Have you ever been bullied at work, or noticed someone else being bullied? Perhaps you feel singled out for negative treatment by a particular colleague. You might be constantly criticised - in private or in front of others - even though you’re perfectly competent at your job. Maybe you’re always the butt of one person’s jokes. Or perhaps you notice everyone else gets invited on an informal work night out except you.
Gone are the days of bullying being solely about a verbal tongue-lashing or a physical roughing up. It needn’t be face to face, or even seen or heard. It could be through email, phone or social media, and deliberate avoidance and exclusion also count.
Bullying, in whatever form, doesn’t just make you miserable and dread going to work. It can also end up affecting your mental health and physical health, and impact on your home life, too. Some extreme cases have even unfortunately led to post-traumatic stress disorder or even suicide.
Recent research shows that almost a third of people have been bullied at work. A survey carried out by YouGov by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) as part of last year’s Anti-Bullying Week found that:
And the fact that many people fear reprisals so won’t speak up means that these figures are almost certainly set to worsen.
Although there’s no law against bullying in the workplace, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 your employer must legally ensure your health, safety and welfare - which means taking to give you a positive environment to work in.
No one has the right to bully or harrass you at work, and if you’re receiving unfair treatment you should take steps to get it stopped. Not just for your own happiness and career, but also to prevent it happening to anyone else...
There’s more guidance on what to do if you’re being bullied here: https://www.gov.uk/workplace-bullying-and-harassment. You can also contact ACAS on at www.acas.org.uk or by calling 0300 123 1100.