Don’t ignore bullying, says charity - Palmers Solicitors

Don’t ignore bullying, says charity

A charity working with parents has urged employers to do more to make their workplaces free of bullying.

The call came from Family Lives, which encourages parents to seek support and works with them to offer solutions to situations or difficulties they may be facing, as it published the findings of an online survey into workplace bullying. A total of 1,543 people completed the survey, published on 12 January, which found that:

  • 73 per cent said bullying they had experienced was verbal, including threats, while 60 per cent reported being excluded, ignored and isolated;
  • 43 per cent said they were bullied by their line manager, 38 per cent by a colleague and 20 per cent by a senior management team member or chief executive;
  • 35 per cent of bullying went on for more than a year;
  • 74 per cent said workplace bullying affected their family life and close relationships;
  • 48 per cent felt that they had to continue to put up with the bullying; and
  • 20 per cent had been signed off work with stress, 44 per cent sought medical advice or counselling because of the bullying and the same percentage felt they needed to take official action to get the bullying stop

Jeremy Todd, chief executive of Family Lives, said: “Workplace bullying is undoubtedly going to impact on family life. It would be very hard for anyone not to bring troubles home from work, but the pressure that a situation at work can put on relationships can make family life extremely turbulent.

“Support is out there and we would encourage people not to ignore incidents, hoping that they will rectify themselves. The workplace should be an environment of professionalism, respect and courtesy and whilst many employers are committed to establishing a bullying-free zone, it is clear that work still needs to be done.”

Palmers’ employment law specialist Lara Murray said: “Bullying can take many forms, including making malicious comments about someone, setting them up to fail by giving them excessive workloads or constantly criticising someone without justification. It does not need to take place face to face but can involve written communications, telephone calls, emails or the use of social media.

“Employers have a clear legal duty to tackle workplace bullying, harassment and intimidation and the Health and Safety Executive says all organisations should put in place and implement a bullying and harassment policy, promote a culture where such behaviour is not tolerated and be aware of organisational factors associated with bullying – such as it being perceived that bullies can get away with it – and take steps to address them. For more information on steps employers can take to address workplace bullying, please contact our Employment Law team.”