Bullying is a common concern within the legal community; many callers to LawCare’s helpline complain of being bullied at work. Bullying at work can occur in many different ways, it can be very distressing and affect your mental health.
WHAT IS BULLYING? Bullying in the workplace is a type of abusive behaviour where an individual or a group of people create an intimidating or humiliating work environment for another. This can make those subjected to it anxious, depressed, and it can have an impact on family life too.
EXAMPLES OF BULLYING
WHAT BULLYING IS NOTMany organisations fail to see the effect that a bully can have on an individual and will try to position bullying in such a way that it is not an issue. You may hear managers describe bullying as many things, but it is not:
A personality clash – if you are being regularly excluded, belittled or intimidated, you are not clashing with someone, this is bullying
Character building – negative remarks and behaviour towards you will not build your character; the effects can be very distressing and affect your mental health.
Leadership style – dominant or aggressive managers may try and pass off this behaviour as their management style, but if you feel threatened, this is bullying
Provoked – bullying is never your fault
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF BULLYING?
On you: Bullying can make you feel anxious and humiliated, and can make you frightened, demotivated and unproductive as well as feel physically ill. You may feel very low and anxious about going into work and facing the individual or group that are causing you to feel this way. You may feel like you have no option but to leave the organisation you work for.
On the organisation Bullying reduces productivity, affects performance and causes relationships in the workplace to deteriorate. The cost to the business can include low morale, poor staff relations, difficulty recruiting new staff, a culture of hiding mistakes and a potential loss of valuable staff.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED
Good practice in organisations
Organisations should have detailed policies on bullying and behaviour in the workplace which should be applied at every level by management and communicated to all staff. If a member of staff reports bullying, take the complaint seriously and work with the individual to find a solution.
If you are worried that you are being bullied at work, contact us in confidence, we can help. Call our helpline, email us, access our live chat service via our home page or apply for peer support.
You really helped me when I was being bullied and did not know where to turn. You made me feel sane again, as I was beginning to wonder if the way I was being treated was normal
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