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HR news briefing News and analysis what July/August means for you

Workplace bullying claims reach record high The number of employment tribunals referencing bullying allegations reached a record high in the past 12 months.

Research from law firm Fox and Partners found there were 835 tribunals relating to bullying in 2021/22, up 44% from the previous year. The number of claims has more than doubled since the 412 recorded in 2017/18.

Hybrid working environments, the report said, have brought new forms of bullying to work, such as leaving colleagues out of remote meetings, comments over video calls and gossiping over messaging platforms.

Tim Pointer, chief people offi cer at CAA Brand Management, said that transparency is crucial. “When we’re aware of these concerns, it’s critical we react swi ly, compassionately, empathetically and thoroughly. It’s taking the time to really understand what’s taking place to listen to the issues being raised.

“It’s about giving the individual control of the situation as much as you possibly can and ensuring that they understand the next steps that will be followed, how long that’s going to take and the type of actions you’re going to work through.”

Ivor Adair, partner at law firm Fox and Partners, said the results were an indictment of senior leadership: “The record number of bullying claims is a worrying sign that some leadership teams have struggled to maintain healthy workplaces during the shi to hybrid working.”

Government commits to supporting older workers The government pledged a £22m investment to get over-50s back into work.

Brewdog’s transparency dashboard – PR stunt or real change? Brewdog relaunched its transparency dashboard,

displaying the company’s progress on commitments to the environment and carbon cutting.

Unfairness driving away black employees Black employees are far more likely than their white counterparts to say the company they work for doesn’t treat them fairly.

Long Covid recognised as disability in landmark tribunal

An employee with long Covid has won an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, becoming the first person to successfully claim the condition should be classed as a disability.

Scotland resident Terrance Burke was sacked from his job as caretaker at charity Turning Point Scotland in August 2021, where he had worked since 2001.

Burke had been unable to turn up to work for nine months a er suffering substantial and longterm side effects from Covid-19, which he contracted in 2020.

A er initial flu-like symptoms, he was le with severe fatigue and joint pain which rendered him unable to come to work. The tribunal gave Burke permission to bring a disability discrimination case a er ruling that the condition he described amounted to a disability under the Equality Act.

Catherine Turner, employment partner at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, suggested his case was aided by his inability to attend face-to-face GP appointments, meaning the tribunal was willing to accept less evidence. “Medical evidence is key in disability claims and the onus is on the individual to prove disability,” she added.

July/August 2022 HR 7

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