Checklist: Best Practice for Bringing Your Bullying and Harassment Policy into Line With The New Code of Practice

Posted in : Templates and Checklists ROI on 15 February 2021
Dr. Gerry McMahon
Productive Personnel Ltd
Issues covered: Bullying and Harassment Policy

Checklist of ‘best practices’ to bring your organisation’s bullying and harassment policy into line with the new W.R.C./H.S.A. Code Of Practice.



Check? (Y/N)

Does the policy underline the importance and value of an anti-bullying and an anti-harassment culture in the workplace?


Does the policy explain that it applies to all employees (incl. clients, customers and business contacts), irrespective of whether they are working at a fixed location, at home or are mobile and to off-site and work-related social events?


Does the policy cover bullying and harassment or is there a discrete ‘harassment’ policy?


Has the policy been the subject of consultation with appropriate parties (e.g. union, employee rep., safety rep., safety committee)?


Has a record of this consultation process been retained?


Does the policy have the imprimatur (i.e. signed and dated) of senior management?


Can the policy confirm that the risks of bullying and harassment have been assessed and preventative measures included in the organisation’s Safety Statement?


Does the policy explain the difference between bullying and harassment?


Does the policy give examples as to what constitutes bullying and harassment (incl. via cyber or digital means) and what doesn’t constitute bullying and harassment (e.g. ordinary performance management)?


Does the policy explain the effects of bullying and harassment?


Does the policy specify the role and responsibilities of all parties (e.g. management, employees, unions, non-employees)?


Does the policy explain that allegations of bullying and harassment behaviour will be dealt with sensitively and confidentially, they may lead to disciplinary action (incl. for malicious/vexatious complaints), but will not give rise to victimisation?


Does the policy explain that the ‘effect’ of such behaviour - rather than the ‘intent’ - is what counts (e.g. the ‘I was only having fun’ response is no defence).


Does the policy explain the procedures for processing complaints in these areas?


Does the policy explain the role of (and identify, with contact details) the Contact Person(s)?


Does the policy explain that it now provides for a ‘Secondary Informal Process’, to cover those scenarios where the first (informal) approach is unsuccessful or if the complainant or the employer deem it inappropriate given the seriousness of the issues complained about?


Does the policy explain the difference between the informal and the formal routes for progressing complaints (i.e. informal v secondary informal v mediation v investigation)?


Does the policy explain that access to the formal process (i.e. a fact-finding investigation) is not automatic and is now a ‘reasonable evidence-based decision’ of management?


Does the policy explain that informal discussion is often sufficient to alert the person concerned to the effects of the alleged behaviour and can lead to a greater understanding and agreement that the behaviour will stop?


Does the policy explain that where there are (even informal) complaints, the employer is now obliged to record the action(s) taken?


Does the policy explain the role/responsibilities/rights of a (trained and experienced) investigator, the complainant, the respondent/accused and witnesses under the formal process?


Does the policy explain the possible outcomes of an investigation?


Does the policy explain that training will be provided – and a record thereof retained - for ALL managers, supervisors, Contact Persons, Designated Persons (where appointed) and for all staff at induction or via appropriate awareness raising initiatives (incl. refresher sessions)?


Does the policy identify a ‘nominated person’ with responsibility for reviewing good practice in the workplace in respect of such matters (e.g. ensuring that monitoring, training and reviews happen)?


Does the policy include a commitment to monitoring and recording incidents of bullying and harassment at work? Does this commitment meet legal and confidentiality obligations?


Does the policy have a provision for updating (incl. refresher training)?


Does the policy include a commitment to the effective communication of its provisions (incl. incorporation into the Staff Handbook)?





This article is correct at 15/02/2021

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Dr. Gerry McMahon
Productive Personnel Ltd

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