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Mar 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Bullying in the Workplace: What constitutes as bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work.

Examples of bullying behaviour includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Exclusion with negative consequences
  • Verbal abuse/insults
  • Being treated less favourably than colleagues in similar roles
  • Belittling a person’s opinion
  • Disseminating malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo
  • Socially excluding or isolating a person within the work sphere
  • Intrusion - pestering, spying or stalking
  • Intimidation/aggressive interactions
  • Excessive monitoring of work
  • Withholding information necessary for proper performance of a person's job
  • Repeatedly manipulating a person's job content and targets
  • Blaming a person for things beyond their control
  • Use of aggressive and obscene language

What is not considered workplace bullying?

An isolated incident of the behaviour described in the above definition may offend dignity at work, but, as a once off incident, is not considered to be bullying. Workplace bullying should meet the criteria of an on-going series of accumulation of seriously, negative, targeted behaviours against a person or persons to damage their esteem and standing in a harmful, continuous way.

Under the Code, the following examples set out behaviours that do not constitute as bullying:

  • Expressing differences of opinion strongly
  • Offering unwelcome constructive feedback, guidance, or advice about work-related behaviour
  • Ordinary performance management
  • Acceptable corrective action taken by an employer/ supervisor which relates to the management and direction of an employee (for example, an employer managing a worker’s performance, taking reasonable disciplinary action against the employee, or assigning the employee work)
  • Complaints relating to instructions issued by a manager, assignment of duties, terms and conditions of employment or other matters, which are appropriate for referral under other normal grievance procedures, do not constitute bullying.

How does bullying manifest in the workplace?

Workplace bullying ought to meet the criteria of a reoccurring cycle and accumulation of negative directed behaviours against a person or persons to damage their esteem and standing in a harmful, sustained way. A pattern and trend are involved so that a reasonable person would regard such behaviour as clearly wrong, undermining and humiliating. Bullying activities involve actions and behavioural patterns, directly or indirectly, spoken and/or written and could include the use of cyber or digital means for the goal of bullying.

The Bright Contracts Handbook has now been updated to reflect the bullying code of practice for employers and employees on the prevention and resolution of bullying in the workplace. To access the update, log out of your Bright Contracts company file and log back in, you will then see a yellow bar across the top of the page asking you if you would like to upgrade the content.

 If you are not a Bright Contracts customer but are looking to adopt or change your HR Software please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Bullying and Harassment, Company Handbook

Nov 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

How to avoid harassment in the workplace

The recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein n the US have created somewhat of a snowball effect worldwide with thousands of women and men speaking out about their accounts of sexual harassment and assault, many of them being work related. Allegations involving high profile individuals and people in authority have demonstrated just how widespread a problem this has become across all industries and professions and has exposed a sinister culture of silence, fear and acceptance which we must now turn on its head.

The Employment Equality Acts clearly defines sexual harassment as: forms of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.

It is important for employers to ensure that harassment will not be tolerated and to portray this to their employees and clients. Employers are therefore compelled to take steps to ensure a harassment-free work environment. Effectively, organisations must set down clearly defined procedures to deal with all forms of harassment including sexual harassment.

There are a number of steps an employer can take to help prevent this type of behavior from occurring in the workplace:

A Bullying and Harassment policy 

  • to protect the dignity of employees and to encourage respect in the workplace

An Equal Opportunities policy 

  • to create a workplace which provides for Equal Opportunities for all staff

A Whistle-blowing policy 

  • to enable staff to voice concerns in a responsible and effective manner.

Transparent and fair procedures throughout 

Disciplinary action

  • A sanction that is appropriate for the level of alleged harassment – to help try and change the culture of silence that has allowed harassment to become normal and protected.

Provision of on-going training 

  • At all levels within organisation

Bright Contracts has a fully customisable Staff Handbook, which includes a Bullying and Harassment Policy and also an Equality Policy and Whistleblowing Policy.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company Handbook, Discrimination, Dismissals, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

Feb 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Workplace Bullying in Ireland amongst the highest in Europe

Newly published research places Ireland as the 7th worst EU country for workplace bullying. The research, conducted by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, also found that Ireland rated highly for cases of physical violence and sexual harassment.

According to the research approximately 6% of European workers have been victims of some form of bullying, whether it is verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual harassment over the last 12 months.

Speaking in response to the finding SIPTU’s Tom O’Driscoll has commented that SIPTU, at any given time could have “over one hundred (bullying cases)”. He said, “bullying mainly comes from managers or those in positions of power but can be colleague on colleague.”

Workplace bullying can have an extremely disruptive effect not only on an individual’s performance at work but also on their home-life and their psychological wellbeing.

Employers need to be vigilant in this area, and take proactive steps to remove bullying from their workplaces. This will include:

  • Having robust bullying and harassment policies and procedures in place
  • Taking all complaints of bullying or harassment seriously, taking appropriate action
  • Acting immediately if bullying or harassment is suspected in the workplace – not procrastinating
  • Training all managers fully on managing employees

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company Handbook, Employment Contract

Nov 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Employer Successfully Defends Bullying Claim

Ryanair has successfully defended a claim at the Employment Appeals Tribunal from a former flight attendant, Brian Butler, who claimed he had been bullied by a supervisor.

Mr Butler had claimed that the bullying was to such an extent that he often became nervous, apprehensive and unwell, to the point of being physically sick. The Claimant did raise his concerns informally but because he felt they were not being dealt with fast enough, he decided to resign from his post. The tribunal heard that having submitted his notice Mr Butler went off on sick leave, citing an ear ache.

The tribunal found that although Mr Butler was aware of the Company’s grievance procedure he had not formally raised his issue via the process available to him; he then left the Company before they had an opportunity to address his issues.

Lessons Learnt

This case shows the importance of having a grievance procedure in place and of ensuring all staff are aware of it.

A grievance procedure gives employees a forum to raise issues where they will be dealt with in a consistent, thorough and fair manner.

With no grievance procedure in place an employee has a much greater chance of bringing a successful claim against a company because there was no recourse to raise their compliant internally.

In this case Ryanair’s policies and procedures protected them from what could have been an extremely expensive case.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company Handbook, Contract of employment