Q. What can I do if I'm being bullied at work?
A. Unfortunately more and more employees are complaining about being bullied at work. Such behaviour often manifests itself in the employee suffering from stress related symptoms and consequent absences from work. You have not identified whether or not you are employed by a large company or a small company or the position of person / persons who may be bullying you. This is important. In a larger organisation it is easier to raise a formal written grievance either to a senior manager and / or to the Human Resources Department. Your letter should set out the circumstances of the bullying and request that formal action is taken to eradicate it. This may result in the person or persons involved being disciplined and possibly even being dismissed.
If you work for a much smaller company and it is one of the senior directors who is bullying you, it is much harder to proceed in that way. Nevertheless you should complain in writing to the most senior person within the organisation. Your letter should specify that you wish to raise a “formal grievance”. The employer will then be obliged to investigate the matter fully before coming to any conclusions. If the matter is not concluded to your satisfaction then you have a number of other possible courses of action open to you. The form of bullying may amount to some form of unlawful discrimination e.g. sex or race discrimination. It may also amount to behaviour which would amount to a fundamental breach of the Contract of Employment which would justify you resigning and pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal through the Employment Tribunal.
Before taking any such action you should see a solicitor in order to explain, in full, the allegations that you are making. The solicitor will then be able to advise you as to the best course of action to take. You may also, at an early stage, ask your employer if they have specific policies dealing with such matters. Many employers these days have in place a Being at Work Policy which may assist you in raising your concerns.
I have written a book on the subject “Bullying and Stress in the Workplace”. If you would like a copy you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01733 295632
Martin Bloom, partner
*This article was published in the Stamford Mercury & Peterborough Telegraph