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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 75960
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Can I have some advice around employment law please,

Customer Question

Hello
JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: Can I have some advice around employment law please
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Norfolk, England, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Approached line manager
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: The issue is surrounding unfair treatment at work
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Please provide some more details of your circumstances. Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
My issue is around unfair treatment and favouritism at my place of work. I am 3 months into my new position a Marketing Executive, and have gotten to the point where I feel I need to seek advice as I feel my manager has been unfair towards me and I’m concern she will continue to do so.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
3 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Why do you think you are being treated like that?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I do not have any idea, I have given her no reason to treat me any differently to any other
colleague
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about this situation and any associated issues.

Workplace bullying is unfortunately a rather common problem, which occurs more often than it should. What makes it even more difficult is that there is no specific legislation that deals with it, meaning there are limited options for the victims of bullying to take things further legally.

Although there is no legal definition of bullying, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines it as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Examples given are: spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone by word or behaviour; exclusion or victimisation; unfair treatment; overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position; making threats or comments about job security without foundation; deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism; preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.

Under law, specifically the Health and Safety at Work 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 victim should try to calmly and professionally resolve the issue informally with the person responsible for the bullying. I do, however, appreciate that this is much easier said than done.

2. If the above does not work or is not a viable option, the victim should consider raising a formal grievance with the employer by following the company's own grievance policy, or sending a complaint in writing to their line manager. 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 adequately deal with the bullying issues, the victim would need to seriously consider their next steps. Unfortunately, employment law does not allow employees to make a direct claim for bullying. As such, the most common way of claiming is by resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal.  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.

4. There is, however, a requirement for the victim to have at least 2 years’ continuous service with that employer (which does actually mean that those with less than 2 years’ service cannot make a claim and can effectively be bullied out with no recourse). However, the 2-year limit is not required if the grounds for bulling were discriminatory, such as because of gender, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc.

You can also refer to this guide by ACAS which deals with unfair treatment at work – the following is a direct download link:

https://www.acas.org.uk/if-youre-treated-unfairly-at-work

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi Ben, I have just read your message and have taken it in. Could I ask if I could be fired for raising my feelings about my experiences of unfair treatment about my manager? Taking into consideration I am on my probation, I’m concerned that speaking up will result in dismissal.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Hi there, thank you for your further queries, which I will be happy to answer. That could indeed happen unfortunately, as long as the unfair treatment in question is not because of discrimination. If it is because of discrimination, then if you make a complaint about it and are then fired, that would amount to victimisation, which is unlawful. On the other hand, if it is not linked to discrimination, you have no protection and can potentially be fired for it