Bullying in the workplace
The issues surrounding workplace bullying continue to rise and an issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Some statistics vary, but according to the TUC, almost half of safety representatives claimed bullying was a major issue in their company and that a third of people claim they’re being bullied at work. This shows that bullying doesn’t just occur in the playground but in the workplace, it can at times be difficult to identify. If you happen to be a victim of bullying, here’s some advice that can help.
What Would You Class As Workplace Bullying?
The issue with bullying is that there’s a line between a bit of harmless joking and actual bullying. What you need to understand is what actions contribute to bullying. Bullying is classed as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”, according to the Advisor, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
This can be performed by anyone or any group within your workplace. From the manager right down to an apprentice. Therefore, if any of their actions relate to the above definition, it’s likely that you’re a victim of bullying. How are examples of what can happen in a workplace that can constitute bullying:
– Unfair criticism
– Constant yelling and shouting at staff
– Physical abuse
– Promotions being blocked
– Deliberate ignoring during group activities
– Singling out people as part of a joke
– Setting impossible deadlines
These are just a few examples but wouldn’t be the full comprehensive list. What’s important to note is that bullying doesn’t just come in the form of physical abuse. It can also relate to verbal abuse as well as occurring over social media/emails.
My Manager Is Being Tough On Me, Am I Being Bullied By Them?
Managers are also members of staff that are required to reach targets to their peers so they may come across tough if the pressure’s on. However, the distinct difference between a manager and bully is a manager will be seen as someone who motivates their employees to reach their targets or supports them to help accomplish it. A bully, on the other hand, will enforce unrealistic expectations and targets without a constructive discussion. “Tough but fair” is how a manager should be.
What Are The Steps I Can Take If I’m Being Bullied?
There are several ways you can go about resolving the issue of being bullied in the workplace. The first thing to do is double check what the company’s policy is on bullying. If they have a zero-tolerance for it, then it should be escalated and you can go to your manager, supervisor or HR department. Alternatively, if you wish to resolve it yourself you can speak to the bully directly. Just be sure to do this in a calm manner.
If all else fails, then the final option would be to make an official complaint and follow the procedure to do so. You can normally find this in the following ways:
– Employee Handbook
– HR Manual or Internal Portal
– Your Employee Contract
Can I Take Legal Action Against Bullies?
If you’ve taken the step of a formal complaint and the issue still hasn’t been resolved, you can talk to legal professionals such as dispute resolution solicitors Manchester based or through an employment tribunal. However, bullying alone won’t be a strong enough case to bring legal action as it would need to be in the form of discrimination or harassment.
Article written by Jamie Costello