Five Top Tips to Deal With Bullying in the Workplace

Five Top Tips to Deal With Bullying in the Workplace

Unfortunately bullying and harassment in the workplace is a widespread problem. Bullying can take many forms. When people talk about bullying the first types of bullying which people think of are often relating to people being spoken to in an inappropriate manner and being subjected to derogatory and degrading remarks.
Often however bullying can be much more subtle. Bullying can include intentional exclusion of certain individuals or perhaps deliberately allocating certain individuals less desirable or demeaning workloads.
The difficulty that employees face is how to deal with bullying in the workplace particularly where that bullying originates from management or the employees direct line manager.
Here are our top tips to protect yourself from bullying in the workplace.
Keep A Diary of Events
If you believe that you are being subjected to bullying or harassment it is essential that you retain a contemporaneous record of the dates and times of the events which you believe amount to bullying. This will assist you immensely if it becomes necessary to take formal action either through internal procedures or in the worst cases through legal action.
Discuss Matters Informally With the Bully
There can be occasions where people perceive that they are being bullied by an individual when in fact the issues stem from communication problems and actions which the perpetrator had not realised were causing offence. This is particularly relevant when the ‘bully’ is your direct superior. It can therefore assist to discuss the issues informally with the ’bully’ to explain how there actions make you feel. I wouldn’t advocate an adversarial approach to this but simply explain how this individual’s actions affect you to see if the issues can be resolved. If necessary follow this meeting up with an email to thank this person for their time and understanding if the meeting achieves a positive result.
Complain Informally in Writing
It is essential that you document in writing exactly what the issues are and how this is affecting you. You should also retain a copy of the complaint. This complaint should be sent to someone senior within the organisation preferably the line manager of the individual who is bullying you. The email needs to be clear on the issues particularly if the bullying is affecting your health. It is important that you notify your employer if your health is being affected as an employer is much more likely to take your complaint seriously. I would also suggest that the tone of the complaint needs to focus on resolving the issues rather than seeking to enforce disciplinary action against the bully.
Follow the Grievance Procedure
If you do not receive an adequate response to your informal complaint or the treatment continues then it may be necessary for you to submit a formal grievance. In this grievance you should submit a detailed chronology of events and this is where your diary referred to above is so useful. Always ensure you have a copy of the company’s grievance policy and ensure that the employer adheres to this policy. It is also important that you are able to identify any witnesses to the bullying in the grievance.
Seek Medical Assistance
If the bullying is adversely affecting your health then you can ask your employer to refer you to Occupational Health. This request should be made in writing with written reasons why you believe a referral is necessary. Of course the best person to speak to regarding any health issues is your own General Practitioner who will be able offer practical guidance on dealing with the health issues which may have arisen. Your GP may believe that it is necessary to sign you off and it is important that you listen to the advice of your GP to avoid deterioration in symptoms.
If all else fails seek legal advice from an expert in these issues. It is important that you take action promptly as certain legal claims are subject to very strict time frames in which to pursue your employer.
Richard Coulthard
Head of The Stress at Work Department
Michael Lewin Solicitors Limited
If you believe that you are suffering with work related stress please feel free to call our expert team of advisors on 0800 844 2150 or email stress@michaellewin.co.uk.

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