Bullying – FAQ

Often the behaviour of our boss or colleagues may feel like bullying. A lot of this “bullying” could also be described as unpleasant behaviour, this may cause you stress and even anxiety but it may not be bullying or harassment.

Bullying is:

  • Repeated.

  • Unreasonable, including: humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person.

  • Harassment, discrimination or violence.

Bullying is not:

  • Friendly banter, light-hearted exchanges, mutually acceptable jokes or compliments.

  • Occasional rudeness or one off incidents of unreasonable behaviour.

  • High performance standards.

  • Open and frank discussion about issues or concerns that takes place without personal insults.

  • Constructive feedback or advice.

  • making a complaint about a manager’s or other person’s conduct, if the complaint is made in a proper and reasonable way.

  • Requests for extra work to be done.

  • Warning or disciplining someone in line with an organisational policy.

  • An argument or difference of opinion (as long as it doesn’t become aggressive).

Firstly, you should find out if there are any policies or processes in place to prevent bullying in the workplace and follow the steps to report the incident. 

There may be people trained in your workplace who know how to deal with these issues in an appropriate manner.

If there are no set processes or procedures, you should do the following:

Keep a record every time something happens. Notes should record dates, times, what was said or done, who was there and how it made you feel.

You will then need to make your employer aware of the situation. It is best to raise the issue in writing.

If it is another employee who is bullying you, you should first raise the matter with your manager or supervisor. If the offender is your manager you may want to raise the matter with the next level of management. 

If the person who is bullying you is the owner of the company or the employer and there is nobody else to tell, you can contact us and we can advise and assist you.

After receiving your complaint the business should:

  • Support you and the person you have complained about.

  • Decide on a plan for investigation, including possibly suspending the person who is being investigated.

  • Give guidance on how to continue to work with the person.

  • Report back to you about the steps that have been taken.