THEEXTENT OF STATUTORY PROTECTION AFFORDED TO WORKERS IN THE UNITEDKINGDOM
Aim of Agreement
The 2010 Equity Act
Protection from Workplace Harassment Act
Laws and Incidents of Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace
Two Years’ Service and Statutory Rights
The United Kingdom Legislative Framework
Statuses that Protect the Employees and how they Place a Burden to the Employers
The Extent of Statutory Protection Afforded to Workers in the UnitedKingdom
Bullyingand harassment of any form against workers, whether committed bymanagers, co-workers, or third-parties, is completely unacceptable.The act breaches any form of ethical standards, while affecting boththe physical and psychological health of the victims. According to2008/2009 British Crime Survey (BCS), it was estimated that therewere 685,000 workplace bullying and harassment cases, which comprisedof 280,000 assaults and 390,000 threats of violence1.Diversity, tolerance, respect, and dignity are benchmarks for anybusiness success therefore, it is in the best interest of theemployers to identify and address occurrences and threats that arisesfrom workplace harassment and bullying2.Employers are also legally-bound to provide protection for the safetyand health of all workers in the organization, failure to takeresponsibility will be regarded as unlawful and the businessperformances will be undermined.
On issues ofcommon concern, as part of the ongoing dialogue, the trade unioninstitutions and European level employer reached on a mutual anagreement in regard to the need to take action by pointing out theimportance of the issue at hand. This form of agreement is embracedby the United Kingdom organizations, which is represented by theEuropean Union social dialogue in order to implement Europeanagreement on a legal framework. The agreement is supported by the HSE(Health and Safety Executive), BIS (Department of Business Innovationand Skills), and ACAS (Coalition and Arbitration Service)3.The main aim is to provide guidance to the agreement, and practicaladvice to help deal with cases of bullying and harassment at the workplace. Therefore, the purpose of this research paper is to look intothe extent in which statutory protection laws in the United Kingdomhas been afforded to the workers that suffer all forms of bullyingand harassment in the workplace. First, the paper will examine theaim of agreement arrived at after the formation of the laws, the 2010Equality Act, which shows the extent of workers protection, theworkplace protection acts, instances of bullying and harassment inthe workplace, the United Kingdom two years’ service and theframework behind the act. In addition, the paper aim to answer thequestion on whether the law in the United Kingdom has developedenough to a point where it places an unfair burden of harassment andbullying cases on the employer.
Aimof the Agreement
Theresponsibility dictates appropriate measures put in place to protectand deal with bullying and harassment cases at the workplace, whichis often placed on the employer. However, the workers play a part inidentification of such incidents. Workers should take the initiativeto involve fellow workers, and where applicable – trade unions, tohelp establish procedures to assist in dealing with workplacebullying and harassment4.Both the employers and workers may agree to prevent such cases thiscould therefore be done through well-structure, collective bargainchannels through safety and safety consultation5.
Therefore, thestated aim of the agreement is to:
Increase understanding and raise awareness of the employers, employees and the representatives of both the third party and internal violence6.
Offer employers, employees, and the representatives with a response framework to recognize, manage and prevent harassment and bullying in all forms of workplace violence7.
The 2010 equality act represents a culmination of many years ofdebate on how to improve the United Kingdom equality law. This actoffers stronger protection to individuals against discrimination. Italso provides greater clarity to employers and businesses about theirresponsibilities, and also set up certain expectations on how thepublic service should treat every individual with respect anddignity. Bullying and its effects in the workplace impacts negativelyon the lives of the employees thus in the United Kingdom, solicitorsthat specializes in the laws governing employment will agree8.Often, UK laws, especially the equality act, do not legislate toprotect those suffering or may have suffered harassment and bullyingat work. However, this law does not mean that there is a lack ofemployment laws that are under protection in the British law9.The 2010 Equality Act points out instances of bullying and harassmentunder related acts such as 1996 Employment Rights Act, 1974 WorkHealth and Safety Act, the 1998 act of Public Interest Disclosure,the 1997 act of Protection and Harassment, and the OverlappingDisputes Rule10.
In the 2010 Equality Act, has an implied term in the British Law thatregards to the contract of employment, in which the employer “shalltake calculated steps to support his or her employee, and ensure thatan employee is able to carry out his or her duties without fear ofviolence”11.It is easy to legally argue that such kind of treatment is serioussince it presents the cause of “serious breach of intelligence”that may be inserted in the contract of employment. House of lords,in the Waters Case also quoted sections of the 2010 Equality Act,which authorizes preposition that the British Statutory Courtsrecognize “common law”, which requires the employer to take careof his or her employees, which includes a duty to stop bullying orharassment, which is very different from statutory protectionrequirements12.
