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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44343
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been to a meeting at work, where I feel I am being bullied.

Customer Question

I have been to a meeting at work, where I feel I am being bullied. Was asked to go to a meeting, was given one week's notice, was unable to take a representative. There was a member of HR and a senior manager. the manager/HR it was said, were supposed to be there to help and sort out workload. Instead, the manager stated there had been complaints about me, and would not give me the evidence when asked to defend myself, and told me I should be ashamed of myself and they would reduce take my work off me and lower my pay. There is also another person at the same level who I believe is going behind my back to this manager making accusations about me, and again I have not been approached about this and been able to defend myself. I feel there is an element here of trying to get rid of me, "constructive dismissal" going on. I do not know what to do and am extremely upset about it
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
JACUSTOMER-0uydj2ou- : 20 yrs
Ben Jones :

Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues last night. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.

Bullying is unfortunately something that happens all too often in the workplace. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual subjected to it.

Under law, specifically the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. In addition, they have the implied contractual duty to provide a safe and suitable working environment. That includes preventing, or at least effectively dealing with bullying behaviour occurring in the workplace.

In terms of what the victim of bullying can do to try and deal with such problems, the following steps are recommended:

  1. First of all, and if appropriate, the employee should try and resolve the issue informally with the person responsible for the bullying.

  2. If the above does not work or is not a viable option, the employee should consider raising a formal grievance with the employer by following the company's grievance policy. This formally brings the bullying issue to the attention of the employer and they will have a duty to investigate and deal with it.

  3. If, following a grievance, the employer fails to take any action or the action they take is inappropriate, the employee would need to seriously consider their next steps. Unfortunately, employment law does not allow employees to make a direct claim about bullying. As such, the most common way of claiming for bullying is by resigning first and then submitting a claim for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal (subject to having at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer). The reason for resigning would be to claim that by failing to act appropriately, the employer has breached the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence and failed to provide a safe working environment and that there was no other option but to resign. However, this step should only be used as a last resort as it can be risky, after all it will result in the employment being terminated.

In general, a victim should try and gather as much evidence as possible before considering making a formal complaint and certainly before going down the resignation route. As bullying often takes verbal form, the best way is to keep a detailed diary of all bullying occasions so that there is at least some reference in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

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