News | August 1, 2019

Bullying and Sexual Harassment Our Services

Why is it important?

Conflict at work impacts productivity, increases sickness absence, leads to loss of talent and causes reputational damage. With the current media focus on these areas, workers feel more empowered to raise complaints and stakeholders are quicker to demand action. Government consultations will result in greater responsibility for businesses and those in senior positions, including an upcoming code of practice- there is a need to take action now.

Prevention and Protection

Effective and robust anti-harassment, equal opportunities and grievance policies are essential. However, the courts have made it clear that policies alone are not enough. It will be difficult to defend a claim reputationally and legally if more is not done.

Businesses also need to consider:

  • Training and employee engagement– regular and meaningful training on policies and standards to upskill senior management and the general workforce;
  • Coaching- one-to-one or group sessions for managers to help them better understand their role and how their behaviours affect direct reports;
  • Board and management initiatives– to help set the agenda and bring about cultural change; and
  • Investigations– impartial and robust processes for handling and resolving complaints.

It is not just new complaints. We are seeing an increase in historic allegations, including those made by or against former workers, even where there is a settlement agreement in place. There are particularly difficult issues to navigate with such allegations, including whether to investigate and what you should disclose.

How can we help?

We work closely with clients to implement both preventative and reactive measures, including:

  • Policies– providing bespoke documents that meet the needs of your business and incorporate updated guidance and change in trends;
  • Audits– analysing and reporting on key risks and developing on action plan;
  • Training and coaching- providing tailored sessions for your management and workforce;
  • Commercial advice– answering difficult questions including around legal obligations, risk management, confidentiality, settlement and the interaction with criminal proceedings;
  • Historic allegations- advising you on how to navigate this difficult area;
  • Investigations- providing legal and strategic support to management or even conducting processes on your behalf where matters are sensitive or financially high risk;
  • Dispute resolution and litigation– experts in resolving disputes in a way that satisfies commercial objectives, whether that be through disciplinary and grievance procedures, mediation, settlement or litigation; and
  • Reputation management– we work closely with our Media Team to support you whether a reactive or proactive approach is required.