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Anti-bullying Week 2017

This week is Anti-bullying Week 2017 and has been organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance. This year’s theme promotes difference and equality with the tag-line ‘All Different, All Equal’.

As you know the effects of bullying can have a massive impact on all individuals, whether that is at school, work, college or socially. Anti-bullying week is a great way to get involved, take a stand against bullying and refresh your knowledge on what to do if you, someone you know or a learner is being bullied. 

Bullying doesn't just affect children but adults too.

Bullying at work
Bullying at work can take shape or form in many different ways. If you feel as though you are experiencing bullying in the workplace, this can be a very devastating and distressing issue and bullying can affect your emotional health. You may be feeling very low and anxious at the thought of going to work and facing the individual or group that may be subjecting you to this and the bullying may also be affecting family life. 

Bullying at work can take shape or form in many different ways. If you feel as though you are experiencing bullying in the workplace, this can be a very devastating and distressing issue and bullying can affect your emotional health. You may be feeling very low and anxious at the thought of going to work and facing the individual or group that may be subjecting you to this and the bullying may also be affecting family life. 

What is bullying?
Whilst it may take the form of name calling, physical abuse, social bullying or even cyberbullying, in the workplace, bullying is a form of abusive behaviour where an individual or a group of people, create an intimidating or humiliating work environment for another. This is with the purpose of harming their dignity, safety and well-being. This can make those subjected to it anxious, depressed and it might affect their family life too. 

What bullying is not
You may hear many different opinions about bullying in the workplace banded around; many employers fail to see the legitimacy, or very real effects that a bully can have on an individual, and will try to frame bullying in such a way that it is seen as a non-issue.

You may hear managers describe bullying as many things, but it is certainly not:

  • A "clash of personalities" – If you are being systematically belittled, excluded, or intimidated, you are not just clashing with someone, this is bullying.
  • Character building – Negative remarks and actions towards you will not build any sort of character; the effects can be debilitating and have an effect on your emotional health.
  • A leadership style – Overly aggressive or dominant managers may try and pass bullying off as their "style" of management, but if you feel threatened, this is bullying.
  • Provoked by the victim – Bullying is never the victim's fault and is often motivated by the perpetrator's own insecurities or desire to progress up the career ladder.

It is important to remember that if you are being bullied, all incidents are relevant, because they establish a pattern.

Are you protected from bullying by the law?
Bullying itself is not against the law, but if a colleague or manager is behaving in an intimidating or offensive way, it could be harassment, which is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.

Examples of harassment include any unwanted behaviours regarding:

  • Your age, gender, sex, or sexuality
  • Your marital status, pregnancy, or maternity/paternity rights
  • Your race, religion, or beliefs
  • If you have a disability or additional needs

These are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

What to do if you are being bullied
In the first instance, you should seek to solve your problem informally. If you feel safe and comfortable speaking to the person you feel is bullying you, it is a good idea to do so, as informing them that you will be taking a more official route may be enough to stop their behaviour.

For many though, the informal way isn't an option, and if this is the case, you should make management, your line manager, HR and/or your HRBP aware that you believe harassment is going on, and they should take the necessary steps to get the issue resolved.

If you are still not satisfied that the harassment has stopped, if it is not taken seriously by your line manager, or if the problem gets worse, you should seek to make an official complaint via the usual grievance procedures. You can find out about the grievance policy on Fuse here: https://lifetimetraining.fusion-universal.com/communities/7778/contents/343744 

Top tips to beat the bullies
If you are being bullied at work, there are several things you can do to maximize your chances of succeeding. 

  • Get to know your company's policies on bullying and behaviour in the workplace, inside out. They should be detailed and applied at every level by management and supervisors should investigate any instances that are reported.
  • Document any incident of harassment in detail: this includes the date, times, place, who was involved, what happened, and the names of any witnesses.
  • Talk to someone about your problem. It could be another colleague, a friend, or even your family, you should not have to suffer harassment and certainly not alone.
  • It is a good idea to do your research around bullying and harassment, and it will be helpful to contact ACAS.

Dig Deeper
Find out more about our bullying and harassment policy on Fuse here: https://lifetimetraining.fusion-universal.com/communities/7778/contents/352382 

 

 

 

What if I know a learner is being bullied? 
If a learner is being bullied at work they may find it difficult to speak to someone about it, especially if it is their manager or someone in a position of power that is doing the bullying. If they’re in a large organisation an alternative could be to talk to someone at head office or in HR. Some large companies have union reps or employee reps.

In a small organisation the victim of bullying could start by talking in confidence to their Lifetime trainer. They can also get advice and support from the websites listed below. Try to make sure that the learner understands that they can talk to their Lifetime contact in confidence and that it might be the first step in putting things right.

Advice and support to give to your learner
When you’re being bullied you often feel trapped. This means that it’s a struggle to work out how to change your situation. Try getting them to talk to a friend or family member about what’s going on. Bullying can shatter your confidence, making it harder to resolve the situation. A friend or family member can make you feel supported and as they’re not directly involved, they may have some new insights and ideas for helping them.

Bullying can have a severe effect on your mental health. This can make things spiral downwards as their work suffers and they lose confidence. Family life can suffer too and they may become socially isolated. This combination of factors can all make the bullying seem worse. The learner should see their GP for help and get support from the organisations below.

Cyber bullying can make you feel helpless because it’s happening in cyberspace. But there is help available and the bullying can be stopped. Internet service providers will close down message boards with abuse on them and police will trace and prosecute people sending threatening messages.

Taking action may seem difficult when you’re isolated by bullying but sharing stories at places like the Bullying Forum at www.bullying.co.uk will give them strength. They can find out about other people who’ve been through what they’re going through and how they dealt with it. They can also post their story and receive support.

Look at some of the sites below with your learner so they get an idea of the kind of help is available. Tell the learner: 

There are lots of organisations that can help you. You can also find out about young people who have been through what you’re going through and found a way to turn things around. Whatever your age or circumstances, these organisations want to help

  • www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/
  • bullyingonline.org
  • bulliesout.com
  • www.bullying.co.uk - Helpline 0808 800 2222

If you wish to speak to someone in confidence about any of the issues raised, please contact Lifetime’s designated safeguarding team confidentially on supportme@lifetimetraining.co.uk. 
 

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