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How will the proposed Bullying and Respect at Work Bill impact businesses?

Updated: Aug 17, 2023


Bully and respect at work bill

Bullying and harassment is never ok whether inside or outside of the workplace. According to studies, approximately 1 in 4 employees experience workplace bullying at some point in their careers. Sensible organisations have clear policies on bullying and harassment but we actually don't have a legal definition of the term bullying. Whilst more and more organisations are effectively tackling bullying, unfortunately in some areas bullying still remains a problem. The Bully and Respect at Work Bill aims to tackle the problem head-on providing more legal framework around the issues.


What is the Bullying and Respect at Work Bill?


This newly proposed bill, if it becomes law, will provide more legal clout to dealing with bullying at work. The bill, if enacted, would make it mandatory for businesses to set up formal mechanisms for reporting and investigating bullying. It will also allow employment tribunals to hear workplace bullying claims, and introduce a new respect at work code to establish minimum standards for positive and respectful workplaces. Additionally, it will give powers to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate workplaces and organisations.


Is it law yet?


No, at the moment the Bill has just been proposed, which means it isn't law yet.


What are the key elements proposed within the Bill?

  1. Clear Definition: The bill will provide a comprehensive definition of workplace bullying, providing clarity for employees and employers when reporting instances of bullying confidently.

  2. Reporting Mechanisms: The proposed bill will establish a clear reporting process for victims of bullying encouraging victims to come forward without fear or repercussions.

  3. Investigation and Intervention: Once a complaint is made, the bill will require employers to conduct thorough investigations into alleged incidents of bullying which might include using an independent investigator.

  4. Consequences and Remedies: The bill will outline a range of consequences for workplace bullying, including disciplinary actions, training programs for offenders, and even potential legal recourse for severe cases.

What should businesses do now?


Whilst the new Bill isn't yet law, we'd always recommend that businesses have a clear policy for dealing with bullying cases. Some organisations refer to this as an Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy, and at Tap HR regardless of the size of your business, we'd recommend you have one. A good policy should include:

  • Your definition of bullying and harassment in the workplace

  • The scope of your policy and what it covers

  • What you expect from employees and management in relation to bullying

  • How to report bullying

  • How things will be investigated

  • The potential consequences of bullying and harassment

  • What support will be provided

  • Available training and education

How Can I get Support?


At Tap HR we can provide support by creating robust Anti-Bullying and Harassment policies and providing an independent investigator to review any bullying cases. You can see more about our documentation packages here: https://www.taphr.co.uk/hr-documentation-packages and you can book a 1-2-1 with one of our consultants with the link below.


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Disclaimer

  • All information within this post is provided for guidance only, always seek your own legal advice

  • The information with this post was correct at the time of publishing, July 2023 but may be subject to change



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