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25 October 2022

Bullying & harassment

Read our guidance and find out what to do if you think you’re being bullied or harassed at work.

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Find out your rights Available support

Bullying & harassment: Your rights

Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Bullying itself is not against the law, but harassment is. In this guidance, we'll help you understand what you can do if you're being bullied or harassed.

Don’t suffer in silence. We’ll listen carefully to your individual circumstances, explain any internal policies, procedures or guidance that you need to be aware of and get you copies if you can’t access the information yourself. Then we’ll advise you on how best we think you should take your concerns forward. We'll look after you from the minute you get in touch, including representing you at any formal meetings and getting legal advice and support should it be necessary.

About bullying & harassment

What is bullying?

What is bullying?

Bullying is behaviour from a person or group that’s unwanted and makes you feel uncomfortable, including feeling:

  • Frightened (‘intimidated’)
  • Less respected or put down (‘degraded’)
  • You’re made fun of and it makes you feel uncomfortable (‘humiliated’)
  • Upset (insulted or ‘offended)

Bullying might:

  • Be a regular pattern of behaviour or a one-off incident 
  • Happen face-to-face, on social media, in emails or phone calls
  • Happen in the workplace or at work social events
  • Not always be obvious or noticed by others

Example of bullying

Examples of bullying

These are just a few examples of what form bullying might take in the workplace:

  • Someone has spread a false rumour about you
  • Someone keeps putting you down in meetings, or constantly criticises you
  • Your manager doesn’t let you go on training courses, but they allow everyone else to
  • Your manager keeps giving you heavier workloads than everyone else
  • Your team never lets you join social events
  • Your manager frequently talks down to you, raises their voice to you or seems angry with you without cause but never speaks to others in this way
  • Your workload is removed from you without reason, or you're micro-managed to complete your activities
  • You're physically or verbally threatened such as your job being threatened if you don't do as your manager wishes

Some forms of bullying are more overt and direct, while others may be remain under the radar undermining your confidence over a longer period of time.

What is harassment?

What is harassment?

Bullying, harassment, and discrimination are investigated through the same issue resolution policy. But what exactly is harassment?

Harassment is any unwanted conduct that could be physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct or bullying, where the conduct has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or creating an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive. Where harassment is because of a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010), it's called 'harassment related to a protected characteristic', and it may be intentional or unintentional.

Find out more about different types of harassment and what you can do about it in our interactive eBite.

Play our interactive eBite

Addressing workplace bullying & harassment

Addressing workplace bullying & harassment

From time to time, issues can crop up at work. Whether it's the work we do, the work environment or other colleagues. But nobody should face unfair treatment, discrimination, bullying or harassment in the course of doing their work. The good news is that there's a process for resolving these types of complaints.

It’s important that everyone has the opportunity to talk about their concerns if they feel they've been treated unfairly or inappropriately at work.

Talking about dealing with complaints can sometimes feel overwhelming and challenging because it can mean putting ourselves in an exposed and vulnerable position. But dealing with a grievance doesn't need to be scary - that's where we come in. We'll support you through the process and ensure you know what options are available to resolve your issue.

Problems at work can often be resolved informally in the first instance. The quicker and closer to the problem the better. But when someone’s intimidated or offended you, it’s not always that simple, and in more severe situations it may not be appropriate to address through informal means.

Whether you choose to address it informally, or through the formal process we’ll give you advice on how to put your complaint together and we’ll represent you at any hearings. You’ll need to be clear what your complaint is about, supply evidence to support it and be clear about what you want your employer to do about it – being as specific as possible.

Nobody should face unfair treatment, discrimination, bullying or harassment in the course of doing their work. Your employer is responsible for preventing bullying, harassment & discrimination – they’re liable for any harassment suffered by their employees.

Don’t suffer in silence. Find out more in our interactive eBite or contact your local officer to discuss your situation.

Play our interactive eBite Find your local Accord officer

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Our guide will provide you with guidance on:

Play our interactive eBite Find your local Accord officer


Available support:

Get support

Don’t suffer in silence. Accord are here to listen to your individual circumstances, explain any internal policies, procedures, or guidance that you need to be aware of and get you copies if you can’t access the information yourself. We’ll advise you on how best we think you should take your concerns forward and help you to shape your arguments.

Write a grievance or appeal complaint letter

  • We've created a grievance letter template to help you structure your arguments and think about the key points you wish to raise.
  • Not satisfied with the outcome of your grievance? We've created a grievance appeal letter template to help you consider and structure your appeal arguments.


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