Concerning Increase in Workplace Bullying in Recent Survey

A recent survey published by Family Lives  found that 91% of respondents felt that their employer failed to deal with bullying in the workplace.

A common theme was that workplace bullying caused psychiatric illness with many individuals reporting that bullying in the workplace caused conditions such as depression and anxiety with 44% of respondents seeking counselling or medication to cope with the bullying and 20% of the individuals being signed off with work related stress.

The article also explained that 74% of respondents felt that bullying in the workplace affected their personal family life with 78% stating they felt unable to stand up to bullying due to the financial climate and job shortages.

These statistics show the alarming extent of bullying in the workplace and also the gravity of the impact this can have on the individuals concerns.

What should you do if you are being bullied in the workplace?

  • Keep a diary or log of events together with any emails or evidence of bullying. One of the biggest problems faced by employees in dealing with bullying in the workplace is often a lack of evidence to substantiate allegations. Further keep a log of incidents will assist should legal action be required.
  • Report the issues to a line manager or to HR and ask them to look into the issues at an early stage. Ultimately an employer can only take action if they are aware of an issue. Don’t be afraid to speak up about bullying. Employers have a legal obligation to deal with bullying.
  • Suggest mediation with the individual(s) concerned to try and resolve any of the issues.
  • If mediation or reporting the issues informally does not assist, raise a formal grievance and refer to the evidence or specific log of incidents which you have been keeping as recommended above.
  • Request a referral to Occupational Health or Counselling services if the issues start to affect your health.
  • Discuss whether reasonable adjustments could be made to your role to separate you from the individual concerned. For instance could either of you be moved to a different department, office or working environment? Document your complaints or suggestions in writing and try insofar as possible to suggest practical solutions.
  • Take legal advice from an expert in bullying and harassment cases.

It is important to remember that Employers have a duty to all employees. One of the difficulties individuals often face is that there can be a lack of evidence of bullying and without evidence it can be difficult for an Employer to discipline or even dismiss the bully and this is why retaining evidence and information is so important as without this an employer may be unable to take formal action against the individual concerned.

I have acted for many clients who have been subjected to bullying and harassment. The reality is that bullying and harassment can take many forms including everything from physical assaults and sexual harassment to cases involving individuals who were excluded and subjected to undermining behaviour from managers.

What is apparent, however, is that bullying can have significant long term adverse affects on an individual’s health and early steps need to be taken to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace. Once of the major contributory factors is the sense of injustice that an employer has failed to deal with complaints made regarding bullying. This may be negligent or it may be because of the issues surrounding the lack of evidence of bullying for the reasons set out above.

If you have been a victim of bullying or harassment you may be entitled to claim compensation. Michael Lewin Solicitors are experts in Employment and Stress at Work Claims. Our expert team can guide you through the complex legal issues.

If you believe that you have suffered psychological illness as a result of stress at work or believe you require legal advice, please feel free to call us on 0844 499 9302 or email enquiries@michaellewin.co.uk

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