Summarises the provisions and implications of the 2007 Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work. Covers risk factors for bullying in the workplace, employees' rights and duties, bullying and the health and safety statement, managing work activities, the bullying policy as a living document and how complaints are investigated.

Introduction

There was a time when bullying at work, like corporal punishment, was accepted as part of the harsh realities of life. In keeping with this view, the courts for a long time did not recognise non-physical injury claims. What you are finding now, and the reason why the whole bullying/stress area is so unsettled, is an attempt by the judiciary to refashion the jurisprudence of the courts built up around physical injury claims to include bullying claims that have resulted in psychological damage.

In addition to the court led developments in this area - what lawyers refer to as the common law - the Health and Safety Authority has issued two codes of practice on workplace bullying, first in 2002 and again in 2007. The 2007 code is very comprehensive and is designed to give practical guidance to employers on identifying and preventing bullying which results in stress at work. The emphasis is very much on prevention and whereas in the old days we had plain old bullying policies we now have bullying prevention policies. Language, as they say, is everything.

2007 code of practice on bullying at work

Employees’ rights and duties

Bullying and the health and safety statement

Management of work activities

Living document

Investigation of complaints

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