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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45339
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a developing employment problem. After almost 20

Resolved Question:

I have a developing employment problem.
After almost 20 years of exemplary service, my position is being undermined on a continuing and insidious basis by my manager. Despite my every effort to be both tactful and clearly conciliatory whenever there's any element of potential disagreement, this person seems bent on damaging my hitherto excellent relationship with my Board. This has very recently come to a 'head', which appears likely to make the situation more difficult for me.
I'd wish to continue with my present employment, as I enjoy excellent working relationships with all other personnel, by whom I am both liked and respected.
I need to know how best to deal with this and to protect myself from what is feeling increasingly an attempt to undermine my professional integrity at work and ultimately, my security of employment.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: 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. Is the employer aware of what is happening?
Customer:

Hello Ben, thank you for your reply. My employer is not 'officially' aware, though at a Board Meeting in March, the Chief Executive appeared to play along with my manager's general approach, though I don't believe that he'd be inclined for there to be trouble. My Board comprises mostly volunteers who are mostly retired professionals who've a desire to serve as Trustees on the Board. They're not full-time people and they're a little unsettled by the negative vibes in evidence at their Meetings (when my manager attends).

Customer:

In all honesty, I sense that I'm inconvenient because I'm home-based and have been for many years. Manager would probably like the role back in-house, where s/he can manage with a heavier hand of control. I'd wanted to add some detail, thus my longer message.

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. It appears that the issues you are experiencing can amount to bullying by the manager. 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

Customer:

Thank you for your reply, as it is good to obtain a sense of perspective that can only be derived by consulting another with knowledge and experience of these issues. There is a definite 'control' element in her behaviour, so I try to mitigate against that by simply demonstrating a willingness wherever possible and I'm never challenging. At times however, this seems not to be sufficient to modify her attitude. After such a long term of service, I'm sure I'd struggle to obtain a future role of equivalent 'value' in future (age 59), so for me, the stakes are very high.

Customer:

I should add, I'm by no means alone in the context of being unhappy with her management style. Morale is generally very low in our Directorate these days, which cannot possibly have gone unnoticed by the rest of the Management Team. I've considered 'monitoriing' measures to capture examples of the behaviour, which might be the only route to successfully challenging dubious/unfair treatment (backed up by statements from colleagues, press-ganged into supporting her claims). All very insidious really, which after 20 years service, is very unpleasant. Can I successfully bring a grievance and realistically, hope to retain my employment? (..knowing the truth of human relations within organizations?). Thank you.

Ben Jones :

You should not be treated detrimentally for raising a grievance and you are protracted against unfair dismissal, meaning that the employer cannot just decide to terminate your employment because you have complained - they must show there was a fair reason for doing so and also follow a fair procedure so if they g ahead and try to dismissing you then you will have further protection.

Ben Jones :

Hopefully this answers your follow up query?

Customer:

Thanks very much for your detailed advice and tactical encouragement. I am pleased with your assistance here and will Rate accordingly.

Ben Jones :

many thanks, ***** ***** best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45339
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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