People should be treated fairly and consistently, and with dignity and respect wherever they work. Their workplace should be free
from undue stress, anxiety, fear or intimidation. But the Driver & General Union is aware that all too often many employees do experience bullying and harassment in their workplace, regardless of
their position or skills. Anyone you work with can bully or harass, it might be other colleagues, managers, customers etc. Bullying and harassment undermine physical and mental health, frequently
resulting in poor work performance. For many workers though it can become so bad that they feel leaving their job is their only option.
Bullying and harassment are a form of violence. It is unacceptable and constitutes a fundamental violation of human and legal
rights that can lead to criminal prosecution and civil law action. Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy working environment. Employees too have a responsibility to ensure their
behaviour does not distress colleagues. One way to stop bullying and harassment at work is by raising awareness. The Driver & General Union is committed to doing this, and to encouraging
employers to develop anti-harassment policies that are reviewed regularly. This ensures their effectiveness and takes account of new best practice.
Some of the symptoms caused by bullying and harassment:
- Loss of confidence
- Loss of appetite
- Hyper vigilance
- Excessive double-checking of all actions
- Inability to relax
- Inability to switch off from work.
How you experience bullying and harassment is unique to you, and not necessarily the result of what had been intended. It is up to
you to decide if you are being bullied or harassed because you find the behaviour unacceptable. Witnessing a colleague being bullied and harassed can also be distressing or offensive.
There are no simple explanations why one person rather than another is bullied or harassed. Factors that may influence bullying
and harassing behaviour include:
- The culture of an organisation or work team
- The personality of the bully
- The personality of the target.
- Social background
- Success, achievement or efficiency
- Popularity among colleagues or patients
- Age, marital status, gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation
- Provocative behavior such as being outspoken or over-enthusiastic.
The Driver & General Union encourages employers to support their staff in reporting harassment. Because bullying and
harassment is a form of violence you should complete an accident or BI95 form. This will help your employer make risk assessments, and safeguard your interests if there is future legal action. You
should keep a copy of the accident form.
Examples of bullying can be:
- Sadistic or aggressive behaviour over a period of time
- Exclusion from meetings
- Humiliation or ridiculing
- Criticism in public designed to humiliate
- Persistent, unwarranted criticism in private
- Treating colleagues as children
- Changing work responsibilities unreasonably or without justification
- Deliberately withholding information to affect a colleague’s performance
- Constantly changing work deadlines or work guidelines.
(This list is not exhaustive)
Workplace bullying is the misuse of power or position. It can lead to poor work performance, and to feelings of fear, anger,
powerlessness and hurt. The key factor is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient.
If an employee is forced to resign as a result of bullying or harassment they may be able to bring a claim for constructive
The Driver & General Union wants to assure all it’s members that any complaints of bullying and harassment will be treated
seriously with full support and representation should the need arise.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 employers are responsible for the health, safety
and welfare at work of all employees. This broad definition extends to taking steps to prevent stress-related illnesses, which can be caused by bullying and harassment in the work place. Employers
should be aware that failure to limit the risk and monitor a situation could result in a criminal offence.