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Does your work place have a bully

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The presence of office politics is often taken for granted in the modern-day workplace, but when it escalates to bullying, it needs to be addressed. After revelations of incidents of bullying at No. 10, the subject has once again come to the fore via the media. Whereas in previous years it may have been seen as something one would just accept, intimidation, harassment and abuse of authority are now recognised as completely unacceptable forms of abuse in the office environment and not just harmless fun.

UK statistics on bullying in the work place

Research conducted by Company magazine in conjunction with one of the UK’s largest trade unions, UNISON, reveals that over a third of women in the workplace have been, or continue to be affected by bullies in the workplace. Further results show that in many cases the bully is a woman in a superior position and that only 22% of victims report the abuse. Although this research was conducted via a women’s magazine, it is apparent from media reports that men are just as likely to suffer at the hands of office bullies.

Besides reducing productivity levels, bullying in the workplace can have devastating results for the victim. If you believe you, or anyone else is the subject of any form of abuse in your office, there are steps you can take to ensure it does not continue.

bullying at work

What are the signs?

Constructive criticism can be helpful and is sometimes a necessary part of working within a successful team, but if you feel that you are being singled out for criticism, then this is not acceptable. If you are the victim of blatant verbal abuse or are being made to feel uncomfortable by negative remarks at your expense then it is likely you are being bullied.

You may not be the only person victimised: an office bully who is also the boss may think intimidation is an effective way to manage their workforce.

What Action can I take?

One of the reasons bullying continues to exist within the workplace is that people are reluctant to report it. This may be because they are worried about the repercussions of confronting the bully, or it could even be due to misplaced embarrassment as after all, bullying is more often associated with the school yard rather than the confines of the office. It is helpful to document any incidents of bullying as these accounts may be essential should legal action be taken in the future. Confronting the bully in a professional manner should be your first course of action: it may be that they are not aware of the impact of their behaviour. If this proves unsuccessful, or you do not feel you can speak to your colleague directly, you should speak to their line manager who should inform your employer. Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure the bullying ceases. If the bully is the owner of the company and their behaviour continues despite you vocalising your grievances, then you should seek legal advice. With sufficient evidence, if the bullying fails to stop and you feel it necessary to resign due to the work environment, you may be able to claim constructive dismissal.

Most employers are aware that bullies in the workplace need to be eradicated and realise that a happy work environment is essential for a successful business. However, should you feel that your concerns are not being heard then it is wise to seek legal advice to ensure you have the support and relevant evidence to take matters further.

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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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