Grievances, Bullying & Harassment

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Are you suffering from issues in the workplace?

Workplace bullying, or harassment, can come in many, different, forms.

What constitutes workplace bullying?

Bullying and harassment in the workplace can be offensive and malicious, not to mention emotional. This may come in the form of humiliation, or threats against your safety and wellbeing. The law exists to protect employees and people in the workplace. Our Employment Law solicitors are very familiar with dealing with bullying and harassment cases, there it is likely that we have dealt with a case similar to yours in the past.

The following can all be examples of workplace bullying:

  • Threats about job security
  • Victimisation
  • Sexual remarks
  • Excluding individuals from activities in the workplace
  • Humiliation
  • Abuse of position of power
  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Unfair treatment
  • Regularly undermining a competent worker
  • Denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities
  • Unwanted banter

Should I raise a workplace grievance?

From issues with heavy workloads to disagreeing about your current pay, there are a whole host of possible circumstances where you may want to take action against your employer.

An example of possible situations that may encourage you to make a grievance include:

  • An amendment to your contract that you are unhappy about
  • Being requested to take on a new responsibility as part of your job that you feel is not in line with your existing work practice
  • An issue with your pay or terms and conditions
  • Poor working conditions, ranging from being bullied/harassed to being obliged to undertake tasks that you believe to be unsafe or inappropriate in any way

Do I have a legal right to flexible working conditions?

Employees who meet certain criteria have a legal right to request flexible working arrangements from their employers. Although meeting these criteria does not automatically give you the legal right to work flexibly, your employer does have to consider your request for flexible working properly and give adequate reasons in the event of a refusal. Also, in some circumstances, an unjustified refusal to allow your request may amount to indirect sex discrimination.

Sometimes problems can arise for people already working flexibly, perhaps because they receive less advantageous benefits than their colleagues, or if an employer decides the arrangement is no longer working.

Flexible working can raise a number of complicated legal issues. Each case needs to be assessed on a case by case basis, and it’s always sensible to seek legal advice if a flexible working request is refused, or if you are a flexible worker who is being treated badly by their employer.

I’m having difficulties at work, what should I do?

Ideally, it is always best to have matters resolved informally. This can be done either by saying outright to the people involved that you are not happy with how they are treating you and asking them to stop. Alternatively, you could mention your feelings to someone who is not involved and ask if they would have a word with those who are making you feel uncomfortable.

It may be, however, that you feel it is not appropriate to deal with matters informally. This may be the case if, for example, the complaint is about your line manager. You may also feel that matters have simply gone too far and that they must be dealt with formally and on the record. It may even be that you simply feel uncomfortable with dealing with things informally and feel you need to have someone more senior involved.

If the grievance procedure fails to resolve the matter, you may be in a position to submit a claim against your employer, or you may feel that you simply have no option but to resign. In such circumstances, you may be entitled to submit a claim for constructive dismissal.

Next steps

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