JAFLAS - Turning Law into Justice   

Turning Law into Justice

Bullying in the workplace

The co-founder of The National Bullying Helpline, David Pratt, appeared on BBC Breakfast television on 25th April 2007 to highlight the problems faced by employees and employers when confronting and dealing with bullies. His charity, The National Bullying Helpline has been inundated with responses to the interview he gave.

Figures suggest over half a million people in Britain believe they are experiencing work related stress at a level that is making them ill. Stress, depression and anxiety have caused more working days to be lost than any other complaint.

What is bullying at work?

Definition of work place bullying can vary but some of the common incidents include one or a number of incidents which happen at least once a week for example,

· Being humiliated in front of colleagues.
· Losing your responsibility.
· Constant criticism / either publicly or privately.
· Being shouted at.
· Regularly being the subject of gossip.
· Having chance of promotion removed.
· Having opinions or comments ignored.
· Being overloaded with work and to reasonable deadlines.
· Sexual impropriety / moody /suggestive behaviour, unwanted contact/comments or even rape.

The effects of bullying can impact on all areas of life including relationships and family life.

The steps to take are varied, if you can, tell the person through a third party or in writing if necessary, that you find their behaviour unacceptable; also, keep a list/diary of the incidents as they occur and list any witnesses, include dates and times and how you felt; keep evidence of any bullying e.g. letters or memos - make copies of them. Check your employers guidelines on reporting bullying ? they should have some and follow those guidelines to make a complaint. It is essential that you advise your employer that the behaviour is going on.

If you start to suffer stress, anxiety, panic attacks, loss of confidence and loss of esteem, then it is essential that you visit your GP and advise them of the problems you are experiencing. If you have a psychological illness as a result of bullying, you may well have a claim against your employer. You must have a diagnosed psychological illness and you must have told your employer that this behaviour has been going on and has caused your illness.