Know Your Rights - Bullying in the Workplace

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Know Your Rights - Bullying in the Workplace

April 18, 2017 - 10:30

Many people are often bullied in the workplace, but even with plenty of legislation to protect workers, very few people are willing to admit or acknowledge that bullying is happening let alone reporting it.

Many people who are bullied do not understand their rights. According to by Anti-bulling center at DCU, an organization established to research on bullying at the workplace, the consequences of bullying is detrimental to individuals physically and psychologically.

Workplace Bullying Defined

From a legal perspective, bullying is any repeated behaviour that undermines someone’s rights at work. Bullying can be from an individual, and most likely it can be from a group of people who makes you inferior to other people.

Just like regular bullying that many of us have experienced first-hand in the schoolyard, workplace bullying takes many forms; for instance, isolation, damaging someone reputation, intimidation, aggressiveness, repeated request for impossible tasks.

Many people experience bullying at the workplace through verbal means or physical or more increasingly in 2017, it occurs via modern technology channels such as through the internet social media, email or even through text or instant messaging services such as WhatsApp.

Knowing Your Rights

Bullying in the workplace can be devastating for victims, and if you are one of the victims, you do not have to put up with it. Knowing your rights is the first step towards preventing bullying in the workplace.

The Employment Equality Act 1998-2008 placed all employers in Ireland under obligation to prevent any form of bullying or harassment at workplace. Under this act, bullying is seen as a form of discrimination. An employee is entitled to bring a harassment claim to the Equality Tribunal and employer will feel obligated to pay compensation of the employee.

However, the employee will need to show that indeed he or she was discriminated on nine recognized grounds of discrimination which are genders, marital status, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, family status, age, race and membership of traveler community.

If bullying within your place of employment becomes unbearable and you are forced to leave a job, you are entitled to make a claim for unfair dismissal acts 1977-2007. This would mean that even though you left the job voluntarily, the bullying circumstance forced you to do that.

If the bullying was significant that it lead to suffering physically or psychologically, you might be entitled to bringing a claim for compensation for personal injury.

When and How to Make a Formal Complaint

Initially, you need to contact your employer about your complaint, but if you are not satisfied with the response you get, you will need to contact an employment law solicitor. The reason for bringing the complaint to the employer’s attention is to demonstrate that the damages that result from bullying in the workplace could have been prevented.

If you have been bullied at work, you need to find the right employment solicitor if the employer has not satisfactory addressed your problem.

It’s important to ensure you know your rights when approaching any potential workplace dispute process and once you know your rights, it may be time to engage a legal professional to help you enforce those rights enshrined by the constitution of the jurisdiction in which you reside.

A reliable solicitor will provide you with legal representation while listening to what you want to achieve as well as offering you a solution. They will be able to access your case and allow you to decide whether to take your cases to the Equity Tribunal for discrimination based complaint.

Alternatively, your legal counsel may assess whether it is appropriate to present your case to the Rights Commissioner’s services where bullying claim is not based on the aforementioned nine grounds.