Being bullied or harassed at work can have a devastating impact on both your career and your life outside work. Our workplace bullying solicitors can help you get the compensation and peace of mind you deserve, so you can focus on enjoying life again.
What is workplace bullying and harassment?
The Equality Act 2010 lays down specific regulations with regards to workplace harassment based on personal characteristics such as race, gender and sexuality. Bullying because of these protected characteristics is simple to define.
Often, however, workplace bullying is much subtler, and doesn’t necessarily fall under this act. Bullying at work can include actions such as:
- Humiliating you in front of peers or customers
- Being verbally or physically abusive
- Regular unwelcome teasing or ‘banter’
- Excessive criticism of your work output
- Unfair denial of advancement opportunities or holidays
- Exclusion from activities directly related to work or projects you’re working on
- Expecting overly-long hours from you in comparison to your colleagues.
Any of these carried out over a lengthy period of time after you have made it clear that these actions are unwelcome could be classified as bullying in the workplace. And these actions don’t necessarily need to be direct, two colleagues verbally abusing you amongst each other with you in earshot may also fall within this.
What are the penalties for bullying or harassing people at work?
If a specific individual is found guilty, they could be punished by a fine of up to £5,000, up to 6 months in jail, or both.
In the majority of cases, however, it is the employer as a whole who is to blame for these actions. Punishments in these cases will be financial and based on a range of factors. If found guilty, the employer would be expected to compensate you for loss of earnings and pay your legal fees at a minimum.
What should I do if I’m being bullied at work?
If you are being bullied at work the first thing to remember is to stay calm and avoid lashing out, the last thing you want is to have your own legal liabilities. Although it may be difficult in the moment, it will ensure you’re protected should the situation escalate.
Confronting your harasser, however, is a good place to start, assuming the harasser is a specific individual. Talk to them with a third-party present about how their actions are making you feel, making it clear that you want it to stop.
If this is ignored, you should then start by keeping detailed records. Each time an incident occurs, note down the date, time and location of the incident alongside what was said or done as soon as you can. As well as this, taking the time to write down how the incidents are making you feel can help your case. These incident records will be invaluable should you be required to take the case further.
Speaking to your manager or someone in the Human Resources department should then be your next port of call. In many cases, involving senior members of staff and presenting your documentation of the bullying will be enough for action to be taken and help you avoid additional stress.
Unfortunately, if this does not work, taking legal action may be your only option. In this case it is important to speak to a professional employment lawyer quickly. Tribunal cases typically have tight time limits, and waiting too long to take action can stop your case in its tracks.
When speaking to your solicitor, give them a full account of the facts and any negative consequences you have suffered, they will be able to provide you with guidance on next steps based on your unique situation.
Resigning due to workplace bullying
If you have exhausted all internal avenues with no action taken and you are forced to resign as a result of the bullying you are suffering, you may be able to take your former employer to an employment tribunal citing unfair dismissal.
Unfair dismissal is where a worker is forced to resign against their will because of the actions of their employer. Not everyone has the right to claim this, however, so it is important to consult with an employment solicitor and confirm your legal position before taking this step.
How we can help
Our employment law team contains specialist workplace bullying solicitors who have worked with many employees to claim the compensation they deserve after being bullied or harassed at their place of work.
We understand the devastating impact workplace harassment can have on your mental and physical health as well as your career, and work hard to ensure the stress you undergo throughout proceedings is minimised.
To speak to a member of our team regarding your case, simply call us on 0330 404 6434 or click here to request a callback.