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New Guidelines on Workplace Bullying

The Workplace Relations Commission and the Health and Safety Authority have teamed up to promote a new Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work. The new Code of Practice replaces two older codes of practice that had been introduced separately by the Health and Safety Authority and the Labour Relations Commission in 2007 and 2002 respectively.

The Regulations introducing the new Code of Practice (S.I. 674/2020) were signed by Damien English, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on 22 December 2020. However, the Code of Practice itself was only published in January 2021.

The Code of Practice does not have the status of law or legislation. It is not strictly binding on employers or employees. It does, however, effectively indicate what the State regards as best practice in the area.

In addition, Section 42(4) of the Industrial Relations Act 1990 provides that in any proceedings before a court, the Labour Court or the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) (1) a code of practice is admissible in evidence and (2) any provision of the code which appears to the court, body or officer concerned to be relevant to any question arising shall be taken into account in determining that question.

In short, employers are advised to carefully review the new Code of Practice and to revise and potentially update their dignity at work policies and procedures. The new Code can be downloaded from the WRC here.

For further advice on how to interpret and apply the new Code of Practice please contact our employment law team led by Adrian Twomey on 053-9249920.


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