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  • Writer's pictureFiona Murray

How to survive workplace bullying

Workplace bullying is now so common across the world that research shows that nearly a third of people will experience it at some point during their working career.

People are normally surprised to hear that being bullied at work is not illegal unless you can prove that it is done as a result of one of the characteristics protected under equality legislation.

However, when you are feeling helpless, worried and having sleepless nights because of it here are 10 positive actions you can take :-

1. Deflect the bully if you can. Remain calm, stand firm, and try to keep up a confident appearance. Keep a detailed record of every incident; you will need it as proof if you decide to make a complaint.

2. Check your job description. If you suddenly find yourself being set menial tasks, or are given an increased workload with shorter deadlines, and it isn’t in your contract then you can do something about it.

3. Try to get witnesses to bullying incidents, and avoid situations where you are alone with the bully.

4. Get advice from your trade union, or from personnel and health and safety officers at work. Does your employer have a policy on harassment or against unacceptable behaviour?

5. Take a stress management course, and do some assertiveness training. They are good for your general health, and will help you in the future.

6. If you go ahead with a complaint, choose your words carefully. State the facts clearly, but don’t get sucked into a slanging match – you could be accused of malicious behaviour.

7. Get emotional support from your family and friends, talk to them about how you are feeling. Ask your GP about counselling. Take sick leave if you need it.

8. If you decide to leave your job because of the bullying, let your company know exactly why you are resigning. It may help others in the future.

9. If you wish to pursue a legal claim against your employer, start by taking advice from your union. If you have a good case, they will take it up on your behalf.

10. Many forms of legal action that may be possible, including: industrial tribunals, civil claims for personal injury, and sometimes even criminal action.

Good luck and if you want to talk to someone who has experienced what you are going through, give me a call !

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