Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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New guidance on preventing workplace harassment and violence launched

New guidance on preventing workplace harassment and violence launched

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 17 November 2009

GOVERNMENT, EMPLOYERS AND UNIONS BACK NEW GUIDE Employers, unions and the government joined forces today to promote new guidance on preventing harassment and violence in the workplace.

The guidance, which follows a Europe-wide agreement between employers’ organisations and unions, aims to give practical help and support to firms and their employees.

The guide signals the first time that the CBI, (Confederation of British Industry), the Partnership of Public Employers (PPE) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have come together to provide guidance on harassment and violence in the workplace. The guidance has the support of the Government, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Speaking at the launch in central London today, Employment Relations Minister Lord Young said:

“Workplace harassment and violence is unacceptable and the Government is committed to addressing these problems. By making sure that employers understand their obligations and workers understand their rights we can promote a better workplace culture.

“This guidance is another step in the right direction and is the product of employers and unions working together with Government and the relevant agencies”.

Katja Hall, Director of Employment Policy, CBI, said:

“Workplace harassment and violence should not be tolerated. We hope this publication will give employers a useful guide to assessing the risks to their employees, and help them with the steps they could take to make sure employees are protected.”

TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“No one wants to be harassed or attacked at work. People who suffer violence or harassment deserve all our support. It would be far better if things weren’t allowed to go wrong. So unions are committed to working with employers to make workplaces better and safer, and to make sure that people at work are treated with respect.”

PPE Director Tina Weber said:

“Public service employers strongly support the launch of this guidance. We were particularly keen to include the issue of harassment and violence perpetrated by service users as this is regrettably becoming increasingly common. Public service workers deserve to be able to carry out their important functions free from the threat of – or indeed actual physical and verbal abuse. We hope that the launch of this publication will raise awareness of this issue and will provide employers and employees with a useful tool to help address it”.

Notes to Editors

A copy of Preventing Workplace Harassment and Violence – joint guidance implementing a European social partner agreement, can be found here:

The stated aim of the agreement is to:

· Raise awareness and increase understanding of employers, workers and their representatives of workplace harassment and both internal and third party violence;

· Provide employers, workers and their representatives with a framework of response to identify, prevent and manage problems of harassment and all forms of violence at work.

The European agreement defines harassment and violence as unacceptable behaviour by one or more individuals that can take many different forms, some of which may be more easily identifiable than others. Harassment occurs when someone is repeatedly and deliberately abused, threatened and / or humiliated in circumstances relating to work. Violence occurs when one or more worker or manager is assaulted in circumstances relating to work. Both may be carried out by one or more manager, worker, service user or member of the public with the purpose or effect of violating a manager’s or worker’s dignity, affecting his / her health and / or creating a hostile work environment.

For media enquiries only contact:Matt Barker in the BIS press office on 020 7215 5946CBI press office on 020 7395 8090, out of hours pager 07623 977 854 or email Chinchenin the TUC press office on 020 7467 1248

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


BIS Press Office

Matthew Barker
Phone: 020 7215 5946

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