Similar to harassment, bullying is behaviour that makes people feel offended or intimidated. Some examples of bullying behaviour include spreading malicious rumours, picking on someone, undermining competent employees, and denying someone’s promotion opportunities. Unfortunately, bullying is not against the law. This means that bullying behaviour cannot be punished too harshly. In certain circumstances, however, you can claim for work bullying.
Is work bullying your fault?
Most victims of bullying co-workers and abusive employers believe that it is their fault. What these people do not know is that employers have a duty of care to guard all their employees against harm, regardless of the form it takes. Additionally, the law requires employers to have statutory grievance procedures that staff can use in case of workplace bullying. If these procedures cannot solve a certain case, the employee should approach a solicitor, who can utilise appropriate legislation to protect him or her.
What can you do?
If you are the victim of workplace bullying, you can opt for constructive dismissal or file a claim for compensation. The first alternative requires you to prove that your employer has breached the contract. Some terms that you may use in this context include breach of duty of trust and confidence, or breach of duty of care to ensure a safe work environment or to provide reasonable support. But, convincing your employer to admit a breach of contract may be difficult. If you have already left your job because of bullying, you are able to claim compensation for unfair ‘constructive’ dismissal. This aspect, however, may also be difficult to prove.
The second alternative, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to be compensated for your suffering, but you cannot file a legal claim for work bullying directly. Such complaints can only be made under the laws covering harassment and discrimination, such as the Equality Act 2010.
Taking action against work bullying
If you have been bullied at work, the best thing you can do is to talk to one of our solicitors. Since we have handled numerous bullying cases so far, we advise you to write down the details of bullying incidents and make a formal complaint. When making the complaint, keep in mind to follow your employer’s statutory grievance procedures. If the problem continues, the only thing left for you to do is to pursue legal action against your employer.
How we can help you
Our solicitors at Accident Advice Helpline operate within different areas of dispute between employees and employers. If you wish to find out whether you have a good case or not, you can approach our specialists, who are ready to offer you a free consultation about how to claim compensation for workplace bullying and how much compensation you will be able to obtain. Although we can help you to achieve your goals in the most practical and efficient way possible by pursuing and negotiating a compensation claim for work bullying on your behalf, you are under no obligation to take legal action. If you decide not to take the matter further, you will not be charged for the initial consultation. Call us free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation advice about making a claim.
Date Published: December 2, 2013
Author: David Brown