Caught out by bullying

Bukevin pieterson 2llying at work has hit the headlines thanks to Kevin Pieterson’s new book.  The cricketer has claimed there was bullying in the England camp.  One claim was that former England coach, Andy Flower, had “created an environment where people became terrified of failing”.  There are always two sides to every story, but could similar claims be made at your work?


Why bullying at work matters

  • You are legally required to prevent bullying at work.  If you don’t, you could find yourself being bullied by a clever lawyer.
  • If staff are afraid of their boss, they are more like to to make more mistakes.  That’s not good for them or your business.
  • This isn’t school.  Your staff have a choice.  You will lose them through stress or better opportunities elsewhere.
  • Bullying is quite simply bad for morale and bad for business.

What is bullying?

Bullying at work can be subtle.  ACAS lists the following examples:

  • Spreading rumours or insults.
  • Copying others in on critical emails.
  • Ridiculing someone.bullying at work
  • Excluding someone or making them a feel victim.
  • Unfair treatment.
  • Misuse of power.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances.
  • Making unwarranted threats about job security.
  • Undermining someone.
  • Blocking promotion or opportunities.
  • Bullying doesn’t have to be face to face.  Emails, text messages, social media, etc can be just as upsetting.

How to spot bullying

Actions can speak louder than words.  Watch out for high staff turnover or absence levels, particularly under one manager.  Does morale seem low? What are your exit interviews telling you?

 How to deal with bullying

  • Take every accusations seriously.  They may not be founded but you must find out.
  • Talk to the accuser in private.
  • Get as much detail as you can.  Get dates, places, names of witnesses, details, any evidence they have to support it.
  • Take a witness statement.  Ask them to sign it.
  • Find out if they have already spoken to their alleged bully.  If not, are they happy to now? Volunteer to be present at the meeting.
  • If not, get their permission to take matters further.
  • Investigate properly.  Talk to any witnesses, check CCTV footage, emails and other evidence.
  • Talk tactfully to the alleged bully.  Remember there are two sides to every story.
  • They may be genuinely shocked at how their behaviour has come across.
  • Consider whether disciplinary action is appropriate.


If you are concerned about bullying in your workplace, please contact us straight away.  You don’t want your business to be attracting the same headlines recently seen on the sports pages.

Categories Disciplinary, Health and Safety, Sickness, Staff Performance, Uncategorized