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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70901
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I require a legal advise about bullying and harassment at

Customer Question

Hello, I require a legal advise about bullying and harassment at work place.
JA: Have you discussed harassment at work with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: We do not have official HR, bullying comes from the management and I have not discussed it with a lawyer yet.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am an employee and I have joined union only yesterday to get some help but because of the Covid 19 situation I fear I won't get help soon enough.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No that is all.
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 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 13 days ago.

Hi there. Please explain the situation in as much detail as possible. Please also tell me how long you have worked for this employer. Thank you

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hello Ben,My name is***** have been working for my company for 5 years now. Few weeks ago I was asked to move to a different department to help them out a little bit as they were very busy. I was a bit concerned as I knew that 2 senior members of that department have left in a space of few months, while there is a global pandemic and jobs are not that widely available at the moment. There were never claims made by the 2 members but I considered it to be very suspicious. I went to the company director and told him my concerns and asked if he will support me if there are going to be any issues. He said yes. Since I'm the department, several members have spoken to me in a derogatory way, humiliated me, accused me of things without any evidence and screamed at me. My partner was accused of threatening a member of staff without any evidence. I have been told by my director that he should have fired me long time ago, that I am the crazy one when I asked him if I should just not defending myself if someone is talking down to me, I was told that it was my fault and if I don't like it I should just leave.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I'm currently at the office and I can't talk.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Hi there Petronela. I am sorry to hear of this. Please can you tell me what your specific question is in relation to this so that I can best advise?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I would like to ask first if it is a good idea to call a police about the so called threats that my partner have done according to a member of staff.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; 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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 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 the issues you have experienced in your situation.

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.

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.

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

As far as the police is concerned, whilst there is nothing stopping you from contacting them, they could potentially view this as an issue they will not get involved in but you have nothing to lose by at least trying.

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 13 days ago.

I hope that your query has been answered to your satisfaction. I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that if you needed any further clarification with this query, you should not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to help. For now, thank you for using our services.