Bullying and Harassment
Whether you are an employer facing a grievance or an employee finding your working life intolerable, bullying can be a major headache.
When we come to work most of us just want to do a good job. The more conscientious we are, the more sensitive we are to criticism. Many allegations of bullying seem quite minor in themselves – not being included, being overloaded, being criticised unfairly, and so forth – but all these things build up to become demoralising, then upsetting, and then finally it all becomes too much and can lead to being off sick with stress.
Once this situation has developed it is often very difficult to change, and all too often it ends with a resignation and a claim for constructive dismissal, or the employee is dismissed because of the long-term absence from work. From the employer’s point of view, all this is unhealthy, time-consuming and bad for business.
The first step for an employee is to raise a grievance, which is normally done by writing a letter to HR or the appropriate manager. This can be a daunting step in itself. If it does not make things any better, the employee may feel they have no alternative to resigning. If the bullying has been serious, and the employee resigned promptly in response, they could have a claim for constructive dismissal.
There is also useful free guidance available from ACAS in their guide for employees on bullying and harassment and their guide for managers and employers for stress related absence, additional help is available from ACAS, and the HSE, who have a guide to stress.