Employment Solicitors

I’ve been made redundant. How do I choose an employment lawyer? What is a grievance at work? What is a disciplinary action? How do I sign a settlement agreement? These are all employment law issues that our expert employment lawyers can help you with.





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Bullying at Work FAQs

Bullying is where you are subjected to abusive, offensive or intimidatory behaviour at work, usually by someone more powerful against someone vulnerable, or who has, or is perceived to have, less power. Bullying need not have any connection to discrimination, or any characteristic you have, but there’s a gap in the law, meaning it’s harder to bring a claim where the treatment you’re subjected to isn’t because of your age / sex / disability / sexual orientation / race / gender reassignment etc. and thus can count as harassment.

Anything that makes you feel vulnerable, upset, scared, uncomfortable, intimidated, undermined or threatened can count as bullying.

Examples of bullying include spreading gossip or rumours, picking on someone, undermining someone, not promoting someone or excluding them from meetings/activities. It can also include malicious performance management or disciplinary proceedings, overbearing or intimidating levels or style of supervision (though just giving feedback or conducting routine performance reviews are not in themselves bullying).

There is a difference between a tough manager and a bullying or abusive manager.

Bullying can be done verbally, face to face, such as abusing, intimidating or humiliating someone in a meeting (including remote meetings). It can also be done remotely, via email, chat apps like Teams or Slack, or by text message or WhatsApp, or letter.

Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating your dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or humiliating environment for you. It can also be where someone is treated less favourably because they previously submitted to or rejected such behaviour.

Harassment can be of a sexual nature, or can relate to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital/civil partner status, pregnancy/maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Many different things could count as harassment – it’s hard to be exhaustive – but it will include things like unwanted physical contact (touching, pinching, groping), badgering someone to go out for a drink, sharing inappropriate images or jokes, unwelcome sexual behaviour, discriminatory jokes or remarks, offensive remarks, texts, or emails, teasing or mocking someone for their disability, race, age etc.

Anything that someone does which makes you feel scared or not safe at work can be intimidation. Shouting or speaking aggressively, pointing a finger in someone’s face, standing over someone making use of increased height or their position sitting at their desk, could all well amount to intimidation. If behaviour intimidates you in some way, it’s likely to be bullying or harassment.

The first step is to check the organisation’s bullying policy if they have one. It will often be a combined policy covering bullying and harassment. It’s likely that you’ll be asked to raise an informal complaint or grievance to try to resolve matters informally, perhaps directly with the bully. However, that’s often not feasible, as you’d understandably feel that it may just hand the bully another reason to bully you.

The next step would usually be to raise a formal complaint, with HR or a senior manager. We can help write your complaint, and ensure it includes everything it needs to work towards your desired solution.

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Whether you’re an employee or employer, and you’re looking for expert employment law advice – QLAW CAN HELP! Reach out in whatever way best suits you. We’re looking forward to speaking to you very shortly!