Health & Safety

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Harassment and Violence Prevention

28 November 2009

Following a Europe-wide agreement between Employer groups and Trade Unions, new guidance has been produced on preventing harassment and violence in the workplace, aimed at giving practical help and support to firms and their employees.

Preventing Workplace Harassment and Violence booklet

The publication marks the first time that the Confederation of British Industry, the Partnership of Public Employers and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have come together to provide guidance on the subject of harassment and violence in the workplace.

The guidance is based on the premise that any form of harassment and violence against workers, whether committed by co-workers, managers or third-parties, is unacceptable.

The TUC stated 'No one wants to be harassed or attacked at work. People who suffer violence or harassment deserve all our support.'

European-level employer and trade union organisations agreed in 2007 on the need for action in relation to workplace harassment and violence, and the guidance has been drawn up by the UK organisations that are represented in the EU Social Dialogue in order to implement a European-level framework agreement.

The stated aim of the agreement was to raise awareness and increase understanding of employers, workers and their representatives of workplace harassment and both internal and third-party violence.

The second aim was to provide employers, workers and their representatives with a framework of response to identify, prevent and manage problems of harassment and all forms of violence at work.

The guidance has the support of the Government, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Health and Safety Executive and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

Tolerance, diversity, dignity and respect are benchmarks for business success, so it is in employers’ interests to identify and address the threat or occurrence of workplace harassment and violence. But employers also have legal duties to protect the health and safety of all their workers, so failure to deal with and take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and violence will undermine business performance and could be unlawful.

Any form of harassment and violence against workers, whether committed by co-workers, managers or third-parties, is unacceptable.