April 24, 2024 | In Blog

Cyberbullying in Ghanaian Corporate Spaces: A Legal Perspective

From schoolyard bullying to workplace intimidation, sadly bullying doesn't just vanish with age nowadays, it evolves. Isn't it time we put an end to this toxic cycle?

In the digital age, the emergence of cyberbullying has transcended traditional boundaries, infiltrating various facets of society, including corporate environments. In Ghana, as elsewhere, this subtle phenomenon poses unique challenges for businesses, necessitating a better understanding of its legal implications. This article seeks to explore the landscape of cyberbullying in Ghanaian corporate spaces through a legal lens, shedding light on its effects and guiding principles for mitigation.

Have you ever been a victim of negative comments online that left you or your business angry, sad, or threatened? Social media platforms offer a fantastic way to connect with others, share ideas and experiences, and even discover new businesses. However, these spaces can sometimes become breeding grounds for negativity, with serious consequences for both individuals and businesses.

According to Ghana's Cybersecurity Authority, established by the Cybersecurity Act 2020 (Act 1038), cyberbullying occurs through electronic devices like phones, computers, and tablets. It involves the deliberate sharing of negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. This can also include spreading personal or private information to cause embarrassment or humiliation.

Several unlicensed (according to the Bank of Ghana notice (BG/GOV/SEC/2022/10)) mobile applications in Ghana have been identified for offering loans with varying interest rates and repayment conditions. When borrowers fail to meet repayment obligations, the app owners’ resort to threatening them by publicly labeling them as wanted individuals or fraudsters on social media platforms and to their acquaintances. Some instances have been reported where these threats have been acted upon. Furthermore, individuals who have not borrowed from these apps have also received such threatening messages. Victims commonly grant these apps permissions during installation, either unknowingly or without thorough scrutiny, thereby allowing access to their personal data such as name, phone number, Ghana card ID number, contacts, and photos.

Within Ghanaian law, cyberbullying is not explicitly defined or addressed. However, existing statutes and regulations provide avenues for remedy against such misconduct. The Electronic Transactions Act, 2008 (Act 772), for instance, prohibits unauthorized access, interception, or interference with electronic communications—a provision that may encompass certain forms of cyberbullying. Additionally, the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), imposes obligations on data controllers to ensure the security and confidentiality of personal data, safeguarding individuals against unauthorized use or disclosure.

Business entities operating in Ghana bear a duty of care towards their employees, encompassing protection from harassment and discrimination, both in physical and virtual environments. Failure to implement adequate measures to prevent or address cyberbullying may render companies liable for negligence, exposing them to legal action and reputational damage. Moreover, the abundance of cyberbullying within corporate networks underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity protocols and employee training initiatives.

Employees facing cyberbullying have legal options available to them. However, before resorting to legal remedies, it is important that employees or victims of cyberbullying DO NOT RESPOND to such posts. If they do, they are likely to fall into the trap of becoming cyber bullies themselves. Victims can lodge complaints with regulatory bodies or take civil action against both the bullies and their employers. Apart from legal consequences, bullies also risk losing friends, damage their reputation and may also ruin or limit future opportunities (business, or otherwise) etc. Internal grievance procedures and workplace policies also play a crucial role in addressing cyberbullying incidents, promoting a culture of accountability and support within organizations.

Taking proactive steps is vital to combat cyberbullying in corporate environments. Companies should develop thorough cybersecurity policies covering acceptable online behavior, procedures for reporting incidents, and support mechanisms for affected employees. Awareness campaigns and training programs can empower employees to recognize and respond to cyberbullying effectively, fostering a culture of digital resilience and respect.

Given the increasing prevalence of cyberbullying in Ghanaian workplaces, a comprehensive approach is necessary to address its legal, ethical, and social aspects. By prioritizing proactive measures and promoting digital responsibility, businesses can reduce the risks associated with cyberbullying and create environments conducive to productivity, inclusivity, and well-being.

Employees can visit the Cyber Security Authority’s website at Cyber Bullying (csa.gov.gh), call or text 292 or whatsapp +233 501603111 to make reports through their approved means and for further education on the subject.

"People say sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you, but that's not true. Words can hurt. They hurt me. Things were said to me that I still haven't forgotten." - Demi Lovato


Abigail Rama Williams is a Senior Associate at Corporate and Allied Attorneys, a dynamic law firm, providing cutting edge legal services in Ghana. She is very proficient in handling transactions in corporate and commercial business, undertaking legal due diligence in investment transactions, immovable property acquisition estate and succession, family law and litigation/dispute resolution.

Rebecca Eliezer is a final year student at Ashesi University pursuing a degree in Business Administration. She is passionate entrepreneur, refugee education advocate and a lover of fashion. In her free time, she enjoys vlogging, singing, and designing clothes.