What type of support can I expect my employer to provide to help manage the adverse effects of bullying on me as an employee?

Many employers now have a specific employment policy aimed at eliminating bullying and any form of harassment at work, and your employer should certainly carry out a proper investigation into any complaint of bullying.

Your employer has a responsibility for your well-being at work (often referred to as its duty of care) and should not knowingly allow you to continue to work in a situation which is damaging to your physical or mental health. The law expects your employer to take reasonable steps to protect your health and safety and to protect you from discrimination and bullying. Your employer must carry out a prompt and thorough investigation. The punishment will depend on the gravity of the offence, but it could include, for example, a final warning, transferring the bully to a different team or workplace, demotion and/or compulsory training. In sufficiently serious or sustained cases, a bully’s behaviour can amount to gross misconduct justifying their summary dismissal.

You can find information about your employer’s responsibilities, including the health and safety dimension of bullying, on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. In particular, your employer is supposed to comply with HSE Management Standards for avoiding stress at your workplace. One of the standards – relationships – is aimed specifically at your employer’s obligation to keep the workplace free from bullying.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.