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Unite says Cassaglia ruling is ‘big blow’ for workers

Photo by Eyleen Gomez.

Unite the Union said the Court of Appeal’s judgement in the GHA bullying case was “a big blow” for workers.

The union was reacting after three veteran appeal judges said in a ruling that conduct attributed to former Medical Director Dr Daniel Cassaglia did not amount to bullying in law.

The judges found that inappropriate conduct had to be persistent in order to be classed as bullying.

In reaching their decision, the judges also suggested that Parliament review the legislation, which they described as “puzzling” and unclear.

Unite, while unhappy with the outcome, echoed that criticism of the legislation and called for its urgent reform.

“This judgment is a big blow for anyone that has been subjected to bullying behaviour in the workplace and for those that will unfortunately be bullied in the future,” said Stuart Davies, National Officer for Unite Gibraltar.

“This litigation was not just about protecting Unite members that were subjected to inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, but creating case law that others working in Gibraltar could rely upon for protection and to place employers on notice as to their responsibilities to eradicate bullying.”

“The Court of Appeal, following the Supreme Court has unpicked the successful employment tribunal judgment and we are left with an unsatisfactory interpretation of the legislation when it comes to the definition of bullying and whether an employer can be held responsible in law for bullying behaviour in their workplace.”

“The Court of Appeal did comment that the Act was not ‘easy to interpret or apply’ and that there is a lack of clarity as to ‘precisely what amounts to unlawful bullying and when the employer will be personally liable for the acts of bullying’.”

“The judgment cited that Parliament ‘might think it appropriate to amend the legislation to clarify these difficult and important issues’ and Unite will be campaigning for these changes.”

“If the law remains ineffective in dealing with issues of bullying in the workplace and we see no reform, in future these issues will have to be addressed industrially.”

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