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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50495
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I've had a long history of issues with my line manager and

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I’ve had a long history of issues with my line manager and recently went through mediation facilitated by HR. It seemed like things had improved until recently when another incident took place. Recently I produced an initial draft report and submitted to my manager for review after having met with the client to discuss the findings and to obtain any additional information. This report had no recommendations only two minor points noted for management attention. My manager edited report almost completely changing it and asked me to include a recommendation for one of the minor points raised in my report. I explained that I did not think it was needed and that the risks were not significant enough to warrant a recommendation but he insisted and I did as he said. However I made the change as well as updated the report following his review. I resubmitted this to him and once again he completely changed the wording of the recommendation and made other changes and asked me update the report and issue to the client.
Upon receiving the report, the client then wrote back expressing their dissatisfaction that a recommendation was made for such a minor point which reduced their assurance level to substantial. My manager asked me to remove the recommendation and to issue the final report. As part of the feedback process the client completes the form and presents it to my manager at a meeting to discuss the audit. The overall feedback rating was good however the client included the following comment.
“The Auditor focussed on arguably non material matters that did not have a significant risk impact. Perhaps look into ranking the impact in the future.”
Right away I knew this referred to the report and asked my manager how we deal with a situation where I simply follow his instruction and this results In a comment like the above from the client. He refused to accept responsibility. I expressed my concern especially as this was not the first time this had happened and tried to get a response from him. He proceeded to say that what the client said was even worst than what was on paper and that the client had actually said I was “like a dog with a bone.” At the time I did not know this was a british idiom and felt insulted. I told him I did not want to continue the discussion and left the room. I left the Office for about an hour and returned hoping he would offer an explanation or apology. He didn’t. The following day I sent him an email to explain just how seriously I took what he said and that being of Caribbean origin any comparison to a dog is derogatory. To date he has not responded to any of my emails. Previously he had said to me” Sod you” in another meeting and that I was speaking rubbish on another occasion when I tried to raise a concern. I have been told by HR it is his word against mine in the past as there was no one else present. I have decided to raise a formal grievance but concerned that once again there was no one present. Can you give me some advice please? How much of the historical information should I include?
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

just over 4 years

Ben Jones :

Hello, sorry I was called into a meeting earlier and have just managed to ‘escape’. It would appear that you are the victim of bullying, which 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.

You are free to include as much of the historical information as you feel is relevant – it could help to ‘paint a picture’ and give the employer an understanding of what has been happening over time and to make it clear that we are not talking about isolated incidents but something which has happened over time and on a relatively regular basis.

Ben Jones :

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. 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 you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you


Hi Ben,


Sorry for the delay. Yes your answer has been very helpful.

Ben Jones :

thanks for getting back to me and all the best

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