The role of the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) and the Employment Court (EC) is more critical than ever in defining and addressing workplace bullying. As more cases surface, the definition of what is bullying becomes clearer as opposed to what is merely criticism or feedback.
The ERA and the EC are the combined force that brings all the workplace bullying strands together. There are a number of pieces of legislation that all seek to address the bullying from different angles and aspects. The big three are the Employment Relations Act, the Human Rights Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Bullying is persistent, ongoing behaviour which is not considered reasonable. It may also involve harassment, including sexual harassment. Human rights are part of the bigger picture, as is workplace health and safety, as the stress created by workplace bullying can affect the employees’ general health and wellbeing.
The ERA and the EC have the opportunity to place the potential bullying actions in a workplace context. Employers must be on the watch for bullying, for even if they are unaware it is happening, they can still be held liable along with the bully or bullies.
If you suspect bullying in your workplace in your capacity as an employer or are on the receiving end of the unacceptable behaviour as an employee, your legal adviser can assist you with the best course of action. Get in touch with our Employment Law Team – we’ll be happy to help.