Bullying in the Workplace: Anti-Bullying Week

When you think of bullying you may think of children on a playground but the sad fact is that bullying doesn’t always stop when you leave school. ACAS have advised that in the last year they received 20,000 calls in relation to bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Are You Being Bullied at Work?

Bullying in the workplace can have a severe impact, be it in relation to an increase in sick days, a downturn in productivity, or even the loss of an employee. It is important therefore that allegations of bullying are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Discrimination within the Workplace

If the bullying is related to a protected characteristic, as defined within the Equality Act 2010, then depending on the nature of the bullying and the individual circumstances, the employee may have a claim for harassment against both his employer and the bully himself.

If the bullying is not due to a protected characteristic, e.g. just a personal dislike, unfortunately there is no recourse for the employee to the employment tribunal for the bullying itself. This doesn’t mean that the employee just has to stand back and take the bullying in the workplace however. All employers have a duty of care to their employees and this includes allowing an employee to submit a grievance over any miss-treatment they may be suffering.

If an employer doesn’t have a procedure for handling grievances, ACAS lays down a standard procedure which ought to be followed for best practice. In short, following a submission of a grievance, the employer should appoint someone to investigate the grievance (which includes interviewing any relevant persons), reaching a decision and allowing the employee to appeal the decision if they are unhappy with it.

Can I Claim for Constructive Dismissal?

If the employer fails to adequately deal with the grievance, the employee may feel that the employer has breached the implied duty of trust and confidence leaving them with no other option but to resign. In those circumstances the employee, depending on whether they are eligible to do so, may issue a claim for constructive dismissal.

Are you being bullied at work? Suffering from harassment or discrimination? To discuss your options and how to move forward, please give our specialist employment solicitors a call on 0113 244 9931 or click here to request a call back.

Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and this year is from 16th – 20th November 2015. #AntiBullyingWeek