The Civil Service policy dealing with bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace — A Positive Working Environment — was introduced across the Civil Service in July 2000. A copy of the policy was distributed to all staff in my Department. The policy was reviewed last year to take account of subsequent developments at national and EU level and also to take on board the experience gained in the operation of the original policy. A revised policy came into effect from 1 September 2005, which is designed to ensure compliance with codes of practice issued under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005; the Industrial Relations Act 1990 and the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004.
A copy of the revised policy was issued to all staff in my Department, along with an information leaflet. The policy document is also available electronically on internal shared computer systems. Information on the revised policy is given to all new staff at entry to the Department and information and advice in regard to dealing with allegations of bullying are given on departmental management training courses.
There are three outstanding law cases taken by employees of this Department in regard to allegations of bullying. One case has been settled since 1 January 2000. Legislation in the area of employment law is not the responsibility of this Department. Policies for the Civil Service in regard to bullying are issued centrally through the Department of Finance. My Department is committed to the implementation of these policies and procedures, which are aimed at ensuring that the work environment is free from bullying and harassment and that any cases of complaint, which arise, are investigated as appropriate.