Mental Health

Workplace Bullying – How SSM Can Help

Bullying at work

It’s 2020; bullying should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it’s still extremely prevalent, and it’s not only school kids who suffer at the hands of these cowardly individuals.

Bullying in the workplace is regrettably all too common, and it can come in many forms; deliberately trying to embarrass or humiliate an individual, or several members of staff / peers. Personal comments made about an individual’s appearance, work performance, private life, or culture, either in front of work colleagues or on a one-to-one basis. A senior colleague abusing their power to deliberately cause distress to an individual, or several staff members.

Bullying can present itself in many ways; violence towards an individual, being aggressive and verbally abusive, using vulgar or offensive language. It can mean deliberately ignoring somebody, starting viscous rumours about them, instigating gossip, or giving somebody an impossible workload. Becoming successful within a company may result in in an individual becoming a victim of bullying from a jealous colleague.

Victims of bullying often “accept” this behaviour for fear of confrontation, nobody sticking up for them / believing them, or for concern it could make the situation worse if they speak up.

Another workplace issue some employees face today is victimisation. An example of this could be giving evidence towards a claim against your line manager, regarding an accusation of harassment involving another colleague. If your line manager then demotes you as a result, this is classed as victimisation.

Once you know you’re being treated unfairly within the workplace, the next step is to determine what type of treatment you are being subjected to. Your rights under law differ depending on which type of mistreatment you are experiencing.

The law states that bullying is classed as harassment when it is about disability, age, pregnancy or maternity, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, or gender reassignment.

Discrimination is also classed as unfair treatment due to these characteristics, and it is illegal to be treated differently because of these. An example of this could be your boss doesn’t allow you to apply for a promotion because you’re female.

Occasionally, discrimination is allowed due to legalities, but these cases are very rare.

It is a good idea to keep a record / diary of the bullying, indicating facts such as the dates, frequency, and any eyewitnesses or evidence (such as emails).

No matter the reasons behind bullying, it is never acceptable and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. All employers by law need to have anti-bullying policies and procedures put in place, and the individual being bullied should be able to put in a grievance via their line manager or HR department. The employer has a duty of care towards all employees, to ensure the workplace is safe for all and as stress free as possible.

Sometimes, these issues can be resolved without outside intervention, via an open but informal conversation with someone you trust in the company who is non-judgmental and willing to mediate, or by putting your thoughts into an email, if you do not feel comfortable with a face-to-face meeting. However, when this is not the case and you feel as though things cannot be resolved in this manner, it’s imperative that you seek help and advice via an outside source.

If you feel you are being bullied, victimised, harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, SSM are here to help you. We have trained volunteers on hand 7 days a week to take your calls, even if it’s just for a friendly chat or someone to listen and potentially signpost you towards organisations that can help.

Being bullied can feel lonely and helpless; if you’re reading this and you feel this way, please reach out to us. We can and will be able to help you.

Quick links:

SMM REACH OUT FORM

National Bullying Helpline

Samaritans

 Stress-Busting Tips

Text Shout

Post a comment