What Workplace Bullying Is and Is Not

Disciplinary Procedures

What is Bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, which may be verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by a person(s) against an other person(s), which takes place in the workplace or in the course of person(s) employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work


A characteristic of bullying is that it usually takes places over a period of time / is repeated. An isolated incident of inappropriate behaviour, as described above, may be an affront to dignity at work but as a once off incident is not considered to be bullying.


What Bullying is Not

It is also important to note what is not bullying.


The following is stated in the Code of Practice from the Health & Safety Authority:


“Bullying at work does not include reasonable and essential discipline arising from the good management of the performance of an employee at work or actions taken which can be justified as regards the safety, health and welfare of the employee.


For example, an employee whose performance is continuously signalled at a level below required targets may feel threatened and insecure in their work but this in itself does not indicate bullying.”


Thus, in the examples listed below, it will be deemed that bullying has not occurred:


  • Instructions and requests made by managers in the course of work
  • Reviewing and managing the performance of an employee including managing poor performance, behaviour or conduct and giving feedback including positive or negative feedback


How Can We Help You?



We provide advice and guidance on the proper procedure for conducting Investigations, Hearings and Appeals or we can lead and conduct investigations, hearings and appeals where you may require external, independent, expertise.  Click also on Disciplinary/Dismissal Procedures and Bullying Procedures for more information.




Next Steps

If you are an employer and have any questions, please contact your CollierBroderick HR Advisor, call us on 01 8666426contact us, or email us on enquiries@collierbroderick.ie.