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Your Rights Regarding Bullying In The Workplace

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 13 Aug 2020 | comments*Discuss
Workers' Rights Bullying Bullying In The

Although there aren’t any laws in the UK that explicitly outlaw bullying in the workplace, there are a number of regulations that can be used to tackle aspects of it.

Often the hardest thing is for the person doing the bullying to realise and acknowledge that their behaviour is that of a bully. Although there are overt bullies who know full well when they are throwing their weight around, often it is more subtle and the perpetrator thinks that they are just having fun, or aren’t consciously aware that they have been treating one person differently from others.

The Nature of Bullying In The Workplace

In the workplace, peer-to-peer bullying is usually about the way a person is treated in front of others, being demeaned or belittled, criticised and undermined. The victim may be prevented from getting their fair share of decent tasks and may be heavily criticised in a group for things that others appear to get away with. A common bullying tactic is for a manager to set unrealistic goals for a member of staff and then change them as time progresses, or ensure the victim is passed over for promotion, or has the credit for their work stolen.

Taking Action

Anyone who believes they are a victim of bulling in the workplace should talk informally to another colleague or manager about the situation. It could be that someone who, for example, believes they are being given more and more work may actually find out that, because of commercial pressures, it's happening to everyone and they aren't being singled out.

Assuming that's not the case, then the next step regarding bullying in the workplace would be to talk to a union representative, a member of HR, or a direct manager or supervisor, unless they are the one doing the bullying. One piece of advice from the government's directgov website is for the victim to actually speak to the person doing the bullying, as they may not realise how they are coming across. The victim should work out what to say beforehand and try to stay cool and polite.

Another piece of advice regarding bullying is to keep a diary of events as and when they happen. This can prove invaluable not only in evidence against the bully but also may correlate with events that management have noticed and offer a different explanation for them than may have been given by the bully. Of course, this won’t in itself stop the bullying but can be very useful later on if the victim decides to take out a Grievance Procedure.

The Next Step

The main recourse for someone who is being bullied in the workplace is likely to be through the laws covering discrimination and harassment, although the workers' right involved depend on the nature of the bullying and the subjects used by the abuser. For advice on workplace bullying there are charities that can help out, such as the National Bullying Helpline, the Citizens Advice Bureau and ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

