Workplace Bullying

Bullying and harassment include behaviours that can make someone feel intimidated or offended. Bullying in the workplace can take place as a one-off incident or as a series of incidents that take place over time. In either case, it is a serious hr issue which must be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

Workplace bullying can happen at work, at a work social event or on any work-related trip. Although bullying isn’t against the law, harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

The unwanted behaviour can be related to one of the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Marriage/ Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy/ Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sexual Orientation

It is the responsibility of the employer to protect their employees from bullying and harassment. They are liable for any harassment suffered by employees. Employers should aim to give examples of what constitutes harassment and which behaviours are unacceptable, as a matter of good practice. These can include:

  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Treating someone unfairly
  • Regularly undermining a competent worker
  • Unwelcome comments, jokes or pranks
  • Misuse of power or position
  • Exclusion or victimisation

Unfortunately, these unacceptable behaviours are not always easy to spot. Bullying at work can happen subtly. It may start off of small, making the recipient think that these behaviours are common practice in the organisation. Therefore, many can be afraid to speak out about it for fear of being accused of overreacting. Often, fear of retribution clouds judgement and colleagues can be reluctant to come forward as a witness.

If workplace harassment continues unchecked by employers, it can cause serious problems for the organisation. The following issues can fester and corrode the firm:

  • Poor employee relations & morale
  • Loss of respect for managers
  • Loss of productivity
  • Employee absence
  • Resignations
  • Damage to company reputation
  • Court cases & unlimited compensations

Employers must deal with bullying and harassment accordingly. Behaviours affecting any protected characteristics are unlawful and are not acceptable on a moral ground. Failure to deal with these issues can seriously undermine your business productivity, in addition to leaving you vulnerable to possible employment tribunal claims.

If you wish to discuss matters of bullying or harassment in your company, don’t hesitate to let us know and would be happy to advise you.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment