Preventing and Resolving Bullying in the Workplace

Preventing and Resolving Bullying in the Workplace

Introduction – Why this event and why now?

The consequence of bullying at work can be significant for employees and employers, including high staff turnover, poor morale, legal costs in defending claims and an overall unhealthy atmosphere to work in. 

There is a new unified Code of Practice for Employers and Employees On The Prevention And Resolution Of Bullying At Work from the Workplace Relations Commission and the Health and Safety Authority. It applies to all workplaces in Ireland, irrespective of whether employees work at a fixed location, at home or are mobile.

It provides practical guidance for employers on identifying and preventing bullying at work arising from their duties under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.  It also applies to employees in relation to their duties under the 2005 Act to ‘not engage in improper conduct or behaviour that is likely to endanger his or her own safety, health and welfare at work or that of any other person’.

The code provides greater emphasis on the informal resolution of bullying issues through a 2-step process, which it is hoped will resolve many issues and avoid the need for formal complaints or external referral to the WRC or the HSA.  

But what does this mean in practice for employers and how can you ensure your policies and procedures are compliant with the Code?  Also, the Code places great emphasis on the need for employers to ensure that anyone involved in managing complaints receives appropriate training.

Why is this event important for you?

This event from Legal Island is a must for anyone who is involved in the resolution of bullying complaints in the workplace, including HR professionals, supervisors, managers and anyone involved in the informal processes, e.g. “contact persons” and “nominated persons”, as defined in the Code.  

While following the Code is not itself a legal requirement, it does provide that alleged breaches or contraventions of the Code’s provisions are admissible in evidence and will be considered by the adjudicating body should any external complaints arise.  Simply put, employers - ignore the Code at your peril.

After attending you will:

Have a clearer understanding of what you need to do within your organisation to ensure your policies and procedures for dealing with bullying in the workplace are up to date and in line with the new Code.

Course overview:

Throughout the day we will take you on a journey through the process of dealing with complaints in line with the new code including:

  • An overview of changes introduced by the unified Code.
  • How to recognise bullying, including differentiating between bullying and harassment and bullying and strong line management.
  • A discussion around whether you should have separate bullying and harassment policies or whether you could have one ‘dignity at work’ policy and what that might include.
  • A review of the roles involved and the process of informal resolution including that of the initial “contact person” and the more involved “nominated person”.  
  • What happens next should informal resolution fail to work.

When & Where?

The event will be held online using a user-friendly platform Newrow between 09.20 – 15.45 on Thursday 10 June 2021, with plenty of time for rest breaks during the day. 


Early Bird Rate: €245 (deadline 5pm on Friday 21 May 2021)
Standard Rate: €295
Save an additional €20 when you pay online when booking.

More about Newrow

This event will be hosted on a Browser based platform named Newrow. In order to access the event correctly, you will need to use the Google Chrome browser. This is the only browser that will work, please do not use Internet Explorer, MS Edge or Mozilla Firefox. We understand that some IT policies may not allow downloading of new browsers, so if this is the case for you please use your own personal device to access the event and if you do not have Google Chrome installed, you can download it here - or on the Google Play/App Store for tablets and iPads.

If you would like further information regarding your Browser please contact us at and we will be happy to discuss with you further.

Upon entering the event Newrow will prompt you to enter only your full name and email address, there is no need to register a password. 





Welcome and Introductions to our speakers for today


An Overview of the New Code

Dr Gerry McMahon, MD of Productive Personnel Ltd, outlines the main areas of the new code, highlighting changes and additions from the previous two versions.


Bullying and Harassment – the same or different?

The terms bullying and harassment are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact two distinct concepts. While the new code is focused on eradicating bullying in the workplace it is important to be aware of the differences between the two. 


Bláthnaid Evans, Head of Employment at Leman Solicitors, leads this interactive session with a discussion around the legal definitions of the concepts, including cyber bullying and harassment, and areas of overlap.


Q&A with Bláthnaid and Gerry


Morning Break


Bulling or Effective Management?

The code highlights the fact that management techniques such as providing objective criticisms and corrections to provide constructive feedback are not usually considered to be bullying and goes on to outline examples of what actions are not considered to be bullying.  However, there is often a wide difference in perception among employees from those who are very sensitive and take things very personally to those who are not easily offended.

In this session Gerry McMahon outlines the potential differences between bullying and strong management providing guidance on the types of questions that should be used to elicit information to help determine the way forward.  Gerry also touches on the new Right to Disconnect Code and the implications of this for management.


Q&A Gerry


One Policy or Two?

The new unified code applies to workplace bullying but also states that employers may opt to have one procedure/policy that deals with both bullying and harassment procedures. 

In this session, Bláthnaid Evans discusses the pros and cons of having separate bullying and harassment policies or having one Dignity at Work Policy that is compliant with the new code and the IHREC code. 


Screen Break


Dealing Informally with Complaints: The Role of the Contact Person

The new code places greater emphasis on informal resolution of complaints, particularly where the parties involved must continue to work together.  It highlights two distinct and separate roles for employees – the contact person and the nominated person.

In this interactive session, Dr Gerry McMahon summarises the main steps involved in informal resolution and highlights the skills and training required to ensure the first category – contact persons - tasked with informal resolution are properly equipped to do so.


Q&A Gerry and Bláthnaid




Secondary Informal Process: The Role of the Nominated Person

In this interactive session Gerry McMahon focusses on the role of the ‘nominated persons’ involved in leading the secondary informal process – a new concept outlined in the unified code.  This is a much more involved role (with elements of coaching and mediation) and Gerry offers practical guidance for employers on how to recruit and train nominated persons required under the new code. 




When all Else Fails…..

In this final session of the day, Bláthnaid Evans considers the next steps for an employer when the informal processes do not work, and the complaint needs to be dealt with under the formal part of the process.

Bláthnaid outlines the key indicators of good practice in managing complaints formally and will also discuss the role of the WRC/HSA when all internal processes have been concluded.


Final Q&A Bláthnaid and Gerry




"I found it excellent – Gerry was really expert, he was very respectful of the participants and readily answered all questions. He was a fund of information and had a style that combined sharing of knowledge with a sense of humour and a very collaborative approach."
Susie Hall, Principal, Susie Hall Meditation

"I liked the course content & the course instructor, Gerry McMahon."
Elaine De Courcy, SDCC

"Good course content and course leader."
Barry Kavanagh, HR Manager, Houses of the Oireachtas Service

"Blathnaid presented great, and I came away with useful hints and tips that I can apply and approve on in my working day."
Carmel Kelly, HR Officer, Sam Dennigan & Company



  • Dr Gerry McMahon
    Dr Gerry McMahon Managing Director
    Productive Personnel Ltd

    Gerry McMahon is acknowledged as a national expert in the area of People Management and Employee Relations.  He has over 30 years’ experience working as a presenter cum lecturer in the area, across a host of reputable public and private sector, 3rd level educational and academic institutions.  He has also got extensive experience working as a consultant, negotiator, trainer, adjudicator, mediator, coach, team builder, investigator, researcher, facilitator, arbitrator and expert witness on behalf of a wide range of Government departments, public sector enterprises, semi-state entities, blue chip companies, professional institutes, trade unions, employer and community\voluntary and religious organisations.

  • Bláthnaid Evans
    Bláthnaid Evans Partner & Head of Employment Practice
    Leman Solicitors

    Bláthnaid has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, having trained in one of the leading trade union / employee firms and subsequently working in a top 5 law firm.

    She advises on all contentious and non-contentious issues, with substantial experience in advising clients before all employment law forums including the WRC, Labour Court and High Court for employment-related injunctions.

Early Bird Offer

Save up to €50

Event details


9.20am - 3.45pm


10 June 2021




Early Bird Rate: €245 (deadline 5pm on Friday 21 May 2021)
Standard Rate: €295
Save an additional €20 when you pay online when booking.