In all contracts of employment, there is an implied duty of mutual trust and confidence between the employer and the employee. Failure to tackle instances of bullying and harassment is likely to amount to a breach of trust and confidence, which in turn amounts to a breach of contract. An employee who is bullied or harassed at work and/or not provided with support following a complaint may be able to resign and bring a claim for constructive dismissal to an employment tribunal.

Irrespective of the legal position, employers should strive to eliminate bullying and harassment in the workplace as both have a detrimental effect on employee morale and motivation and can lead to significant periods of time off through stress or mental illness.

This topic defines bullying, cyberbullying and harassment and gives advice on how to develop and put into practice a bullying and harassment policy. It also covers how to investigate an allegation and how to deal with bullying by a third party. It considers what to do if an allegation of bullying proves to be unfounded. Finally it explores some of the legal grounds employees have for claims against an employer who has failed to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace.

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