Rise in workplace bullying in Jersey, says JACS

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Bullying and harassment were ongoing concerns in Jersey workplaces in 2011.

The Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service (JACS), which offers advice to local employers and employees, said 2011 was their "busiest ever year, with over 9,800 client contacts".

David Witherington, the director at JACS, said in 2010 it had dealt with 238 bullying-related issues and last year that had increased to 280.

He said he believed the harsh economic climate had added to the problem.

He said until Jersey introduced a discrimination law the extent and damage caused by bullying would not be tackled.

Mr Witherington said there had been a 22% rise in inquires to JACS and 11% of calls were about redundancy and lay-offs.

'Zero hour contract'

Employment tribunal claims passed to JACS for conciliation was up 14% and of the 183, 72% were resolved without a hearing.

He welcomed the introduction of redundancy legislation in Jersey.

The director said one increasing problem in 2011 was in the misuse of variable hour contracts, which are sometimes called zero hour contracts.

He said: "These contracts are appropriate for temporary staff agencies... where there is no guarantee that work will be available."

But he said problems could arise when zero hour contracts were used for regular work.

He said this was because some employers believed it protected them from claims of unfair dismissal, the need to give notice and the obligation to make redundancy payments.

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