Harassment and bullying in the workplace can be costly to employers. Harassment and bullying are likely to cause low morale, inefficiency, high levels of sickness absence and the potential loss of trained and experienced staff. Also acts of harassment and bullying can be challenged in the employment tribunals, in civil and in criminal courts.
It is in the interest of employers to ensure that harassment and bullying are viewed as unacceptable behaviour as employers may be held vicariously liable for the acts of the harasser/bully.
Employers have a ‘duty of care’ for all their employees. If the mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee is broken for example, through bullying and harassment at work then an employee can resign and claim ‘constructive unfair dismissal’ on the grounds of breach of contract (as long as they have worked for the employer for 12 months).
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their employees. They have a duty to ensure the physical and psychological health, safety and welfare of employees at work. This includes assessing the causes of stress at work and introducing measures to reduce or prevent stress. Thus employers are legally responsible for preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace.
In addition under the Equality Act 2010 harassment can be recognised as a free standing form of discrimination. An individual can bring a claim in the employment tribunal where harassment occurs at work on the grounds of race, gender (i.e. a person’s sex, or a person’s gender reassignment), sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or belief.
Liability for harassment amounting to unlawful discrimination can only be avoided if it can be proven that appropriate preventative measures were taken to ensure that the offending acts were not committed.
Therefore employers are required to develop and implement coherent policies to prevent harassment and bullying in the workplace.
This Anti Bullying and Harassment Policy template shall be used by employers to promote a working environment free from all forms of harassment and bullying.
This Policy deals with issues of harassment, bullying, discrimination and victimisation in the workplace. It provides a definition and examples of harassment and bullying in the workplace and provides procedures for dealing with complaints.
This Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy contains the following clauses:
- Policy Statement
- Policy Aims
- Definition of Bullying and Harassment
- Examples of Bullying and Harassment
- Third Party Harassment
- Procedures for Dealing with Bullying or Harassment
- Informal Procedure
- Formal Procedure
- Employees Responsibilities
- Managers Responsibilities
- Support and Advice
- Review and Monitoring
This Anti Bullying and Harassment Policy is in Microsoft Word format, written in plain English, easy to use and edit.