BBK Manifesto: Define bullying in legislation | Bolt Burdon Kemp BBK Manifesto: Define bullying in legislation | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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BBK Manifesto: Define bullying in legislation

BBK is calling for a legal definition of workplace bullying to protect workers’ rights.

Currently, bullying is not clearly defined in UK legislation. As a result, it is difficult for those who have suffered harm as a result of such conduct to find restitution in the law.

Under existing legislation, one of the only options available to employees is to resign from their post and make a claim for constructive dismissal. Alternatively, they may find they are protected under harassment laws, such as the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PFHA) but this also has its flaws.

The PFHA was initially developed as a legal protection against stalking and is therefore not designed to effectively address workplace bullying. There is a need for specific legislation, for example the Bullying and Respect at Work Bill, which was introduced into Parliament by Rachael Maskell MP.

Maskell’s Bill calls for a legal definition of workplace bullying and seeks to establish clear structures for reporting and investigating incidents. She proposes the introduction of a Respect at Work Code with enforcement powers designated to the Human Rights Commission.

Legislation on bullying and harassment in the workplace is long overdue, and developments in this area would bring us in line with other countries such as Australia, Canada and the Netherlands, all of which have specific legislation in place to tackle this issue.

According to YouGov, 29% of people in the UK have experienced workplace bullying. Bullying costs UK businesses £18 billion a year, with over 17 million working days lost each year due to work-related incivility such as bullying, according to ACAS.

It makes sense financially and ethically to put clear boundaries in place to protect workers from bullying.

This blog is part of our #ChampioningChange Campaign, specifically, Bolt Burdon Kemp LLP’s 2024 Manifesto for Injured People. In this campaign we call for politicians and candidates to prioritise injured people as they go into the 2024 General Election. This work is informed by our clients’ experiences and our partnerships with charities which support our clients and others like them. If you would like to read more about our full manifesto you can do so here.

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