Ways to address bullying in workplace

Health Watch

What if I’m being bullied at work?

If you’re being bullied at work, it can be difficult to know what to do.
Sometimes bullying may be obvious, but other times it can be harder to identify.
Bullying can have a significant impact on your mental health.
If you experience bullying at work, you could take the following actions:

  • Find out about your workplace bullying policy. The policy should outline unacceptable behaviour and how to address the problem.
    Even without a policy, your employer has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure your health, safety and welfare at work.
    If they don’t take reasonable steps to protect you, they could be breaking the law;
  • Try to resolve the issue informally. With the support of your manager or a colleague, arrange to speak with the person who is bullying you (if you feel able to).
    Bear in mind that this is not always possible;
  •  Discuss it with someone you feel comfortable with – your manager, HR department, welfare officer or union representative.
    Be prepared to provide examples of your bullying experience;
  • Get independent advice. If you’re not ready to talk to someone at work about it, get the independent advisory services; and,
  • Raise a formal complaint.

If nothing improves, you may be able to resolve it through formal procedures at work.
This includes advice on what you can do if you’re unhappy with the outcome of your complaint.
Although there’s no specific law to protect you from bullying, you might want to seek legal advice.
Sometimes the situation might not improve, or you might feel as if you cannot take action.
In this case, you may decide that leaving your job is best for your mental health. If you feel forced to leave because of bullying, you might want to get further advice about your rights. You don’t have to put up with it.

Next week’s edition:
Getting support at work.