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Workplace Bullying a Major Cause of Stress

01.10.2008

Midlands-based law firm Shacklocks Solicitors is warning local businesses to look out for workplace bullying.

According to recently released statistics 18.9 million working days are lost each year as a result of workplace bullying. In addition, the effects of workplace bullying are estimated to be responsible for up to a half of all stress-related illnesses. Bullying is a major cause of stress in the workplace and should be recognised by employers as notable threat to the health and safety of employees in the workplace.

Clare McShane, a solicitor with Shacklocks, said:
“Workplace bullying has become too big a problem for businesses to ignore. If there is bullying in your workplace, it will have a significant impact on your business, affecting the performance of the bullied employee, and in many cases, leads to stress and anxiety and long term sickness absence.”

Workplace bullying can take many forms and is often much more subtle than physical attack and name calling. Colleagues may purposely ostracise a particular member of staff, a member of the team might be put under extra or undue pressure, be subjected to constant criticism, or have duties taken away from them or changed.

Clare, who provides a specialist employment law support service to Midlands businesses continued: “Employers who fail to tackle bullying can pay a high price – in lost time, low morale, reduced productivity and staff retention. The potential impact on your business is significant, but most importantly, employers who fail to tackle bullying could be breaking the law and if a successful case is brought in an Employment Tribunal or court they are likely to face financial penalties and loss of reputation.”

“As an employer, you have a duty to protect your employees from bullying at work, and to provide a safe system of work.”

She advises businesses to ensure they have policies and procedures in place should a problem occur, including good Equal Opportunities and Bullying and Harassment Policies.

Clare added:
“These should be living, breathing documents, which work in the context of your business, backed up by Equal Opportunities training for all of your staff. In addition, many organisations when outsourcing work now look for companies with a working Equal Opportunities and Bullying and Harassment policy, so introducing these may have other positive effects on your business.”

Want to know more? Contact...

Clare McShane, Partner, Employment and Litigation Clare McShane

Partner, Employment and Litigation

Tel: 01623 626141
Email: clarem@shacklocks.co.uk

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