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May 2001

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Taking legal action for bullying
Since Walker v. Northumberland County Council, a bullied worker needs two stress breakdowns before legal action for psychiatric injury is likely to succeed. The new case of Long v. Mercury Mobile Communications Services has established an important precedent that a claim can be brought for the first stress breakdown following a period of bullying and harassment. Employers can no longer ignore bullying and will now find it much harder to defend themselves against the vicarious liability caused by the serial bully in their midst. Details at media/nr16.htm

The Long case follows these recent significant cases:

Johnson v. Unisys in which the Law Lords decreed that they see "no reason why, in an appropriate case, [the amount of compensation] should not include compensation for distress, humiliation, damage to their reputation in the community or to family life". This is the first time a judgement has indicated that unfair dismissal claimants might be compensated at tribunal for injury to feelings.

Waters v. London Metropolitan Police (action/waters.htm) in which the Law Lords decreed that an employee (or in this case an office holder) has the right to sue for negligence if bullying and harassment - which the employer was aware of but took no action to deal with - results in psychiatric injury.

Sheriff v. Klyne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd which decreed that personal injury resulting from discrimination and harassment should be judged at employment tribunal rather than in a separate personal injury case. Whether this also applies to bullying was not made clear.

Media requests
The media are always looking for people who have experienced bullying to take part in interviews. The latest include:

* Granada Television want to talk to people who have experienced bullying, harassment or unfair dismissal
* interviewees for an article on bullying in the voluntary sector for Third Sector magazine
* Yorkshire Television's Jobfinder needs somebody local, ie Humberside, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
* a national women's magazine wants to speak to a woman who has had a bad experience working at a call centre (possible fee for interview)
* Granada TV are looking for anyone in the UK who's had a bad experience working in a call centre

More details and who to contact at media/media.htm

Case histories
I've decided to include case histories at Bully OnLine. See cases/index.htm
If you'd like your story featured, send me an email containing not more than one A4 page of text. Anonymity and pseudonyms are OK.

Book review
Bullycide: death at playtime (successunlimited/books/bullycid.htm) was reviewed in the Times Education Supplement on Friday 4 May. The review concluded, "This is an excellent book."


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