Employment Law in Ireland – Bullying

 

Click on any of the links below to learn more about that part of Company Law in Ireland.

 

KEY POINTS

Bullying claims are on the rise and in the absence of legislation are being litigated more and more in the High Court personal injuries list. Claims can be taken under a number of different headings including breach of contract, breach of duty, health & safety legislation and negligence.

The plaintiff in such claims has a number of hurdles which they must jump before they reach the threshold for a successful claim.

They first must prove the bullying is an actionable legal wrong in the sense that it meets the 1990 Code of Practice definition of bullying.

They must then meet the test with evidence as set down by Clarke J. in the Maher case: (a) recognisable psychiatric injury (b) Injury attributable to the workplace (causation), and (c) reasonably foreseeable harm.

The concept of “corporate bullying” seems to be gaining recoginition as per the judgments of Cross J. and this can have serious finanical implications in the payment of damages for employers.

Codes of practice & procedures and other such “in house” policies should provide a starting point at which to consider how to deal with claims by employees. However, they should conform to the principles of natural justice both in form and when put into practice.

Policies and procedures can be used in evidence in these types of claims and employer’s will face difficult questions in Court if they have failed to live up to their own procedures or if their procedures are manifestly unfair.

 

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