Rachael's Bullying and Respect at Work Bill

A new bill to tackle bullying at work will be presented to Parliament this Tuesday 11th July by Rachael Maskell MP, for York Central.

Rachael’s Bullying and Respect at Work Bill, which is being sponsored by a cross-party group of MPs, is proposing legislation that, for the first time, would –

  • Provide a legal definition of bullying,
  • Introduce a Respect at Work code
  • Provide new legal routes for people to pursue bullying claims without leaving their jobs
  • Enable formal reporting, investigation and enforcement

Workplace bullying is a pervasive and widespread problem in the UK. Research suggests 4.9 million people, or 15% of the UK workforce*, have experienced bullying at work. It is one of the main causes of stress and anxiety at work, and workplace conflict is estimated to be costing UK businesses over £28bn each year**.

Unlike harassment and discrimination, there is currently no legal definition of bullying at work, and no simple legal path for those who are struggling with it. Studies have found that less than half of those experiencing bullying report it*, and many of those say it made their situation worse. As things stand, very few claims can be pursued in the courts, and then only after the person has left their job.

Rachael Maskell MP said:

“Workplace bullying stories are never far from the headlines, with problems reported in the civil service, the media, the business community, and – of course – here in Westminster.

“Bullying not only causes stress and trauma to all those affected, but the damage it creates adds pressure to our NHS and puts more strain on our already fragile economy. Since becoming an MP I’ve had countless bullying cases and – as things stand – I’ve found there is often very little that can be done to help. 

“For far too long, bullying at work has been accepted as part of our working culture, but people across the country want this to stop. By providing a positive legal framework, my Bullying and Respect at work Bill will start to deliver the legal and cultural change we urgently need to create more positive workplaces and to help stamp out bullying at work.”

Nicki Eyre, Director of Conduct Change, and #StopHurtAtWork campaigner, said:

“I am delighted to see the proposed Bullying and Respect at Work Bill, being championed by Rachael Maskell. Our movement aims to shed light on the issue of workplace bullying and the urgent need for its recognition within the framework of UK legislation. 

“This Bill represents a significant step forward in the journey to addressing workplace bullying and fostering a culture of respect within UK workplaces. I am particularly pleased to see the cross party support this proposal has already achieved.

“While enacting laws alone cannot completely solve the problem, it is crucial to bridge the gap in current legislation. By doing so, I believe that the law can serve as a powerful deterrent against workplace bullying, offering much-needed clarity for employers on their responsibilities and obligations.”


The full title of the Bullying and Respect at Work Bill is:

“A Bill to provide for a statutory definition of bullying at work; to make provision relating to bullying at work, including to enable claims relating to workplace bullying to be considered by an employment tribunal; to provide for a Respect at Work Code to set minimum standards for positive and respectful work environments; to give powers to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to investigate workplaces and organisations where there is evidence of a culture of, or multiple incidents of, bullying and to take enforcement action; and for connected purposes.”

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