Legislation

legal options if you've suffered bullying at work

Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from harm and receive support from their employer in the event that there are issues of workplace bullying.


There are two different areas of law which cover bullying issues and the safety of employees whilst at work:

  • Employment law

  • Civil law

We are extremely grateful to Oakwood Solicitors who have kindly produced this flyer for us to explain the different approaches, available free of charge to download.

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Overview of Legal options if you’ve suffered with Bullying at Work

Legislation Working Group

Our mission is to end workplace bullying through the development of meaningful prevention activities for organisations and the implementation of effective routes to redress for individuals.

We aim to achieve this by raising awareness and seeking formal recognition of workplace bullying as a problem that injures individuals and damages organisations. 

The law does not provide sufficient protection or redress for people whose employers let bullying go unchecked, making the process of seeking legal remedy in these cases unduly complex and arduous. We will work with lawyers and legislators to identify and close the gaps in legislation.

To support this work, we brought together legal experts at the United Against Workplace Bullying Conference 2020 to answer the question: 

 

Workplace Bullying: Is legislation working?

Despite strong statements about people being the greatest asset, and zero tolerance of bullying, multiple reports have provided evidence that bullying is still prevalent in workplaces, and that most people who feel bullied experience emotional and financial impact, ending up leaving their jobs and often struggling to work again.

 

In 2019 the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation ran a Workplace Bullying Conference with attendees from both academic and practitioner backgrounds.  81% of attendees agreed that we need a specific law against bullying.

 

In the UK the majority of bullying cases are not upheld internally.  A case for bullying itself (rather than harassment) cannot be brought to an employment tribunal.  After more than 20 years of research showing that workplace bullying is a real problem, why do so many cases still fail?  What can we do differently for both employees and employers?

“Employees are almost twice as likely to have experienced bullying than harassment (not sexual harassment) at work over the past three years (15% versus 8%). Just 4% report experience of sexual harassment.” 

CIPD Managing Conflict in the Workplace, January 2020 

The Panel Members are:

Nicki Eyre, Conduct Change

Jess Rowson, Oakwood Solicitors and Conduct Change Advisory Board

Liam Ryan, Barrister, 7BR

Marian Bloodworth, Deloitte Legal and Chair of the national Employment Lawyers Association

Jenny McCullough, Conduct Change Advisory Board

Emily Commander, Conduct Change Advisory Board

To continue this work, a Legislation Working Group has been established and further updates will be published as we progress.

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