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Bullying at work

"I was doing fine at work until we got this new manager. Everything I did seemed to be wrong and she kept criticizing me in front of everyone. In the end it got me down so much that I quit."
Anya, Reading

Unfortunately bullying doesn't only happen at school. It can also happen in the workplace. If you are being bullied you don't have to put up with it.


What is workplace bullying?

There is no set list of bullying behavior, but it includes constant unfair criticism like in Anya's case, as well as things like shouting at staff, making someone the butt of jokes, making offensive personal comments and setting someone up to fail by overloading them with work.

If you genuinely feel like you are being picked on unfairly by your boss or another colleague, you are probably being bullied.

Bullying can also be discrimination. If you feel that the reason you are being singled out is because of your race, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, or because you have a disability see the Discrimination section in the menu on the right.

I am being bullied - what should I do?

Dealing with bullying takes courage, especially because the bully is often someone in a position of authority. But remember that you have the right not to be bullied at work. Have a look at How to tackle problems at work in the menu on the right.

What if I walk out of my job because of bullying?

If you have already raised a complaint about the bullying and your employer has not taken reasonable steps to prevent it happening you might feel that the only option you have is to leave your job. If this happens you could make a claim for "constructive dismissal" (see the section on Dismissal in Ending a job, in the menu on the right, for more information). But remember, you have to have been in the post for at least a year if you want to bring a tribunal claim for constructive dismissal. If you are in this situation, or are thinking about quitting, speak to an experienced adviser at your local advice agency or law centre.

Bullying can be so serious that it makes people ill:

If bullying is causing physical or mental health problems like depression and anxiety, make an appointment to see your GP. Keep a record of what your doctor says and your symptoms. If your health problems persist, contact your local advice centre, you might be able to make a claim against your employer.

December 2011

Get advice

Need help with a problem? Find advice services and solicitors near you who can help you solve your problem. Many people are able to get free help and advice.

Think you may have you been discriminated against?

Unfair dismissal New

Have you been treated unfairly? Do other people seem to get a better deal than you?
See our Is that discrimination? section

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