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Under the Human Rights Act (1998), everyone has a fundamental right to dignity and respect. And this includes in the workplace too.
Workplace bullying and abuse directly violates this basic right. Whether it’s on a personal or company-wide level, you can be held accountable if an employee suffers from it.
Through a dignity at work policy, you can ensure protection and security for your staff. Without rules in place, employees may suffer workplace harassment and bullying.
Any claims of unlawful conduct can lead to court hearing, costly compensation fees, and impacts to your business reputation.
Discover what to include in a dignity at work policy, UK legislation for workplace dignity, and how to promote a respectful workplace.
Dignity at work involves actively creating a workplace environment which encourages respect and acceptance. Any form of bullying, harassment, or discrimination should not be permitted.
Dignity and respect at work can equate to having a good level of:
• Diversity and inclusion.
• Equality and justice.
• Health and safety.
• Merit and reward.
• Fair practise and opportunities.
There isn’t a specific dignity and respect at work act; but there are other laws you need to follow.
The Dignity at Work Bill (2001) prohibits harassment, bullying, and any conduct which causes an employee to be ‘alarmed or distressed’. A dignity at work Act in UK law has not been motioned yet. But employers and offending employees are still legally accountable for workplace abuse.
The Equality Act (2010) covers actions which count as indignity and disrespect in the workplace. These unlawful actions can include
A breach of dignity at work laws and regulations can lead to disciplinary proceedings and possibly dismissal.
But it’s not just caused by employees – managers can also break rules through, abusing power, forcing overtime, and micromanaging.
Such disregard can make employees feel invaluable and disrespected – which can cause them to leave the business. Or even raise a claim of discrimination to an employment tribunal.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), you are legally responsible for the security and welfare of your staff. So, it’s vital to ensure employees treat each other with a positive regard and abide to zero-tolerance for disrespect.
Your workplace culture should aim to spot and report unacceptable behaviour – set it as a standard. Managers alike should deal with any issues raised through the correct reporting procedure.
Aim to build a safe and healthy workplace for your staff – it’s a clear representation of your legal duty of care.
Examples of dignity at work techniques can include:
• Having zero-tolerance for harassment, victimisation, and discrimination.
• Being considerate towards colleagues, clients, and non-workers.
• Celebrating workplace diversity and differences.
The best way to promote acceptable behaviour is through dignity at work policy and procedures.
Having regulations in place will set the standard in your business. A dignity at work procedure should include steps for reporting claims, followed by investigations, hearings, and verdicts.
Protecting dignity at work will benefit you and your staff. You can achieve it through a dignity at work policy; and aim to include the following steps.
From the day employees join your business, they should understand the rules for keeping dignity at work.
Introduce workplace conduct rules through your policy – as well as contracts and handbooks.
Encourage acceptable behaviour through everyday communication and interaction. That way, your employees can acknowledge and embody dignity, equality, and respect at work.
Managers should be trained on dealing with harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Make sure they enforce and comply with your regulations on a daily basis. Through a clear presence, your staff will understand their protected rights and the consequences for breaking them.
Create a dignity at work policy which suits your business setup. Once you’ve outlined your regulations, any signs of indignity will be easier to spot and manage.
Ensure you include governing laws and regulations; and provide definitions for any legal terms.
Policy compliance will help build a pleasing workplace environment. Your employees will appreciate working in a safe and comfortable setting. It’ll boost their morale and optimism; whilst securing loyalty and retention.
Providing a safe working environment is part of your duty of care for your employees. You should minimise all forms of bullying, harassment, and discrimination as soon as it’s raised.
If you fail to protect your staff members, you may risk them leaving your employment. And dealing with discrimination claims in tribunal courts is not only costly but can also negatively impact your business reputation.
Health Assured offers guidance on protecting the welfare and dignity of your staff. We provide a 24/7 helpline, that’s open 365 days a year – and can help you manage and care for your staff and their careers.
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