Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Dealing with workplace bullying

In honour of anti-bullying week this week from 14-18 November, we are focusing on a potentially common problem in every organisation - workplace bullying. Indeed, surveys by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggest between 3 and 14 million employees in the UK are subjected to bullying.

Bullying can occur face-to-face or remotely via email and other media and may take the form of abuse, physical or verbal violence, humiliation or simply trying to undermine someone’s confidence.

Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to their employees which includes dealing with bullying at work.

It can be difficult if you are being bullied, but here are a few steps you could take to help improve the situation.

  • Talk to your line manager as they have a responsibility to resolve the issue. If the bully is your manager, then speak to your union/workplace representative or someone in Human Resources as they can accompany you to meetings with your manager. Alternatively, you could contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
  • Talk to the bully as the bullying may not be deliberate and they may not realise their behaviour is affecting you. Let them know their behaviour is unacceptable. If you don’t want to talk to them yourself then you could always ask someone to do this on your behalf. 
  • Record everything in writing - keep a diary and write down details (e.g. times and dates) of every incidence that occurs and keep copies of emails, memos and letters as evidence. 
  • If you can’t resolve the matter informally then you must make a formal complaint and follow your employer’s grievance procedure. 
Remember do not allow the bully to make you feel ashamed or embarrassed. There is no excuse for bullying - you have the right to work in a safe and comfortable environment.

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