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Bullying in The Workplace: Top 10 Tips For Employees

Bullying in the workplace does, unfortunately, exist.  The problem is what one person considers bullying, another considers banter.  Bullying often involves an abuse of power and results in behaviour which is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting.  It can include physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct. 

Here are my top ten tips for employees experiencing bullying in the workplace:

1. Whilst perhaps consistent with the description above, legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of your work performance or work behaviour whilst you are employed will not usually amount to bullying.

2. Review your employer’s anti-harassment and bullying policy (if they have one) or grievance policy and consider it carefully as it may include examples of what your employer considers as inappropriate behaviour.

3. If the matter involves a one off comment, think about whether you can discuss this informally with the other person.  Whilst it may have caused offence to you, that may not have been what they intended and by raising it now, you may stop this unwanted behaviour being repeated.

4. If you’re unsure of whether an incident, or series of incidents amounts to bullying, ask your line manager for an informal meeting so you can discuss it and seek their advice.

5. Don’t be afraid of raising a complaint, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. You have the right to have your concerns addressed without suffering repercussions.

6. Try to back up any complaint with evidence.  Keep a diary of what has been happening and make a note of dates, times, what was said/done and any potential witnesses.

7. Ensure you raise a complaint in line with your employer’s anti-bullying policy or, where they don’t have one, the grievance procedure.

8. As a general rule, the person who you are complaining about has a right to know your identity and the issues you have raised.  Only in exceptional circumstances, such as fearing for your own personal safety, will a company try to keep your identity confidential.  You should bear in mind, however, this can often be incredibly difficult and your identity may have to be revealed at a later date.

9. If your complaint is upheld, be aware that you don’t have the right to know what action is taken against the person you complained about.  Your employer can inform you they are taking disciplinary action against the individual but you do not have a right to know the outcome as that information is confidential.

10. If you need help preparing a written complaint, seek advice.

Are you being bullied?  Not sure where to start when writing a complaint?  At SCE Solicitors we have a wealth of experience in dealing with bullying in the workplace.  If you would like to discuss raising a complaint about bullying, please contact me on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

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