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The Law in the UK Today

Bullying is not currently protected by statute within the UK, but employer's liability may arise from the Duty at Common Law to :

Provide a Safe Place of Work and Maintain Mutual Trust and Confidence.

Employees have rights:  They have a right to expect their mental, physical and emotional good health to be valued and safeguarded -even in the workplace.

Employers have a Duty of Care:  Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, employers are obliged to assess the nature and scale of risks to health in their workplace and base their control measures on it.  See the legal section.

Additionally, there is a :
  • Statute - The Health & Safety at Work Act - 1974
  • Common Law - Harassment Act 1997 (originally designed as an `anti-stalking' Act)
  • Common Law - under the Law of Negligence and
  • Contract Law - it is an implied term in the contract of employment that the employer will ensure the employees health safety and welfare and will "not act in any manner calculated or likely to destroy the relationship of trust and confidence which should exist between the employer and employee"
Bullying behaviour could be in breach of these terms.

The Health & Safety at Work Act defines `personal injury' as `any disease or impairment of a person's physical or mental health in the workplace'.

Bullying behaviour is in breach of this Act.

"Without doubt, The Employment Act 2002 : Dispute Resolution Reforms 2004 will enable complaints to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.  Certainly, in the future, employers will be required to address workplace disputes and/or conflict - and employee issues in general, through statutory procedures.  This will bring enhanced communications, improved workplace relations, a much more productive and successful organisation and an employer whom anyone would be proud to work for."

Christine Pratt. 

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