Protection from Workplace Harassment Act
The extent in which UK statutory protection laws protect its workersmay demand the employers to meet huge damages of the employees as aresult of harassment of one worker by another. This act was opened in2006 by The House of Lords, when it stated that, in suchcircumstances, an employee harassed or bullied can win the damagesunder the 1997 Protection from Workplace Harassment Act13.The UK pushed for this act, even though it was notwithstanding thatit was originally intended to be an anti-stalking caution, eventhough there was no instance of negligence on the employer’s part.The act presents an advantage to the employees that use such routeeven in cases where race or sex discrimination is protected withHarassment Act, which claims up to 5 years after the incident ofbullying or harassment as occurred rather than the usual 3 monthsunder early anti-discrimination laws.
The extent in which anti-discrimination laws cover to protect workersdepends on the impact such cases have had on the workers. Whilebullying and harassment incidents can present potential negativeimpact on any worker at any workplace, irrespective of the size ofthe company, activity field, or the form of relationship at work,certain sectors and groups stands to incur more risks. In the UnitedKingdom, the sectors that were studied that stand to be more at riskwere those that third party bullying and harassment are most likelyto occur14.The 2007/8 BCS (British Crime Survey) stated that respondents in theprotective occupational service were more at risk of such incidentsat work. However, high rates were shown in the retail, health, andleisure sectors15.
Again, while 1.7% of workers in England and Scotland, according toBCS, were the victims of harassment and bullying at the workplace.The perceptions of workers are also critical when handlingwork-related stress and issues closely related to bullying andharassment16.For example, 21% of workers that contacted members of the publicassumed that there was likelihood that they will be harassed orbullied the following year.
Lawsand Incidents of Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace
Bullying andharassment is traditionally viewed as a problem that is commonlyassociated with children and schools however, the spotlightcurrently is turned on workplace harassment and bullying throughcampaigns that have drawn the attention of the media. Since theseincidents are exposed, amends to case laws are likely to be adjustedconsiderably and turned into future legislation. The United Kingdomlegislation has put laws in place that aims at solving the issue.
These incidentsare well known to be unlawful discrimination, which is identifiedunder the Race, Relation and Sex Discrimination Equality Act of2010.17The act states unlawful race and sex discrimination at the workplacedoes not cover racial or sexual nature, but any other favorabletreatment on sexual or racial grounds. The European Union SexHarassment Practice and Recommendation Act provides comprehensive andclear guidelines on the steps that are to be taken to stop suchcases, and also ways in which safeguards can be put in place18.The United Kingdom legislation have gone to the extent of putting thecode in place, which is now used to establish crucial policies at theworkplace meant to protect men and women dignity from bullying andharassment. The act cautions that through such cases, employers willexperience great difficulty when they take reasonable steps to stopthe acts, especially when they have failed to comply with the code19.
There are thosethat suffer unfavorable treatment, bullying, and harassment, are in aposition to raise a complaint through provisions ofanti-victimization of both Sexual Discrimination and Race RelationActs20.These acts extend protection to certain circumstances where theemployer believes his or her employee may raise unlawfuldiscrimination complaint, either on another employee’s behalf or ontheir own, and that it may include witnesses’ protection.
These incidentsof violence at the workplace often involve breaching of employmentterms of the contract, which is often through mutual obligation. Thisinvolves an obligation of not being intimidated, degraded orhumiliated, the failure of being handled with dignity, and failureand consideration to handle employees’ grievances21.The 2010 Equality Act also states that the failure to offerreasonable assistance leads to a breach of implied confidence andterm of the trust. There are also other terms in the Act that arerelevant to implied terms offering safe place of work and competentcolleagues22.Constructive and unfair dismiss of employees principles also apply tobullying and harassment in the workplace. Harassment and bullyingmust be regarded as a breach of contract, and such breach of contractmust be serious enough to justify the worker’s resignation, eitheras a one-off act or as a last one, in a number of incidents.
The currentlegislation on the legal framework looks to neither prevent nor curebut rather offer compensation after the act. The statutory law put inplace has MSF’s Adoption of Policy on Workplace Bullying thatsuggests that bullying definition, in its forms, includes it as aform of the disciplinary offense23.The policy also suggests prevention procedures for investigation andprevention of bullying acts. Currently, the statutory law is settingup least standards of workplace unfairness, enforced properly, whichmight also give scope of positive legislation to protect the dignityof employees and offer legislative framework to workplace dividerrule24.
