21 April 2020
Employment Tribunals, Priti Patel, Sir Philip Rutnam and workplace bullying
The reporting of Sir Philip Rutnam’s tribunal claim against the Home Secretary Priti Patel, in which he alleges that he was the victim of workplace bullying, highlights the importance to employers of treating work place stress and bullying seriously.
It is imperative that employers familiarise themselves with the issues and their obligations to their employees, both in terms of taking preventative action to hopefully avoid such a claim being started in the first place, and to react appropriately in the event of a claim.
The obvious starting point is to ensure that the employer has in place the appropriate procedures to ensure that employees feel comfortable with identifying and reporting such an issue in the first place. It is important that employers have comprehensive whistleblowing and grievance procedures and employees feel comfortable that they will not be victimised in any way if they make such a complaint.
If that is done, employers need to ensure that the matter is dealt with sensitively and that they provide an environment where the alleged victim has confidence that there will be no recriminations but at the same time must also be mindful of the well-being of the alleged perpetrator and ensure that they also feel supported and confident that they will be treated fairly with no automatic presumption of guilt. It is difficult to do both at the same time, but a failure could lead to claims by both the alleged victim as well as the alleged perpetrator for constructive dismissal as well as whistleblowing, the latter of which could lead to unlimited damages.
Our employment team can help with drafting of the relevant policies and also with providing bespoke training in this area. Speak to Kathryn Fielder or one of the team on 01753 889995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org