Toggle high contrast
Published date

A bully is a person who intimidates or persecutes someone they work with. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that while there is no legal definition of bullying, it can take many forms and can involve: 

  • ignoring or excluding someone; 
  • spreading malicious rumours or gossip; 
  • humiliating someone in public; 
  • giving someone unachievable or meaningless tasks; and 
  • constantly undervaluing someone's work performance. 

It says that bullies are often, but not always, more senior than the person they are bullying and that they may target groups as well as individuals. 

The independent Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) definition of bullying is often used in employment tribunal cases:

"It can be described as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either:

  • offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • an abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone."

Mental health charity Mind defines work bullying as

"when someone persistently acts in a discriminatory way towards an employee which hurts, criticises or condemns them." 

You don't have to put up with being bullied. We suggest that you talk to someone, get advice and find out about your rights at work. When you are better informed, you can then decide what to do.  

A useful practical step you can take is to start keeping a journal logging the incidents as they happen, setting out your best recollections of what happened, what was said when, who was there and so on. If bullying is by email or social media, print it off or take a screengrab. 

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.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication

To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).

Setup now