The very tragic death of Elliot Johnson has caused a political storm in the Conservative Party. Leaving aside the politics of the issue, what should an employer do if it becomes aware of bullying in the workplace? Well, it has several duties of care towards employees to take reasonable care of the health and safety of employees (including their mental health) and to provide a safe working environment (including taking reasonable steps to protect an employee from unacceptable behaviour such as bullying). Even if the employee does not wish to raise a grievance, the employer should still undertake an investigation to assess whether bullying has taken place and if so, then consider what reasonable steps it can take to prevent it happening in the future.
The Conservative Party bullying scandal deepened tonight as allegations emerged that chairman Lord Feldman was handed a 20-page dossier making complaints about activists including Mark Clarke five years ago. Patrick Sullivan, who runs a Tory think-tank called Parliament Street, told BBC Two’s Newsnight programme that hard copies of the report were also handed to Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, then the party’s co-chair. Mr Sullivan claimed that he and by Ben Howlett, now the MP for Bath, helped compile the document to tackle a wider “culture of bullying”.