A revised Bullying Prevention Policy was introduced for ETB staff with effect from the 1st of September 2013.
TUI endeavoured, through the ETBI/Union Consultative Forum, to streamline the previous procedure in order to alleviate the stress that such procedures cause for our members.
Two key differences in the new policy are: (a) strict deadlines have been set during the ‘Formal Process’ and (b) the Stage 3 appeal will be made directly to the LRC Appeals Officer. Such an appeal was previously heard by a Complaints Consideration Committee (CCC) as an intermediate stage between the investigation and the LRC appeals officer. By giving the sole appellate function to the LRC, the process may now be completed over a much shorter time-scale, alleviating stress for all concerned.
The new Bullying Prevention Policy also introduces an ‘Informal Procedure’ which includes the voluntary option of mediation (see below).
Definition of Bullying
The policy defines bullying as:
“Repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work. An isolated incident of the behaviour in this definition may be an affront to dignity but as a once-off incident is not considered to be bullying”.
Bullying is considered to be regular, persistent, inappropriate behaviour, targeted at one employee or a group of employees and it occurs over a period of time.
Bullying is not an isolated incident. It is not the fair and constructive criticism of an employee, reasonable discipline or legitimate management response to crisis situations.
Complaints Timeframe - Limitations
Except in exceptional circumstances, formal or informal complaints must be made within six months of the most recent incident(s) of alleged bullying.
By entering the ‘Informal Procedure’, a staff member may discuss the matter, on a confidential basis, with the ETB’s Contact Person in the HR Department. The Contact Person will help the staff member understand the nature of the behaviour, outline the options available (including mediation – see below) and provide the staff member with the agreed procedure and associated documents.
Click here to see the list of Contact Persons
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process for resolving disputes, in which the parties agree to attempt to resolve the issues of the dispute with the aid of an accredited professional mediator. The parties may opt for the services of a professional mediator by mutual agreement only.
The mediator will convene a series of structured sessions with the parties to the complaint, with a view to achieving a resolution of the complaint.
Engaging in mediation does not prejudice any individual’s right to re-engage in the formal procedure, recommencing at the same stage as before mediation was entered into. All matters related to the mediated process remain strictly confidential to the parties themselves. The mediator will advise the Head of HR of the date of conclusion of the mediation and the outcome to the mediation.
Prior to the commencement of mediation, parties must sign a mediation agreement, agreeing that the process will not assign blame, that parties will find their own solutions and that the process is voluntary.
A mediator shall be nominated by the Head of HR from one of the following:
The LRC Workplace Mediation Service
The Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII)
Mediation Forum Ireland (MFI)
Formal Stage of the Procedure
The ‘Formal Stage’ is an industrial relations procedure and not a legal procedure. Where legal action is invoked by any party, the policy will be suspended.
During the Formal Procedure:
Written agreement (email / letter) must be provided in order to proceed through the formal procedure.
There is right for both parties to have representation at all stages.
All formal complaints should be in writing.
No allegations which have been previously investigated can be included.
When the process has been completed, the investigation report and all associated documents will be filed, on a strictly confidential basis, with the Head of HR in the ETB.
All matters are dealt with on a strictly confidential basis.
Stages of the Formal Procedure
Stage 1 – Investigation (to be completed within 40 working days)
Stage 2 – Decision by the ETB (to be completed within 15 working days)
Stage 3 – Appeal (must be lodged within 15 working days)
Click here to download the Bullying Prevention Policy
Click here to download the Guidance Notes