Two Years’ Service and Statutory Rights
Theseincidents in the UK can occur as a result of misunderstanding oflegal rights and specifically on the two years’ service rule, whichshould allow unfair dismissal claims. Unfortunately, it is less knownthat the workers are protected from the first day of employmentagainst assertion and dismissal by the statutory law. The protectionis drawn from the Employment Consolidation Act, section 60A, whichwas drafted in 1993, that automatically makes it unfair to act on anemployees’ dismissal for “assertion of the statutory right”25.The statutory protection includes written statement, guaranteepayments, itemized statement, and maternity rights of theparticulars. The statutory act also as wages acts with claims timeoff or union victimization and opt outs on political fund.
Section 60 ofthe statutory law was introduced to those employees that had thetendency of dismissing employees with less than two years of servicethat causes trouble by insistence on their legal rights, forinstance, a written employment terms. The protection is applied whenthe employees present a claim or alleges an enforcement of a right orthat certain employer might have infringed on a statutory right26.It becomes unfair for the employee to be dismissed by the employerfor making such allegations. For example, this law presents firstappeal case reported by Mr. Mennell, who remains with below two yearsin service. He was asked to put his signature on a changed contract,which allows his employers to make decisions on the right to make paydeductions. Mr. Mennell refused, and he was sacked. The AppealTribunal claimed this might be a dismissal for assertion of thestatutory right. Bullying and a threat of dismissal may vary in thecontractual terms that would enable the employer make deductions andin turn become an infringement to having deductions without consent.
The United Kingdom Legislative Framework
Under the British statutory law, it is an offense to hit anotherperson without his or her consent. There are a number of varyingdegrees of assault that are governed by the serious nature of theinjury, the circumstances, or the harm done. Health and safety laws,in addition, is regarded by UK law as a risk from violence, the sameway it does to other forms of risks at work27.Consequently, the breach of contract in the UK law includes failureto protect the health of the employee and his or her safety at work.
The statutory laws state that employers have a duty to provide carefor all their employees. If for instance, mutual confidence and trustis broken between the worker and the employer is broken, for example,as a result of harassment or bullying, the law states that theemployee has freedom to resign or demand constructive dismissal onsuch grounds as breach of contract28.On the other hand, workers assaulted or bullied at the workplace alsohave legal reprieves that are made available under the civil law. Asa result, it may lead to damages incurred by the employer or theindividuals, which is a remedy to personal claims of injury.
Where the breaches of criminal law are presented, the United Kingdomlaw enforcement is held responsible. In such cases of Health andSafety legislation, the Executive of local authorities is heldaccountable for enforcement. As much as it is possible for CPS (CrownProsecution Service) to execute a criminal deed for harassment, it isnot easy to complain directly to the employment tribunal in cases ofharassment and bullying. Workers, however, are often to triggercomplains over anti-discrimination statutory laws29.
Statusesthat Protect the Employees and how they Place a Burden to theEmployers
The UK labor lawcontrols regulations between the employers, employees, and the tradeunions. Workers in the UK are protected by the employers and benefitfrom employment minimum charter rights that are found in a number ofActs, which include common law, equity, and regulations acts. It alsoincludes 21-year-old individuals being paid 6.55 pounds under the1998 Minimum Wage Act. The 1998 Working Time Regulations also ensuresworkers enjoy 28 holidays paid by the organization and breaks fromthe work, and, in addition, attempts to reduce working hours30.The 2008 Pension Act gives the UK workers the right to be in anoccupational pension. The 2010 Equality Act protects the workers, inthat, it requires workers not to be unjustifiably put to a detrimentdue to their race, beliefs, sexual-orientation, gender, and age.
All the threeregulations protect the part-time staff, individuals on fixedcontracts, and agency workers and they are handled equally whencompared to other permanent or full-time staff. The 1996 EmploymentRights Act ensures that a worker can leave his or her work and go forchild care and the right to demand flexible terms of working pattern.In addition, the workers are protected from the workers by havingentitled to being given a notice before dismissal31.The 1996 Employment Right Act states that a worker can only bedismissed when there is a fair reason. All the above acts protect theworkers by ensuring that they live dignified lives and that they haveat their disposal a relatively good bargaining power to whatever theywish for.
