The impact workplace bullying can have on victims

August 10, 2018
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With huge organisations like the NHS admitting to having a workplace bullying crisis, it’s evidently still a very real and very serious issue affecting millions of UK workers today.


What amounts to workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is scarcely different to the type of bullying that takes place in school playgrounds and the effects can be just as devastating.

Although physical bullying is more of a rarity at work, emotional bullying is regrettably rife. 

Workplaces are supposed to be comfortable environments that allow and encourage employees to be creative, to collaborate and to ultimately work at the best of their ability. This becomes exceptionally difficult when an employee lives in fear of their manager or is subject to undermining and humiliation by colleagues on a daily basis.

Common examples of workplace bullying include:

  • Stealing credit for someone’s work
  • Name calling, snide remarks, jokes at someone else’s expense
  • Unfair and frequent criticism
  • Excluding and isolating someone
  • Threats and harassment
  • Regularly changing work guidelines

Often the motive behind workplace bullying is no deeper than sheer jealousy or personal dislike, or perhaps the bully is attempting to reflect their insecurities onto somebody else.


The physical, emotional and day-to-day impact of workplace bullying

The effect of workplace bullying does not wear off once the working day is over.

Victims are only likely to become more anxious and reluctant to return to work the next day, especially when the bullying is long-term.

This will have a significant impact on the quality of their work and potentially cause them to detest their job, which is devastating for victims who are in their dream position or career. Workplace bullying is also often more of a prevalent issue than employers tend to realise, as it can affect the entire workforce, particularly if the bully is someone high up or a senior manager.


Real-life cases of workplace bullying

An online survey carried out by the Guardian revealed that out of over 1,500 NHS staff members, 81% had been subject to workplace bullying. Even more worryingly, 44% said that bullying was still an ongoing problem at work.


The Whittington NHS Trust in North London, recently took part in an investigation to gage the scope of workplace bullying. Out of every four respondents, three had experienced and reported bullying or harassment. Professor Duncan Lewis, who produced the report, cited the Trust’s “unresponsive leadership” which nurtures a culture of bullying.


When the bully is not a colleague or manager

The workplace bully does not have to be someone who you work closely with or someone who has authority over you. It can be customers, investors, rival business owners – even your workplace’s cleaning staff.  Regardless of who is it, there will always be someone you can turn to and you must never undermine the severity of their behaviour and how it makes you feel just because of who they are. Many cases of workplace bullying amount to harassment or even discrimination, in which case the employee would be able to take legal action against the offender. The employee may even be able to claim against the employer if they believe they knew of the issue and turned a blind eye.

Employment law solicitors can help both employees and employers to reduce workplace bullying and the effects it has on the involved individuals as well the organisation. 

If employees are dismissed unfairly, or if they believe they have a case for constructive dismissal as a result of workplace bullying they may take their matter to the employment tribunal. 


The impact workplace bullying can have on victims
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