Whistleblowing Cases For Bullying On The Rise Despite Millions Working From Home
The level of bullying in the Home Office over the last two years has been revealed through a Freedom of Information request made by national law firm Irwin Mitchell.
According to the recent response from the Home Office, there were 233 complaints of bullying raised as grievances for management investigation during 2020 and 2021. Out of these cases 34 complaints resulted in a member of staff being disciplined.
The statistics cover the same period for when the government settled with former civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam over his claim for unfair dismissal.
The ex-Home Office boss quit amid bullying claims against Home Secretary Priti Patel, which she denies. It was claimed that Sir Philip received over £300,000 in damages as a result.
Employment lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say that the number of cases revealed by the FOI request appears high at a time when generally as a result of people working from home, the number of workplace bullying claims within the UK had fallen.
Expert Opinion“At a time when the number of bullying complaints reduced due to people working from home, the large number of bullying complaints at the Home Office appears disproportionate. Public bodies need to set an example and foster a culture of zero tolerance for such behaviour. The government’s failure to release the investigation report into the bullying allegations against Priti Patel suggests a lack of accountability from the top down.
“These figures are a stark reminder that despite organisations having large proportions of their staff working from home, many employees can still feel intimidated by colleagues and can have strong cases for bullying.
“We dealt with fewer cases of bullying during the lockdown, but it isn’t the case that it doesn’t go on just because people are not working face-to face.”
Shah Qureshi - Partner