There continues to be an unacceptable level of bullying, harassment and intimidation in our workplaces! A problem which, sadly, seems to be endemic in a variety of workplaces all over the world and not just in the UK.
While you cannot make a direct legal claim about bullying, complaints can be made under laws covering discrimination and harassment. Employers have a 'duty of care' to their employees and this includes dealing with bullying in the workplace. If you are forced to resign due to bullying you may be able to make a constructive dismissal claim.Here are our top tips on what to do if you are having problems at work:
- Speak to someone about the problem. The majority of bullying goes on behind closed doors; so tell a friend or work colleague. You may well find that you are not the only one experiencing these problems. It is important that you don't try to deal with this yourself and if the bullying is affecting your health; speak to your doctor.
- Speak to the bully, The bullying may not be deliberate; if you talk to them and they understand their behaviour affects you the situation will improve straight away. A direct approach is best; tell the person that you find their behaviour unacceptable and ask them to stop. If you don't want to do it your self ask a friend to help out.
- Keep a diary and maintain a record of all incidents of bullying that has occurred no matter how trivial you think it may be. This will be important when confronting the bully as it will help establish a pattern of behaviour over time.
- Keep copies of any email, letters, documents, notes etc. that could be construed as abusive or intimidating.
- Get witness statements or ask for witnesses to support you where possible.
- Tell your manager / supervisor about the problem you are facing and present them with the evidence. If it is your line manager who is bullying you then you will need to inform their manager directly. The more people know about the behaviour of said bully, the more difficult it will be for him/her to continue to bully or intimidate people.
- If all else fails, you may have to make a formal complaint and go through the grievance procedure. If you do take this route, never go to a meeting connected to the complaint without an official representative or friend as a witness.
Finally if the issue has not been resolved after these steps and you are forced to resign because of the inhospitable work environment, you may have a claim against your employer. This is where all documentation and records of any incident is vital to your case.
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If you need any help and/or advice concerning a problem at work, then call us free on 0333 772 0611.