Getting help and advice around bullying at work
You have the right under UK law: *
• To be treated with dignity and respect at work
• To work in a workplace free from bullying behaviour
• To have your welfare protected at work
Bullying is unwanted behaviour from a manager, a colleague, or a group, that makes you feel frightened, upset, or uncomfortable.
Bullying can take many forms including persistent criticism, public humiliation, being shouted at, ‘nit-picking’, personal insults, and name-calling.
Statistics show that around two thirds of UK workers have been bullied or witnessed bullying in their workplace, and it can happen to anyone. Bullying can affect your mental health and wellbeing and can also affect your performance at work which can potentially cause more problems. If you feel that you are being bullied, the first step should be to speak to one of our union representatives in confidence.
Your employer has a legal duty to protect your health, safety, and welfare. This means they must take reasonable steps to prevent any bullying and/or harassment towards you in the workplace.
Bullying can take the form of physical or verbal violence. The Health and Safety Executive defines work related violence as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.’ This can include verbal or physical abuse and can be from members of the public or from your own colleagues.
There are also more subtle forms of bullying behaviour - such as setting you menial tasks, setting objectives with impossible deadlines, turning down leave requests without good reason, removing areas of responsibility, constantly changing your working procedures, ignoring or excluding you from meetings, etc. This can also take the form of harassment, particularly when managers abuse their authority and display inappropriate conduct as a means of control.
Your union representative is your starting point for getting help from us with any problem at work.
Sometimes members feel that they can sort things out on their own, but it is important to talk to your union representative as soon as possible. Sometimes trying to sort out an issue without proper advice can make the problem much worse. We are here to help you and you can contact your union representative by calling 0333 2423 526.
Your union representative will discuss the situation with you, agree a way forward with you and together they will help you achieve the best possible outcome for you.
You have a legal right to belong to a trade union and your employer is forbidden from treating you unfavourably because you join a trade union, take part in trade union activities or use the services trade unions provide for their members. You also have a right to be accompanied by a trade union representative at any grievance meetings, disciplinary hearings and disciplinary appeals.
* From the Equalities Act (2010) and Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974)