Tackling Oppressive Behaviour in Employment


Harassment and Bullying

What to do if you are being bullied

Don’t suffer in silence, do something! – This is the first step into tackling this problem.

Secondly, speak to the bully. A direct approach can usually be the best initial action.

Make the person bullying/harassing you aware that you do not want them speaking or behaving towards you in the manner that they have.

Remember, bullies are cowards and do not like being confronted.

The majority of bullying goes on behind closed doors.

So tell a friend or work colleague.

You may well find out you are not the only one who has suffered. It is important that you do not try to cope on your own.

If you are in a union and there is a union safety rep where you work, tell them what has been happening.

A lot of current employers may have set up a voluntary Harassment Advisor Service as part of the workforce.

If this is the case, consult this person.

If you speak to a Union representative or an Harassment Advisor, he or she will only do what you ask or want and any dialogue will be kept in the strictest confidence.

If you are in a union but it is not recognised where you work, call your local union office.

The number will be on your membership card or in the local telephone directory.

You will still get the legal advice and support you need.

Where unions are not recognised, employers are obliged by law to consult the workforce on health and safety issues either directly or through members of staff independently elected as Representatives of Employee Safety (ROES).

Where they exist, you should consult the ROES who is likely to be a union member as well.

If you are not already in a union – join one.

You have every right to do so.

You do not have to tell your employers, but if they find out, it is illegal for them to sack you or to cause you detriment.

The union will listen to you and ensure you have the best advice.

The union can give you free legal advice, support you, put you in touch with support groups and approach the employer on your behalf.

Keep a note of the incidents which all lead to you feeling the way you do.

It does not matter where you keep this note, but always try and include times, dates, anyone else present who may have overheard the conversation and what was said to you by the person bullying/harassing you.

Tell your Manager or Supervisor.

If it is one of them who is bullying you, go and tell their Manager or send and Email or letter to them outlying the issue(s).

Take your diary with you to back up what you have to say.

They may not believe you but you have at least told them there is a bullying problem.

The more people that know, the more difficult it is for the bully to flourish.

In the end you may have to make a formal complaint and go through the grievance procedure.

If you do take this route, never go to a meeting connected with the complaint without your union rep or a friend as a witness.

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