The collectivebargaining power of the management enterprise and trade unionsremains the United Kingdom’s main model to work’s participation.In order to protect the worker from forceful dismissal, thisbargaining has control over the pattern and terms of work, in whichthe collective agreement is ultimately supported by the right tostrike’s trade unions. Since 1996 Trade Dispute Act, carrying outstrikes are lawful if only it is the contemplation of the tradedispute.
The question asked here is: Do you consider that these statutory lawshave developed to a point of placing an unfair burden on theemployer? The answer is that workers are guaranteed compensation forcases of injuries as long as they lose the ability to file a suit ontheir employer for compensation32.A number of British Courts have found out that workers that suffermental distress due to harassment or bullying at the workplace areprotected from filing a suit on their employer for the damages if theworkplace is subject to compensation of workers insurance. However,despite such decisions, the law has not developed that much towarrant compensation offers from the workers for comprehensiveprotection against covering liability as a result of harassment andbullying at the workplace.
It is evidentthat the British statutory legislation on worker’s compensation isnot able to immunize the employers from such kind of lawsuits. At aminimum, the legislations bring exposure to the liability forreasonable and noticeable damages. For instance, all the remunerationan employee can receive as a result of workplace harassment andbullying, had the employer provided reasonable termination noticeearly enough to allow the worker secure alternative employment33.The prospects of future employment are dependent on the relevance ofa reasonable period of notice for an employee constructivelydismissed, which can prove to be lengthy. The British statutory lawsstate that 24 months’ notice is an acceptable period or ceiling forthe longest serving, senior employees with prospects of acquiringanother employment. The law also dictates that an employers’exposure to claims of constructive dismissal for considerable noticesignificant in itself34.
It should benoted that the statutory protection law in the United Kingdom do notaddress squarely the question of whether harassed or bullied workerscan be compensated by the employer. On the other hand, it is wellstipulated in the British employment act that employers have a goodfaith obligation and fair dealing at the time of compensation anddismissal, and that employees are required to recover some damagesfrom mental distress as a result of breaches of duty. Certainreasoning in the statutory law has been applied to stop claims forintentional infliction and mental harm against employers35.In the United Kingdom, the maturity of laws appear to have noprinciple reasoning for the courts to allow certain claims for suchdamages to be allowed to proceed outside the insurance scheme ofcertain workers’ compensation since workplace in question supportsfindings of constructive dismissal.
Uncertainty instatutory protection law arises when one poses to think about thenature of the difficulty in determining the ability of the employerto act on workplace harassment and bullying. Workplace relationshipsoften turn into personal relationships, and the rapid emergence ofbullying illustrates the position an employer should be to act oninstances of co-workers harassment, which can easily take place,which is inconsistent with employment obligations36.Moreover, the increase in the public nature of these work-relatedbullying and harassment also highlights how it is easy the harminflicted can extend beyond mental injury and damage to thereputation. In addition, the British law has not matured enough toclearly delineate certain limits as to when such claims of bullyingand harassment can be barred by the legislation of workers’compensation, and whether such limits coincide with the employerlimits of liability for workplace-related harassment and bullyingunder common law and legislation of human rights37.The employer is not liable for defamation, since it appears difficultto bar the statute, since the insurance on workers’ compensationdoes include economic damage compensation, which might have beencaused by defamatory conduct from the workplace.
It is important to recognize that statutory protection limits fromthe lawsuits placed on the employers varies to some extent from onejurisdiction to the other. Some British jurisdiction, most notably,limit expressly the employees to claim injuries accrued from mentalstress in relation to harassment and bullying in the workplace38.In the United Kingdom, the law has not matured enough to providelittle access to no-fault form of compensation for bullying-inducedinjuries due to chronic stress. The courts are likely to protect theemployers at this point from interpreting legislative workerscompensation act that bar the workers from filing lawsuits on theiremployers for such kind of injuries.
As much as itmay be overlooked, employers have a huge obligation placed underhealth and safety legislation, which is meant to prevent workplacebullying and harassment. The Health and Safety Workplace Act of 1999,for example, states the minimum specific preventive measures, whichthe employers have to put in place to address instance of bullyingand harassment in the workplace39.In these jurisdictions, without placing specific statutorylegislative obligations related to bullying and harassment, theemployers nonetheless are bound by the law to assume responsibilityto stop injuries that originates from workplace-related hazard in anattempt to provide their workers with proper health and safety40.Therefore, there is no doubt that compensation of workers legislationprovides the employers with the protection against prosecutions’regulation for failure to take steps to stop harassment and bullyingin the workplace.
