Published: 06:00, 20 November 2020
An apology has been given to three members of staff at New Romney Town Council (NRTC) after they complained of being bullied by a serving councillor.
The members of staff, all town council officers, issued a joint complaint against the unnamed councillor for treating them in an 'unacceptable manner'.
Following an investigation by the authority through a grievance panel, the complaint has been upheld.
NRTC now accepts that the treatment by the councillor towards the officers could have been perceived as 'bullying or harassment'.
It was found that one of the officers was subject to this behaviour 'over an extended period', while the other two officers were subjected to bullying over a 'lesser period'.
But a statement from NRTC accepts that this behaviour had a 'detrimental impact on the health and well-being' of the victims.
It has also admitted that it failed to provide a 'safe working environment that is free from bullying or harassment'.
The council has now issued an apology and says it will do better in the future.
The full statement reads: "NRTC confirms that it has upheld a joint staff grievance.
"In so doing, the town council has accepted that, over an extended period, one town council officer - and over a lesser period, two further town council officers - have been treated by an individual councillor in an unacceptable manner which, in the view of the town council, can reasonably have been perceived by those officers as bullying or harassment.
"It is accepted by the town council that this behaviour had a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of those officers.
"NRTC does not in any way condone such behaviour.
"The town council recognises its duty to separate out unacceptable behaviour amongst council members amidst the politics of council business - which may come under the remit of the Code of Conduct regime - and the requirements of employment law which provide that the town council must protect its employees from unacceptable behaviour towards them.
"NRTC accepts that it has failed in its duty as an employer to ensure that its employees are provided with a safe working environment that is free from bullying or harassment.
"For this failure, the town council conveys to those officers its sincere apologies and would like to confirm that it is taking steps to ensure that its officers are provided with a safe working environment going forward."
The councillor has not been named by NRTC.