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SKU: 7.3
  • Advice

    What is Bullying?

    Bullying within the workplace is a serious issue, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as the “abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger”. In the workplace, bullying may be by your boss or work colleagues. Bullying itself holds no legal precedence, there is no offence for it. Therefore, it will be used as a general term to describe behaviours that are unacceptable in the workplace. Specific terms, such as harassment and blackmail, categorise bullying based on the offence committed and the punishment for it.


    Regulations and guidance in law have stressed procedures that companies must take when such incidents occur, these include workplace standards such as grievance procedures, human resource intervention, and anti-bullying campaigns being a few examples. Penalties or sanctions are often included in this guidance, and sometimes it may result in criminal prosecution for the bully in question by reporting it to your local police, or an in-house tribunal to decide suitable actions to stop this behaviour. Often, the presence of bullying in an organisation is a result of a lack of communication or understanding or aggravating factors with the bully which results in unresolved issues. Regardless of the reasons, workplace bullying or harassment is unacceptable in all circumstances.


    All workers have rights under the law for fair treatment, regardless of their employment status.

    Three main forms of abuse will be covered in this section:

    • Verbal;
    • Physical; and
    • Online


    All three forms of abuse fall under Harassment. Unique forms of abuse, such as blackmail are listed separately in this section.
    Other forms exist, such as actions by others that destabilise or otherwise cause you unnecessary stress and hardship. These may come about as a result of other staff refusing to work with you for petty reasons, or your employer putting unnecessary hardship on you. Threats against you and your employment without cause also constitute inappropriate stress. Such actions may have an impact on your physical, mental and spiritual well-being and self-esteem.


    Verbal Abuse

    Workplace abuse comes in many forms, the most common of which is the act of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is where aggressive or targeted or otherwise offensive language is used in an attempt to hurt you, where they will usually target your family, loved ones, appearance, race, gender or other personal traits in an attempt to get a reaction from you. Those who suffer from verbal abuse may be unlikely to stand up for themselves, and it becomes a greater issue when they are unwilling to report these incidents.


    Physical Abuse

    This is where you have been hurt in the workplace, such as being hit or tripped. Workers in this position tend to be quite vulnerable and may choose not to report for fear of losing their work. Signs of physical abuse are depression, withdrawal from social events and a loss of confidence and self-esteem.


    Online Abuse

    Online Harassment is very relevant when many businesses are now switching to staff working from home model where possible. It may be targeted or general abuse and aimed at one person or a group of people. Often it is not only your colleagues who target you but scammers, fraudsters and hackers. This can heavily affect your role and the business itself.


    A single act does not constitute bullying. Colleagues may make an offhand joke and realise it is offensive, apologise and correct their behaviour so that it does not happen again. Accidental bumps and bruises do not constitute bullying either. Excessive workloads in times where the company is busy do not count as inappropriate stress.


    A general test is available to determine whether you may class certain behaviours as bullying.

    • Has the person done any of the above to you, or something similar to it?
    • Have they done it consistently? This is to say, have they bullied you or others before the current incident?
    • Have they done so with the intent to cause you or others physical/mental harm? Are they only doing it for this purpose?


    How we can help

    We would suggest the best route to stop bullying is via the existing provisions created by your employer, such as grievance procedures, if however, these are not resolving the issue then we would be happy to mediate with your employer to try and resolve the matter, we would make them aware of their legal rights towards you and the potential ramifications for the business. If ultimately there is no intent or interest then we would consult with you regarding leaving the job and claiming constructive dismissal, and possibly personal damages claim towards the bully.


    To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link.

    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.


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