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Bullying in the workplace

There are many forms of bullying and in this article, we will look into what workplace bullying is, how you can recognise it, and how you can protect yourself from it.

What is bullying?
Link workplace bullying institute –

The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as ‘repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators, that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Work interference – sabotage that prevents work from getting done
  • Offensive conduct or behaviours (including nonverbal), which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Bullying behaviours can take many forms. Some of these can be obvious whilst others are hard to identify, even when you are the target.

    Some examples of things a bully may do:
  • Encourage others to make unwarranted complaints
  • Threaten termination
  • Micromanage
  • Set impossible deadlines or performance expectations
  • Take away responsibilities
  • Start malicious rumours
  • Engage in social deprivation
  • Insult people and call them names
  • Humiliate people publicly
  • Sabotage work purposefully
  • Yell and use profanity

Although bullies may come across as confident, assertive, and capable, they are more likely to be insecure and feel threatened by their targets. They are often ambitious and highly motivated, and one study found that many bullies possess high levels of social competence which enables them to abuse their co-workers, and still receive positive evaluations from their own managers.

A lot of the time, victims may feel that they are inviting the bullying behaviour – internalise the attacks and eventually believe that they deserve poor treatment.
The target’s mental and physical health is likely to be affected:

  • The risk of stress-related illnesses, such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke increases
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression and anxiety

What can you do if you are being bullied?

  1. Name the behaviour

You need to admit to yourself that you are being bullied. You also need to recognise that the bully is the source of the problem, and that it is not your fault.

  1. Speak to your boss or HR manager about the problem

They may be able to help you resolve the situation. If they can’t, at least you know that they are aware and then move onto the next steps.

  1. Take a break

If you are a victim of bullying behaviour, take some time off work to recover from its physical and emotional effects. Make an appointment to get a medical check-up. Bullying can have a number of negative effects, so it is important to take care of your physical and psychological wellbeing.

  1. Document the situation

Describe what, where, when, and how events occurred. Record what the bully said and how it felt. This can be evidence of your complaint, but it will also help you to see that you aren’t at fault and that you should not be ashamed.

  1. Look for others who may also be experiencing bullying

A group complaint will be harder to dismiss. Check in on other co-workers and make sure they are okay – also check in on people who have recently left the job and see if they left because they were bullied

  1. Prepare a business case against the bully.

Senior managers and your HR department will find financial data difficult to argue with, so analyse current and historical data to determine the cost of employing a bully. This could include the costs of:

  • Staff turnover
  • Absenteeism
  • Lawsuits
  1. Expose the bully

Make sure to take your complaint to the highest level that you can and present your case

Ask if it is possible for you to be transferred to a different team or area until the situation is handled. Meet any aggression from the bully with calm resolution and courage.

If you have any safeguarding concerns and need to speak to someone urgently, please contact our safeguarding officer David on 07467952373.

If it is not urgent but should be brought to our attention, please call 01702 782001 or email