Complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace are, unfortunately, extremely common. If you’re experiencing bullying and harassment then it can be a confusing and a stressful time for you. This post will attempt to address what you should do if you think that you’re being bullied or harassed at work. The following steps are recommended (however, your personal circumstances may mean that such steps are not always entirely appropriate):

  1. Speak to your manager or an appropriate person about your problem
  2. File a formal grievance
  3. Ask your employer to take steps to remedy the situation
  4. Resign from your employment

Speak to your manager or an appropriate person about your problem

The first action to take is try and solve your problem informally without recourse to a formal grievance. The aim of such an approach is to avoid the potentially embarrassing situation of a formal investigation and to resolve the issue in a rapid time frame. If you can’t speak to your manager (because they’re the one bullying you or because you know they won’t deal with the issue properly) then you should speak to another appropriate senior person (such as your manager’s manager or a manager in another department).

File a formal grievance

If you can’t resolve the matter informally then this is the next step you should take. You should write a letter (or an email) to your employer detailing what your problems are and how they’re affecting you. If your employer believes it appropriate in the circumstances they will then arrange an investigation and a grievance hearing. Your employer should deal with the issues reasonably promptly and should also make sure that you’re kept updated at all times.

Read more: How to write a grievance letter

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Template: Example grievance letter

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Ask your employer to take steps to remedy the situation

If the bullying and harassment persists after you’ve made a formal complaint then you should take steps to request that your employer either moves you to a different department or that your contact with the offending person is minimised. However, such an action won’t always be absolutely appropriate – for example where the business that you work for is small and isn’t actually able to move you to a different department or change your duties.

Resign from your employment

This step is not recommended in all circumstances and whether resignation is appropriate really depends on whether you feel you can continue to work at your employer. If you resign from your employment you have the option of claiming constructive unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. Constructive dismissal occurs where your employer has fundamentally breached your contract of employment by breaching the implied term of mutual trust and confidence or an express term of your contract of employment. Before you resign from your employment you should file a grievance (if you haven’t already done so) detailing your grievances and why you have no other choice but to resign.

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Read more: How to submit a claim for constructive dismissal

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The Direct 2 Lawyers Employment Team post daily on interesting employment law cases, Employment Tribunal judgments and Employment Appeal Tribunal judgments. All of the Employment Team posts are written by qualified specialist employment lawyers

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