Being bullying at work is a common, unfortunate and misunderstood reality for many people. The Oxford Dictionary defines a bully as:
“A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker”
In the following blog we discuss workplace bullying, how to spot it and its status in the eyes of the law.
Who can be bullied?
Anyone and everyone can be the victim of bullying at work. It is a common misconception that you can only be bullied by a superior; however it is possible to be bullied by a subordinate. A bully targets individuals based on their inherent dislikes, because of this bullies can be found everywhere.
What are the different types of bullying?
- Verbal and instant
- Through email and memos
- Over the phone
- Through social media
- Through direct or indirect ridicule
How to identify bullying at work
For various reasons, workplace bullying often goes unnoticed, as it is more generally accepted as a playground occurrence. There can often be confusion over what amounts to workplace bullying. We have compiled a list of indicators to help you figure out if you or someone you know is being bullied at work.
The different types of bullying at work:
- Spreading malicious rumours
- Being discriminated against due to unchangeable attributes, however this could be straight discrimination
- Insulting a colleague
- Criticising and purposely demeaning an employee in front of others
- Abusive conduct in the form of misuse of power or position; threatening, humiliation, intimidating, exclusion and victimisation
- Unwelcome sexual advances (although this could amount to sexual harassment)
- Making unfounded threats or comments about job security
- Preventing employee advancement by deliberately blocking their workplace progression due to unfounded dislike for an employee that has nothing to do with their work
If you believe that you have been subject to bullying and harassment at work, find out more about Employment Solicitors can assist you.
Is bullying at work illegal?
Bullying as an act is in itself not illegal; however harassment is. Under the 2010 Equality act there are the guidelines for harassment. Workplace bullying is normally internally addressed, as companies tend to have different policies and procedures when it comes to a claim of bullying. However this is not to say that there are not legal steps that can be taken, as “Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment - they’re liable for any harassment suffered by their employees," so claims of bullying may be made under discrimination and harassment.
No one should have to suffer bullying at work. If you have experience bullying and harassment at work then you could be able to pursue a claim for harassment.