The concept of bullying in the workplace is often overlooked, as many people view bullies as the childhood nemesis they said goodbye to after high school. Those who are facing a workplace bully often overlook the offenders’ behaviour, putting their actions down to stress, volume of work and other injurious factors. However age and environment do not mean that bullying is a factor we can ignore in our working lives.
So what can be classed as bullying?
Before you go around accusing your colleagues of misconduct you should first identify whether the behaviour you are experiencing can be classed as bullying. Being reprimanded by your boss for making a mistake is not inappropriate behaviour. However on the other hand experiencing a prolonged period of unsuitable behaviour unrelated to your generic performance reviews could indicate that you’re the victim of a workplace bully.
A few forms of bullying you may encounter include; threats or harassment including unwanted sexual advancements, insults, rumours and unjustifiable criticism.
What are the consequences of workplace bullying?
Bullying has been linked to many negative factors including depression and stress. Victims of bullying often endure the behaviour on their own as many people feel to embarrassed or worried to open up to those people around them. Alongside the mental factors victims of bullying face they can also experience health complaints. All of these factors affect an employee’s standard of living and work performance.
What can you do if you are being bullied?
Bullying in its own terms is not against the law however harassment is. If you are being bullied you should take the time to quantify the category of harassment you are experiencing. In the first instance you should approach your manager, HR department or trade union representative to resolve the issue. However if this is unsuccessful you can make a formal complaint using your employers grievance procedure, or take legal action through an employment tribunal.
For more help and information call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline on:
Telephone: 08457 47 47 47
Minicom: 08456 06 16 00*