A recent House of Lords ruling has made employers liable for workplace harassment even if they were not in any way negligent.
This landmark ruling could open the floodgates to new kinds of harassment claims!
The decision by the House of Lords is based on anti-stalking legislation which was used by an NHS employee to hold his employer responsible for a superior’s treatment of him. The law in question is 1997’s Protection from Harassment Act which does not define harassment.
The claim of William Majrowski was originally struck out by the Central London County Court by Judge Collins. “He held that the 1997 Act was not designed to create another level of liability in employment law. Employees are already adequately protected by the common law,” said the Judgement. The Court of Appeal overturned that decision.
The House of Lords decided that the Act covers the behaviour of employees at work even when the employer has not caused or failed to prevent the offending behaviour. Those employers now have vicarious liability for the acts of employees.
Previously employees had to prove that the employer was negligent in not stopping bullying taking place and that it had caused them psychological damage.
The new ruling means that companies can be sued even if the company cannot be expected to have known about the bullying. The decision has serious implications for employers as it gives employees who are bullied or harassed at work a further basis on which to claim compensation from their employers
So, what are companies doing to prevent the expense of possible legal action? Those who are not aware of bullying or harassment taking in place in the workplace, need to get aware and fast! They should open up the right channels of communication and encourage employees to voice their concerns at an early stage. Prevention is better than cure!
August sees the launch of a new service from 21st Century Business Ltd which will help firms address such issues. Contactpoint™ specifically meets the needs of employers by providing them with a 24 hour, 7 days a week, confidential, independent employee freephone hotline with a difference!
The difference is that it comes with the backing of a full professional business development service too– a first in the UK! Contactpoint™ not only provides a channel for information and support to employees it can then help the employer find the root cause of the problem, and help to solve issues quickly, whilst still maintaining employee confidentiality and protecting their anonymity if they desire.
“The benefits to staff and Employers, from using our Contactpoint™ service are numerous”, says Jayne Allman, Managing Director of 21st Century Business Ltd. Not only could it save firms the expense of legal claims, it could provide a healthier working environment by reducing stress in the workplace, bullying and harassment, reduce thefts and malpractice and alert Employers to potential health and safety risks.
Contactpoint™ also provides companies and their employees with professional Business and Personal Debt Advice.
For more information contact Jayne Allman in confidence by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Managing Director
- 21st Century Business Ltd
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