Date Fri 29 December 2006
Stalker law can now be used to ward off harassment at work - UNISON
UNISON, Scotland's largest union has written to all its branches
advising them to begin using legislation brought in to tackle stalking
in 1997 to defend members who may be harassed either physically
or verbally at work.
The Protection from Harassment Act has been recently strengthened
by an amendment to other legislation, and more importantly by a
string of case law victories. The union now thinks it will be more
effective in allowing workers who suffer from harassment to take
action against the harasser- whether they are representing the employer
or a member of the public - or the employer themselves.
Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser said "Legal action in
cases of assault, bullying or harassment not only provides a potential
remedy for the individual member - but can also act as a deterrent
for others. With more than 20,000 violent incidents recorded in
the NHS and local government in Scotland last year this legislation
can play a part in delivering the comprehensive package of measures
required to tackle harassment at work."
The remedies include pursuing damages through cases in the civil
courts - similar to personal injury cases - or in extreme cases,
getting a Non Harassment Order (NHO) - similar to an ASBO - awarded
against the harasser, breach of which could land them in jail. This
last would be a criminal conviction.
Although the provision can be used for criminal proceedings and
therefore initiated by the police and pursued by the Procurator
Fiscal, the real importance is the availability of civil proceedings
whereby the member can initiate and pursue an effective remedy themselves
with legal assistance from UNISON.
ENDS [Note for Editors - the briefing -Tackling Harassment at Work
will soon be available on UNISONScotland's website. http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/harassmentprotect.html
For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish
Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)