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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Property Law
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My 19 yr old grand daughter has a part time job at a children,s

Customer Question

My 19 yr old grand daughter has a part time job at a children,s play area where in the past few week ends she has had to put up with bullying abusive behavour from the management Is there any where she can make a complaint against the management
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
How long has she worked there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

over a year

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She has worked there for 1 year

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues yesterday. Bullying is unfortunately something that is not uncommon in workplaces. 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.

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. That includes preventing bullying behaviour occurring in the workplace and effectively dealing with any complaints that have arisen as a result of bullying.

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

1. First of all, and if possible, 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.
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 1 year's 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 term of mutual trust and confidence and that there was no other option but to resign. However, that is not an easy claim to win and there has to be a reasonable degree of certainty that continuing to work for the employer in the circumstances is no longer possible.

In general, 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 evidence in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.

If the bullying behaviour is serious enough and has occurred on at least two occasions, it may also amount to harassment, which can be a criminal matter, although it can also be pursued as a civil matter. However, it is advisable to try and stick to one claim only so if constructive dismissal is being pursued then try and concentrate on that.

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