Advice to Representatives

Created on: 02 Aug 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023

All members are entitled to advice, support and help from the EIS.

Employment legislation requires that internal procedures are exhausted before proceeding further.

You should:-

  • ensure you know existing agreed policies on equality, bullying and harassment

  • support and publicise EIS policies against bullying and harassment

  • ensure you know EIS advice to members

  • ensure you know grievance and disciplinary procedure

  • refer to   EIS   Representative’s   handbook/Health   and   Safety handbook


Members may approach you for advice on this issue. It may be because they feel they have been subjected to harassment or bullying.

You should:-

  • treat cases of bullying and harassment sensitively and seriously

  • consider if one complaint is an indication of a widespread problem

  • ensure confidentiality

  • advise the member(s) of existing procedures

  • accompany the member(s) to meetings if called

  • take notes of meetings


You should remember that people are reluctant to complain about such behaviour and very often approach you after having tolerated it for a long time. They will be feeling very vulnerable. Ensure that the member(s) are fully aware of policies relating to this issue. Do not judge or minimise the complaint. Do not exert pressure on the member.

Someone who has been accused of this type of behaviour may also approach you. The person may either deny the behaviour took place or not recognise that the behaviour is unacceptable. Ensure that the member is fully aware of policies and advice relating to this issue.

The most important advice is the EIS protocol on casework handling:

  1. Grievance Procedure

5.1 The EIS will provide advice to any member regarding grievance procedures, including any member acting in a management capacity, subject to the provisos set out below.

5.2 The EIS will not normally provide representation to a member who is acting in a management capacity in a grievance.

5.3 However, in certain circumstances representation may be provided. In deciding upon such representation consideration will be given to the nature of the grievance, including in particular whether the grievance relates to a decision of a member acting in a management capacity implementing the employer’s policies, or to a decision otherwise involving an action or the exercise of judgement by a manager. Account will also be taken of the level of support provided to the member by the employer.

5.4 In considering representation the EIS has no obligation to defend the policies, procedures and practices of any employer.

5.5 Where a member raises a complaint in terms of Harassment/Bullying against another member advice should be provided to both members if requested. As in 5.3 above, in certain circumstances the EIS may provide representation to a member who is acting in a management capacity.

5.6 It is the duty of the employer to provide legal advice and assistance where necessary to employees exercising management functions on its behalf. If an employer fails in this duty the EIS will give consideration to the provision of representation to the member to pursue a grievance against the employer.

5.7 Where members are in conflict on an issue advice/representation will not be provided by the same official.

‘EIS Representatives Handbook: Support Policy and Advice’

Contact your local association secretary:-

  • for advice on this issue

  • if you feel the situation is too difficult or serious for you to deal with

  • if both parties involved are members and ask for support or representation

As an EIS representative you should not tolerate bullying or harassment arising from your trade union duties/activities.