Bullying in the workplace

Overview

Workplace bullying allegations can be extremely difficult to manage, in particular for smaller business as the allegations can involve management, which can create management difficulties.

As Employment Law, experts Alastair Purdy and Co Solicitors have extensive experience in advising employers on drafting, and implementing workplace-bullying policies, managing complaints, carrying out fair investigations, and representing employers in WRC actions.    For the avoidance of doubt, Alastair Purdy and Co Solicitors prepare, represent and advocate WRC cases themselves, on instruction from their clients.

If the Bullying allegations results in an alleged Personal Injury, this can lead to employees commencing certified sick leave, and lodging a claim with the Injuries Board.    More often than not litigation is issued in the Circuit or High Court under the guise of either a stress related Personal Injuries action, a breach of contract claim, or a breach of statutory duty by the employer (usually all three).

 

What is it?

 

‘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’

 

In the case of Ruffley v. Board of Management of St Anne’s School [2017] 20 ELR 61, the Supreme Court broke down this definition in detail.    Helpfully the Court gave examples of potential inappropriate behaviour such as ridicule, personal antagonism, exclusion from a group, shouting at people, the making of disparaging remarks in private or public about work, intimidation, the use of aggressive or obscene language, spying, and stalking as they are unacceptable at the level of human interaction.   The Supreme Court further held that inappropriate behaviour could be in the context of: 

 

‘Purposely undermining an individual, targeting them for special negative treatment, the manipulation of their reputation, social exclusion or isolation, intimidation, aggressive or obscene behaviour.” 

 

Regarding undermining someone’s dignity at work, the Supreme Court held that it had to be limited to claims to those which might be described as “outrageous, unacceptable and exceeding all bounds tolerated by decent society” 

 

However, on a practical day-to-day level, workplace bullying allegations can be extremely difficult for an employer to manage.   In particular, for smaller business, as the allegations can involve multiple parties within the business, which can lead to management difficulties.

 

As Employment Law experts, Alastair Purdy and Co Solicitors have extensive experience in advising employers on drafting, and implementing workplace-bullying policies, managing complaints, carrying out investigations which are procedurally fair, and representing employers in WRC actions.    For the avoidance of doubt, A.P. & Co’s Solicitors prepare, represent and advocate WRC cases themselves, on instruction from their clients.   Therefore, employers get hands on impartial advice from start to finish.

 

If the Bullying allegations results in an alleged Personal Injury, this can lead to employees commencing certified sick leave, and lodging a claim with the Injuries Board.    More often than not litigation is issued in the Circuit or High Court, under the guise of a stress related Personal Injuries action, a breach of contract claim, or a breach of statutory duty by the employer (usually all three).   AP & Co currently advice and represent a number of employers in the Financial, Recruitment, Medical, Food, Aviation, Retail and Leisure industries in defending Bully claims in both the Circuit Court and High Court.   AP & Co’s team has extensive knowledge and experience in advising employers on how to defend these types of claims, from initial investigation, to navigating the claims through the Injuries Board, and defending the claims in either Circuit Court and High Court.  We take a client focused view on matters, with a commercial focus.

 

What we do?

Alastair Purdy and Co currently represent a number of employers in the Financial, Recruitment, Medical, Food, Aviation, retail and Leisure industries in defending Bully claims in both the Circuit Court and High Court.   Alastair Purdy and Co team has extensive knowledge and experience in advising employers on how to defend these types of claims, navigating the claims through the Injuries Board, Circuit Court and High Court.

If your company requires legal advice in respect of an Workplace Bullying, concerns that have been raised by an employee during the course of their employment, Alastair Purdy and Co. Solicitors are available to assist.

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Get in touch with one of our solicitors today.

091 56 57 65

info@purdyandco.ie

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