Reporting a concern
HSE is always obliged to make decisions on any investigations in light of other reactive priorities, so this should not be read as a guarantee of how HSE will respond to any specific concern.
HSE will consider investigating concerns about work-related stress where:
- There is evidence that a number of staff are currently experiencing work-related stress or stress-related ill health, (ie that it is not an individual case), but
- HSE is not the appropriate body to investigate concerns solely related to individual cases of bullying or harassment, but may consider this if there is evidence of a wider organisational failing, and
- HSE would expect concerns about work-related stress to have been raised already with the employer, and for the employer to have been given sufficient time to respond accordingly.
HSE does not seek to apply the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 where there is other more specific legislation or a more appropriate regulator. Cases of bullying and harassment would more commonly be dealt with as issues of discipline eg breaches of policies on expected behaviours, discrimination, victimisation or equality.
- HSE is not the primary authority on these issues and it would generally signpost to Acas for issues of bullying or harassment.
- Where these issues are targeted at one the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, such action may constitute an offence and HSE would signpost to Equality and Human Rights Commission or Equality Advisory and Support Service.
- More serious cases may constitute offences under criminal law including where there is physical violence, or a breach of the Protection from Harassment Act and correspondents would be signposted to the Police.