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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
“I was told by my supervisor on my first day, ‘I am going to break you’. She overloaded me with work, berated me publicly and was unpredictable and inconsistent – sweet and helpful sometimes, obnoxious and insulting at others. Another member of the department left under the strain. I was signed off with depression.”
WHAT BULLYING IS NOT
Many 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:
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 ORGANISATIONSOrganisations 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, we can help. Contact us in confidence, 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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