Employers warned to combat bullying after landmark decision

14 July 2006

The University and College Union (UCU) today welcomed the landmark decision by the House of Lords that will give extra protection to staff being bullied at work.

The union warned university and college employers to ensure they are seriously implementing their bullying and harassment policies or risk legal action.

In the case, brought by a health policy researcher working for Guys and St Thomas' NHS Trust, the highest UK Court rules that the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - originally introduced to deal with stalkers - now applies to harassment and bullying at work. The successful case was brought by Bill Majrowski, who suffered persistent homophobic bullying from his manager.

Roger Kline, UCU Head of Equality and Employment Rights for UCU, said: 'This case should set alarm bells ringing for all those employers who sit on their hands and look the other way when harassment and bullying takes place on their watch. We will be giving advice to all our representatives on the need for every institution in further and higher education to review their bullying and harassment policies and to take them seriously. The time for lip service is over.'

UCU Equality Unit head, Kate Heasman, added: 'This case is a warning to employers that they have to deal with the widespread bullying that exists in many universities and colleges. It will give extra protection to staff facing bullying and will be particularly welcomed by gay staff working in further and higher education. In too many institutions bullying is a silent disease which too many managers tolerate.'

Last updated: 15 December 2015