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Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment

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Bullying, harassment and sexual harassment are words which strike fear into the minds of most Employers.  These can be some of the most difficult and distracting Employee relations issues for an Organisation to deal with, and can present exposure to serious liability and bad press for an Organisation where they are not dealt with correctly. 

Investigations into these issues can be time consuming, and even where issues are dealt with through the necessary procedures, bad feeling can continue to permeate through the Organisation in the future.  Where issues are not managed correctly, the Organisation may also face liability under a number of pieces of legislation.

In April 2001, the ESRI published the results of a national survey on bullying in the workplace. It has been commissioned by the Task Force on the Prevention of Bullying in the Workplace.  Out of over 5,000 respondents:

  • 7% claimed that they had been bullied at work;
  • 81% experienced verbal abuse and insults;
  • 35% experienced exclusion;
  • The majority of those bullied were females

One estimate states that around 70% of Employees who are bullied in the workplace leave their jobs as a result. According to International Behavioural Consultants (IBC), bullying in the workplace is now estimated to cost Irish Organisations around €3 billion annually.