Boland, Mary L.2005. Sexual harassment in the workplace. Naperville, Ill: SphinxPub.
Crothers, Laura M., and John Lipinski. 2014. Bullying in theworkplace: causes, symptoms, and remedies.
Curtis, Joan C. 2009. Managing sticky situations at workcommunication secrets for success in the workplace. Santa Barbara,Calif: Praeger/ABC-CLIO.
Douglas, Elaine. 2001. Bullying in the workplace: an organizationaltoolkit. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Gower.
Falconer, Heather. 2004. IRS managing conflict in the workplace.Surrey [England]: LexisNexis UK.
Heyser, Marlene. 2010. Litigating the workplace harassment case.Chicago: American Bar Association, Tort Trial & InsurancePractice Section.
Jasper, Margaret C. 2002. Harassment in the workplace. Dobbs Ferry,N.Y.: Oceana Publications, Inc.
Jones, Philip.2012. Public law and human rights statutes. 2011-2012. London:Routledge.
Labour Research Department. 2012. Bullying and harassment at work: aguide for trade unionists. London: LRD Publications.
Lightle, Juliana, and Elizabeth H. Doucet. 2010. Sexual harassment inthe workplace create a better workplace for everyone. [UnitedStates]: Axzo Press.
Longo, Joy. 2012. Bullying in the workplace: reversing a culture.Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association/Nursebooks.org.
Mead, David. 2010. The New law of peaceful protest: Rights andregulation in the human rights act era. Oxford: Hart.
Rennie Peyton, Pauline. 2003. Dignity at work: eliminate bullying andcreate a positive working environment. Hove: Brunner-Routledge.
Repa, BarbaraKate. 2002. Your rights in the workplace. Berkeley, CA: Nolo.
Richards, Helene, and Sheila Freeman. 2002. Bullying in theworkplace: an occupational hazard. Sydney: HarperCollins.
Sargeant,Malcolm. 2013. Discrimination and the Law. Hoboken: Taylor andFrancis.
Sewell, Hári. 2013. The Equality Act 2010 in mental health a guideto implementation and issues for practice. London: Jessica KingsleyPublishers.
1Mary L. Boland 2005. Sexual harassment in the workplace. Naperville, Ill: Sphinx Pub, 215-229
2Mary, Sexual harassment, 217
3Margaret C. Jasper 2002. Harassment in the workplace. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, Inc, 54-89
4Juliana Lightle and Elizabeth H. Doucet. 2010. Sexual harassment in the workplace create a better workplace for everyone. [United States]: Axzo Press, 111-114
5Juliana, Sexual harassment, 112
7Barbara Kate Repa. 2002. Your rights in the workplace. Berkeley, CA: Nolo, 32-54
8Barbara Kate, Your rights in the workplace, 33
9Marlene Heyser. 2010. Litigating the workplace harassment case. Chicago: American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, 23-76
10Marlene, Litigating Harassment, 30.
13Joan C. Curtis 2009. Managing sticky situations at work communication secrets for success in the workplace. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 90-99
14Joan, managing tricky situations, 92.
16Laura M. Crothers and John Lipinski. 2014. Bullying in the workplace: causes, symptoms, and remedies, 98-108
17Laura, Bullying at the workplace, 100.
20Helene Juliana and Sheila Freeman. 2002. Bullying in the workplace: an occupational hazard. Sydney: HarperCollins, 54-76
21Helene, Occupational hazard, 57
22Longo, Joy. 2012. Bullying in the workplace: reversing a culture. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association/Nursebooks.org, 45-47
24Elaine Douglas. 2001. Bullying in the workplace: an organizational toolkit. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Gower, 232-250
26Elaine, International toolkit, 235
29Pauline Rennie Peyton. 2003. Dignity at work: eliminate bullying and create a positive working environment. Hove: Brunner-Routledge, 64-69
30Pauline, Dignity at work, 68
33Labour Research Department, Bullying and harassment at work, 79
35David Mead. 2010. The New law of peaceful protest: Rights and regulation in the human rights act era. Oxford: Hart, 41-42
36Heather Falconer. 2004. IRS managing conflict in the workplace. Surrey [England]: LexisNexis UK, 97-99
37Hári Sewell. 2013. The Equality Act 2010 in mental health a guide to implementation and issues for practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 23-34
38Philip Jones. 2012. Public law and human rights statutes. 2011-2012. London: Routledge, 20-21
39Heather, managing conflict, 98
40Philips, Public law, 21