We all deserve respect at work. When working people feel safe and supported, the workplace is better for everyone. Your employer has a legal obligation to make sure you’re as safe as possible at work.

Bullying, violence and harassment can take many forms, and can be devastating to workers’ mental and physical health.

They can happen in any workplace, though some jobs bring a higher risk of violence than other. Your employer should make it clear that there’s zero tolerance of threats and violence towards staff, and take all reasonable precautions to keep you safe.

Bullying can take many forms, including ignoring or excluding someone, spreading malicious rumours, humiliating someone publicly or constantly undervaluing their work, offensive screensavers, jokes, emails, texts or cruel or offensive posts on social media.

You’re also legally protected against harassment that’s linked to age, sex, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment.

All forms of bullying and harassment are unacceptable. If you feel you’re experiencing bullying or harassment, confide in someone you trust, such as your union rep or a colleague. Don’t suffer in silence.

Although an informal approach can be helpful as a first step, your employer should also have a formal procedure that you can use.

It may be that you are not the only one suffering from bullying behaviour, in which case a group approach to your employer is likely to be the best way forward.

Sometimes there is no alternative but to bring a legal claim, but the law is complex and every case is different. Before taking any action, you should seek individual advice from your union or a qualified adviser.

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Common
questions
I don’t feel safe at work. What can I do about it?
Your employer is responsible for your safety at work. If you don't feel safe at work you should raise this with your safety rep or line manager.
What should my employer do to protect me from violence?
Your employer should make it clear that there is zero tolerance of threats and violence towards staff at work and take all necessary steps to enforce this policy, including spelling it out to suppliers and customers when required.
What can I do about being bullied at work?
You don't have to put up with being bullied. We suggest that you talk to someone and find out about your rights at work. When you are better informed, you can then decide what to do.
What is bullying at work?
A bully is a person who deliberately intimidates or persecutes someone they work with.