Recognising bullying

Fighting back…

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You cannot make a legal claim directly about bullying, but complaints can be made under laws covering discrimination and harassment. However, you can use the below to assist you to identify and take the necessary steps or speak to someone within our team for an initial informal chat.

There are two points to bear in mind when faced with a difficult situation at work:

  • An Imbalance of Power: individuals who bully use their power to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviours happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumours, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Bullying Behavior Examples
Bullying includes abuse, physical or verbal violence, humiliation and undermining someone’s confidence.
You are probably being bullied if, for example, you are:
• constantly picked on;
• humiliated in front of colleagues;
• regularly unfairly treated;
• physically or verbally abused;
• blamed for problems caused by others;
• always given too much to do, so that you regularly fail in your work;
• regularly threatened with the sack;
• unfairly passed over for promotion or denied training opportunities.

The forms
Bullying can be face-to-face, in writing, or over the phone.

Bullying in the Workplace Before Taking Action
If you think you are being bullied, it is best to talk it over with someone, sometimes what seems like bullying might not be.

The following are steps that you might want to consider if you are being bullied:
• Get advice.
• Speak to someone about how you might deal with the problem informally, this might be: (1)an employee representative like a trade union official; (2)
(3)someone in the firm’s human resources department; or (4)your manager or supervisor;
• Talk to the bully;
• Keep a written record or diary;
• Write down details of every incident and keep copies of any relevant documents;
• Making a formal complaint;
• Speak to someone about how you might deal with the problem informally.