Bullying at Work

Bullying in the workplace has been described in various ways. The Health and Safety Authority’s definition is that it 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." An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to dignity at work but as a once off incident is not considered to be bullying.

Bullying is a workplace issue and a human relations issue. Therefore it comes under the authority of various agencies and is on the agenda of many interested parties. It is a health and safety issue in so far as bullying has been identified as hazardous or dangerous as it can lead to both safety problems and health problems. It is also an IR issue, a HR issue, often a legal issue and a personal and public health issue. So many agencies and interested parties are stakeholders in this difficult area.

Employers have a Duty of Care to all employees, to ensure they are both mentally and physically safe at work and that their health is not adversely affected by work. This Duty of Care means employers must behave and react reasonably in relation to such matters.

Bullying at Work

This guideline explains what employers should do to prevent and control workplace bullying and to meet the standards for adequate policy and procedures under health and safety law. It seeks to give practical advice to employers in complying with the HSA's Code of practice for employers and employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at work. Workplace bullying covers a range of different behaviours usually .. Read more