Bullying at work

 

Bullying at work is an all too frequent occurrence, causing considerable distress to victims, and costing employers and the economy countless days of lost productivity. Bullying can be categorised as offensive or intimidating behaviour that undermines or humiliates the victim. 
 
Bullying is often considered alongside workplace harassment, and the terms are frequently used interchangeably. Legally speaking, harassment relates to ‘protected characteristics’, that are defined to include age, gender, race or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious belief or disability status.
 
If you believe you have been discriminated against and would like legal advice, call us on 08001 221 2299 now.
 
Examples of bullying include:
 
  • Exclusion from workplace activities
  • Being ridiculed or belittled in front of other employees
  • Being treated unfairly
  • Threatening behaviour
  • Unfair criticism
Bullying at work can take many forms. It may be direct verbal or physical abuse, but it can also be more subtle, and include remarks made to other employees about an individual, or emails sent to others concerning the victim.
 

The effects of bullying at work

The effect of bullying at work is to make the workplace somewhere the victim fears and does not wish to be. Employers may notice a victim of bullying at work taking more days off sick than other employees, or may have mental health or other issues as a consequence of bullying at work. The performance of employees is almost always compromised by bullying at work, making targeting bullying at work an absolute priority for business leaders and managers. 
 
If you suffer workplace harassment on the basis of a protected characteristic, you may have good cause for a legal action at an employment tribunal. As bullying does not concern a protected characteristic you may not have a right of action at employment tribunal, but despite this there is still lots that you can do to stop bullying at work.
 
Health and safety laws oblige employers to provide a healthy and safe working environment for all employees and contractors. Failing to prevent workplace bullying may amount to a breach of your contract of employment, and may then lead to a legal claim. 
 
If you are being bullied at work, you should keep a diary of all incidents to inform any future action you might need to take to resolve the problem. You should consider consulting your line manager or a more senior manager to discuss, or if you feel unable, take legal advice from your local employment law solicitor. 
 
If you would like to obtain legal advice on bullying at work, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.
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