A new Bill has been proposed – the Bullying and Respect at Work Bill. It proposes, amongst other things:
- Introducing a statutory definition of bullying at work. Unlike discrimination and harassment, there is currently no statutory definition of bullying.
- Make provisions relating to bullying at work, including enabling claims relating to workplace bullying to be considered by an employment tribunal in their own right.
- At the moment, if an employee has been bullied they will often need to bring a claim to an employment tribunal as a constructive unfair dismissal case.
- Provide a ‘Respect at Work Code’ to set minimum standards for positive and respectful work environments.
- To give powers to the ‘Equalities and Human Rights Commission’ to investigate and take enforcement action against organisations where there is evidence of a culture of, or multiple incidents of, bullying.
This is a private member’s Bill and whether it will eventually become law rem ains to be seen.
It is however a good reminder for businesses to be alert to the issue of bullying.