Bullying and Harassment in The Workplace: What it is and How to Deal With it

December 22, 2023 |

In an ideal world, the workplace should be a place of productivity and collaboration. Employees should be respected, and their focus should be on the tasks at hand, not on dealing with workplace bullying and harassment.

Unfortunately, many employees in the UK do experience bullying and harassment in the workplace. In this article, we’ll explore what constitutes workplace bullying and harassment, provide real-life examples, and offer guidance on how to effectively deal with these distressing issues.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying can be a one-off incident or a pattern of offensive, insulting and unreasonable behaviour that undermines or humiliates an employee or group of employees. Bullying can happen from senior staff towards junior staff, and vice versa.

Workplace bullying can manifest in various forms, such as verbal abuse, intimidation, humiliation and offensive jokes or comments. Bullying is usually systematic and harmful, creating a hostile environment that often undermines an individual’s self-esteem and job performance.

Workplace Bullying Examples

Examples can help highlight the range of behaviours that constitutes bullying:

  1. Verbal Abuse: Jane, a dedicated employee, is subjected to relentless verbal abuse from her supervisor. He criticises her constantly, humiliates her in front of colleagues, and uses derogatory language.
  2. Exclusion: Tom is repeatedly left out of team meetings, social gatherings, and important email correspondence. His colleagues intentionally exclude him, making him feel isolated and insignificant.
  3. Cyberbullying: Sarah discovers an anonymous social media account that posts offensive comments about her appearance and work performance. She suspects it’s a colleague, but the anonymity makes it challenging to prove.
  4. Sabotage: Mark, a talented graphic designer, is constantly sabotaged by a jealous co-worker who messes up his projects and steals his ideas, all while pretending to be supportive.

What is Harassment in the Workplace?

Harassment is bullying that relates to one of the following protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. As with general bullying, harassment can manifest in various ways, including offensive jokes, slurs, or derogatory comments, as well as physical or verbal conduct that creates a hostile environment.

How to Deal with Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

  1. Keep Records: Document each incident, including the date, time, location, individuals involved, and any witnesses. Keeping a record can be invaluable when it comes to reporting and addressing the issue.
  2. Report to Management: Report the situation to your manager or HR department. Provide them with your documentation and ask for their assistant in resolving the matter.
  3. Seek Support: Talk colleagues you trust about the situation. They may have witnessed the behaviour and can serve as witnesses or provide emotional support.
  4. Know Your Rights: Familiarise yourself with your legal rights and workplace policies regarding bullying and harassment. In the UK, employees are protected by the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics.
  5. Legal Action: In severe cases where workplace bullying or harassment persists despite reporting, legal action may be necessary. Contact us and we will help you explore your options.

Contact us Today For Legal Support and Advice if You’re Being Bullied or Harassed in the Workplace

Workplace bullying and harassment can have devastating effects on individuals, both personally and professionally. It’s essential for employees to recognise these behaviours and take action to protect their rights and well-being.

Remember, you are not alone in facing workplace bullying and harassment, and there are legal avenues available to seek justice and resolution. It’s time to create safer and more inclusive workplaces for everyone, where professionalism and respect are the norm.

If you have any questions or require legal assistance in dealing with workplace bulling or harassment, do not hesitate to contact PM Law. We are here to help you through this challenging journey and ensure your rights are upheld. You can get in touch with our experienced team of employment solicitors by calling 03300 562182 or by filling out our contact form.

Posted in

Share this post on Social Media:

The Employment Team