Bullying at Work: Advice and Contacts
Unfortunately, workplace bullying / harassment does occur - whatever age you are or profession you are in. Bullying can take the form of various actions and some people do not realise they are being bullied. As with school bullies, workplace bullies can work individually or in a group and some people are singled out by these bullies for various reasons. This can range from race and religion to just not liking the fact that the employee is hardworking.
When bullying occurs it is all too easy for the employee to underplay the seriousness of the case. The victim can see bullying as a failure on their part and feel that by complaining or taking action against these bullies their position could be made worse.
Some common forms of bullying consist of:
- Deliberately overloading someone's workload in an aim to make them fail or maybe giving them impossible deadlines to increase stress and pressure
- Deliberately excluding an employee from activities (either work related or social activities).
- Making jokes about an employee
- Deliberately stopping any chance of promotion
- Undermining responsibility
- Making unnecessary threats with regards to job security
- Making unwanted sexual advances / comments. This could even involve unwanted sexual contact
If you are a victim of workplace bullying / harassment there are various actions you could take in an attempt to prevent future problems. The first thing to do is talk to the bully and warn them that if you experience further problems you will take further action. It could be that the bully does not realise the seriousness of the problem they have caused. If this does not help, you could carry out the following:
Speak to your manager or a colleague. Sometimes bullying may have occurred to more than just one person without anyone realising. If the manager is the bully, see their manager
Contact your Union Representative (if you have one)
Make a formal complaint. In your contract of employment you should have set procedures with regards to making complaints. This should include the steps you should take and relevant contacts
Another useful thing to do is keep a diary. By doing this, if you decide to make a formal complaint, you can back up your claims with exact records and dates etc. Employers who fail to eradicate bullying are actually breaking the law so it is in their interests to help as they and/or the bully may find themselves facing fines, compensation and possibly a jail sentence.
We are not experts in the area of workplace bullying. This page is to provide visitors with a starting point for advice and contacts. Below, we have found four sites you should find helpful. Please contact any of the below for further information.
- Safeworkers: http://www.safeworkers.co.uk
- Call the TUC's Know Your Rights helpline: 0870 600 4882, to obtain a leaflet.
- The Andrea Adams Trust: (01273) 704900 - http://www.andreaadamstrust.org
- Suzy Lamplugh Trust: (020) 8876 0305 - http://www.suzylamplugh.org