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I'm a lorry driver for a small family firm. My employer often shout and swears to me if I can't get a load done due to traffic or loading delays. He won't tell me what I'm expected to do for my next load so I find it hard to plan my meals and breaks. I start around 4 on Monday morning, away all week and always last back on Friday when the other driver is finished before lunch but sits around just to get his hours up. This is never questioned. He often says if I can't get it done he'll get someone in that will. When I point out things like drivers hours regulations or speed limits I get the F word frequently, even after my days work is done or by text when I'm on holiday. What can/should I do?Thanks.
Rob - 13-Aug-20 @ 12:48 PM
Hi, My team leader said I passed my probation (verbally). Two days later I had to leave work to take my 2 year old to the GP and A&E later as she was having high temperatures. I informed him of this. He decided to extend my probation by another month. My question is that after he passed my probation (verbally), can he actually extend my probation and what rights do I have in this matter? Thanks Nethaji
tnethaji - 19-Feb-18 @ 11:09 AM
I have been at my job for about a month.My normal hours are 12-8pm.A few years back I was hit head on in a car accident.I have not seen a chiropractor for some time, and my back really started to give me trouble.I seen a chiropractor and they wanted me to be on a program for 30 visits with exercising, treatment which takes me about an hour and a half.I was able to do this fine working the 12-8 hours.I told my boss that I was seeing a chiropractor due to the car accident.Ever since I told her, she moved me to the hours of 9-6 just so I cannot go.I got a doctors excuseand will only allow this for2 days.What are my rights in this situation..She is a very terrible person to work for, but I need my job.I have application out, but until I find something else, I have to put up with this terrible person.What can I do?
Mary - 27-Sep-14 @ 11:19 AM
I am in a band. two of the three members are in a releationship together. for some months now. there have been incessant private jokes that I am never party to. I ask occasionally what the joke is and am told some such thing or other. but often I will be learning a song.sometimes I shut my eyes to do this as there are difficult harmonies.and I open my eyes and see faces being pulled. sometimes one will stand behind me and smiles will go back and forth and little chuckles. I never am told or know what is funny. this happened on a gig the other day.and I felt so uncomfortable I had to stop the gig and ask to be let in on the joke. after that happened I wrote them an email that just said being excluded from all the joking was beginning to have an adverse affect on me. I have since had an email from the boyfriend saying I should be grateful to be in the band and that I have upset the band leader by what I have said. I apologised for upsetting anyone but said that I had to voice my concerns. and that I had to feel I can voice my concerns without fear of repercussions. and that I was entitled to work in an envoirenment which was not belittling. I have to go and rehearse today and tomorrow. I feel ganged up on. and I have said that I feel sick now before attending rehearsals. they deny any of what I have expereienced and said they have been utterly profesional and made sure everyone feels at ease. this is not my experience. I dont know what else to do.
sugar - 26-Sep-13 @ 12:02 PM
I have been off work five months now due to stress caused by my boss. I have no one else to turn to because this man owns the company.I have worked here for 15yrs and this has been happening for the past 2-3yrs.I have come back from holidays to find things broken and I get the blame even though I was not even in the place and this happened everytime I was off even for a long weekend or even if it was a normal working week. The last time he stood in the middle of the shop floor and called me bloody useless.If I was useless why would I be asked to work overtime especially at weekends or be left in charge if the foreman and fitters were not present. The company has taken on a lot of migrants in the last few years and now they are about 70% of the workforce.He told me and others that if he could get rid of all the local people he would but the thing is, he told us separately so its my word against his.To me and others he wants to replace us with migrants and he is doing a good job because there is only 4 locals left.I seen this coming but I thought I could handle it but I could not. The day he called me bloody useless was the day I walked out and went to the doctor who has been giving me lines since.I have epilepsy which happened to me when I was in a war zone and was war pensioned out.I think he played on this because I would start shaking and I did not want to go back to square one I felt I had to leave as I had not taken a seizure in 17yrs.I just could not take it anymore,i would rather fight a war. I looked into taking legal action but the law is very grey and I can't afford it. To me I got screwed,a migrant worker has my job which I have been told,my health has gone downhill and my head is in a dark place and there is no legal place to turn.
John - 15-Aug-13 @ 2:48 PM
hi at the moment i am off work with stress, this being due to a person that i work with.I hae had issues with this person for quiet awhile, a few weeks ago i asked for a transfer to another department but i was talked out of it.Things got worse she will not work as a team,everythingas to be her way, she will not help out and she always wants the easy work i spoke with my team leader but he just dismisses it. I am not the only person that finds her difficult.When we had a meeting to try and discuss the situation she threw her chair back pointer at me and shouted in a aggressive manner, that i was the problem, all she got told was not to do it again.I dont feel as though i can work withher any longer if i put in a request for a tranfer are they obliged to help me out
jewels - 16-Jul-13 @ 11:56 AM
Hiya I have had years of troubles with different people within the same gang within work, last week a older lady who makes out to do no wrong made up lies about my manager and another member of staff and then said I had said these untrue things to her, it caused me to be questioned by one of the woman involved and i denied saying a thing which is true but the manager says she will have a word with the lady who made up the nasty things but that she can not stop gossip, so i said its slander and want something to be done about it and then I get threaten to be sat down by the area manager so he can find out why I got these troubles i said its not me who made up such things............ so what advice anyone has be good thanks
wayne - 5-Jun-12 @ 10:30 PM
@ Janet. I suspect this has been resolved by now .. Anyhow, the bottom line is always read your contract, terms and conditions of employment, sickness and absence policy..... Not enough to go on in your query but as you are classified as under DDA it seems your employer has recognised some of its legal requirement to make 'reasonable adjustments' to avoid you being subject to discrimination by previously agreeing to pay you whilst absent for your hospital appointments. I advise prior to making any agreement, you contact your union rep and ascertain whether this adjustment is 'reasonable' given the nature of your work in balance with your disability and the requirements of your terms of employment. Additionally ascertain whether other employees have been treated differently.
Blade64 - 28-May-12 @ 9:30 PM
I am classed as DDA and have always been allowed to take my hospital appointments with pay. Now I have been advised to shorten my hours (from Mon - Friday 08:00 to 16:00) to Tues - Friday 08:00 to 16:00. I have been told if my hospital appointments fall between Tues-Friday, I will need to take this as my day off. Could you please let me know if this is correct.
Janet - 9-Feb-12 @ 2:55 PM
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