mental health awareness week 2016
20th May 2016

Bullying in the workplace often goes unseen. Employees may face constant criticism, get passed over for promotions, be falsely accused of making errors, be the subject of false rumours and more – yet the subtlety of these actions means there is a general lack of awareness around the issue. The effects can be devastating for both employees and employers both at work and home, affecting their relationships with colleagues, partners, friends and family members.

19 million sick days are lost due to bullying in the workplace each year in the UK, at a cost of £13billion per annum. 80% of managers know that bullying is occurring in their workplace but few admit to being involved.

A Family Lives survey published in January 2015 found that:

  • 78% of respondents felt the financial climate and shortage of jobs was preventing people from standing up to workplace bullying.
  • 74% of respondents said that workplace bullying affected their family life and close relationships.
  • 66% of respondents witnessed bullying at work with 43% saying they were bullied by their line manager.
  • 44% sought medical advice or counselling because of workplace bullying.
  • 20% were signed off work with stress caused by workplace bullying.

So what constitutes workplace bullying?

Pam Rogerson, HR Director at ELAS Business Support says bullying in the workplace is when a person, or group of people, creates an intimidating or humiliating work environment for another with the intention of harming their dignity, safety and wellbeing. Bullying can take many different forms from sexual harassment to being excluded from workplace activities; spreading malicious rumours about someone or picking on them in front of others, to blocking someone’s promotion or progress within the company.

If you feel that you are a victim of bullying in the workplace HR Director Pam Rogerson advises taking the following steps:

  • If you feel confident talking to the person who is bullying you this would be a good first approach. Tell them you will take an official route to stop their behaviour if it continues.
  • Know your company’s policies on bullying and behaviour in the workplace.
  • Document any instances of harassment in detail including the date, time and place the incidents took place, as well as any witnesses.
  • Confide in a manager. If you are being bullied by your manager then speak to your HR department.
  • Seek advice and find out your rights. Employees are heavily protected from any form of discrimination or bullying in the workplace and they will be able to advise you on any further steps to take should the behaviour continue.

Call ELAS Business Support today at 0845 862 8040 to find out more about bullying in the workplace and how the range of HR services we offer and policies can help prevent bullying in your organisation.


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