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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 60451
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Seems strange a 40yr old writing this...however; I’m being

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Hi, seems strange a 40yr old writing this...however; I’m being bullied at work, it’s been so bad I’ve had to finally take sick leave for a month...I’m so scared to go back. I know it will carry on when I get back...is there anything legally I can do to stop this?
Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I have discussed it with my Line manger a few times but he was not very helpful at all
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: full time employee - I’ve been with the company 5 yrs
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Hello, my name is Ben, I am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Please explain the bullying you have experienced. Also, have you been able to raise a formal grievance at all?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I relocated from our London office to our Birmingham office, within the Birmingham project I was never given a handover, never introduced formally to team as one of the management team, it took me 2 weeks to find out who was on my team, my competency was questions many times by the director to other managers (the director has never worked with me and did not know my capabilities - he’d never even spoke to me) any little things happened during my time at the project that started to affect my confidence and work...in London I had a reputation of delivering work on time and at good quality. I have had a promotion almost every year running due to the hard work I put in. I know I’m not bad at my job. Before taking sick leave I felt I was made to feel I was terrible and should have been in that role - I had no support
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
For now I’m ok writing
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I’ve been there 7months and the director has only said 2 words to me - he cannot hide the dislike he has for me...and I now it’s not due to my work or capabilities

OK no problem and thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. Bullying at work 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 and calmly and professionally 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 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.

 

As a final pointer, the 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 is often verbal or through actions, 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.

 

Does this answer your query?

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Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thank you very much! That was most helpful

All the best