Labour Research January 2016

Law Queries


Q. We have a large group of members at a workplace where they all allege bullying by the same senior manager. What are their options?

A. Informal action is a possibility. The group may prefer to take action together, with you assisting them. This could be in the form of a conversation with the senior manager.

If informal action does not work, or is inappropriate, they could consider a formal grievance. They could submit a grievance individually, but it may be more effective to do so together. They will need to ensure that they adhere to the employer’s grievance procedure and the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. 

The employer should also have a policy addressing bullying. If there is no policy, this is an opportunity to negotiate a joint bullying policy. 

You and your members could suggest a risk assessment to formally document the extent of the bullying. Members should also keep a record. Depending on its nature, the bullying may give rise to a legal claim. For example, alleged racist bullying could be unlawful discrimination. Establish if your members require legal advice and ensure they are aware of any potential claims and limitation periods.

If your union is running an anti-bullying and harassment campaign, the members may wish to become active in this and encourage their colleagues to do likewise.