinent workplace issue.
“The Bill would not just help people at work, but would help employers too. The TUC reports that bullying is the second biggest workplace issue, and according to the Health and Safety Executive, as many as 17 million working days are lost each year due to work-related negative behaviour, such as bullying.
“The Bill would seek to provide:
- A statutory definition of bullying at work, encompassing both a subjecting and objective test.
- A specific provision relating to bullying at work which allows claims to be brought for/relating to workplace bullying without the need for an individual to have a protected characteristic.
- The introduction of a Respect at Work Code, which sets minimum standards for positive and respectful working environments.
- Powers to be given to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to investigate workplaces and organisations where there is evidence of a culture of, or multiple incidences of, bullying; as well as the power to take enforcement action.
- An extension of the ACAS Code of Practice to place an obligation on employers to promote positive workplace behaviours.
“Whilst many workplaces have policies, the steps that individuals can take to protect themselves are very limited owing to the fact that bullying is not a legal concept and there is no legal route to bring a “bullying” claim. The introduction of this Bill recognises that legislation is needed to protect individuals whilst also empowering employers to challenge and bring about positive change in the workplace.”
If you need support or have questions related to the new Bullying and Respect at Work Bill, get in contact with our experienced employment team today.