Bullying & Harassment FAQs & Resources

As a leading provider of HR Compliance eLearning, our experts are often asked about Bullying and Harassment. We've collected all of those questions and answered them for you below...

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Bullying & Harassment FAQs

What is the difference between bullying and harassment?

The clear difference between harassment and bullying is harassment is ILLEGAL and bullying IS NOT. However bullying is never acceptable and anyone bullying should be punished appropriately.

Harassment is aggressive pressure or intimidation which can make you feel intimidated. E.g. comments, jokes, gestures. Section 1 & 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 act defines acts of harassment.

Bullying has no legal definition but can be defined as very similar to harassment, it is not targeting a protected characteristic.

What are the different forms of harassment?

Harassment targets the 9 protected characteristics in the Equality Act. These characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Religion and belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity

Is bullying illegal?

Bullying is not illegal because it does not target a protected characteristic. Bullying turns to harassment when it is in relation to a protected characteristic. While bullying itself doesn't have an exact definition there is still a grey area surrounding bullying itself and the law.

How do you know when someone is being bullied/harassed?

Here are some of the signs to look out for when you are being bullied:

  • Taking responsibilities away from you
  • Exclusion or being ignored
  • Rumours being spread with or without your knowledge
  • Constant criticism
  • Bosses that misuse their power and intimidate or belittle.
  • Being made to feel bad, constant jokes and being picked on
  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Threats of job security
  • Stopping you from progressing in your job

How can you tell when you or someone else is bullying or harassing someone?

  • They are picking on someone - ignoring them, too much supervision, leaving them out, disregard what they say, the list can go on for this category.
  • They are always telling on someone - they will snitch on anything they do and constantly brag to everyone about the other person's mistake. Or you point the finger at the same person once again, when it was your fault.
  • They openly make fun of other people - taking the ‘mickey’ out of someone in front of everyone to try and get other people to rally around you.
  • They point out your mistakes and make sure everyone knows about it.
  • They insult any personal characteristics like looks or personality.

But these are not the only way that someone can bully or harass someone.

What is the impact of bullying?

Bullying, abuse & harassment can induce the following in the victim:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety & panic attacks
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Ulcers
  • As well as an effect on their work performance like decision making, lack of concentration, self-esteem and reduced productivity.

How can you prevent bullying in your workplace?

To prevent bullying at work the appropriate training and awareness should be provided to employees and management. It is important to make sure as an employer that you make it clear that you have zero tolerance for bullying in the workplace. Most companies do this by having a written policy determining what is unacceptable so should bullying occur, they are able to handle with the bully appropriately.

I think I'm being harassed what do I do?

Your employer should try and protect you from harassment at work. If you are being harassed and decide to come forward here are some simple steps.

  1. Write down what happened - dates, times, what happened, witness, how you felt
  2. If you feel safe to do so, confront the harasser and ask them to stop. Some people don’t fully understand how they are making others feel, but some do.
  3. Talk to your employer or a senior manager about it
  4. If the harasser doesn't stop or your employer isn’t taking your complaint seriously, you should make a formal complaint. This can be made under the harassment claim under the Equality Act.

Is harassment illegal?

Yes. Harassment is illegal as it targets the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. Meaning you are able to prosecute someone for harassment.

Is there legislation to support harassment and bullying claims?

Yes, there is legislation to support harassment claims - The Equality Act. Unfortunately, bullying is not illegal so there is no legislation to support it.

What is a positive working environment?

A positive working environment can come from a number of things. Here are some examples below:

  • Transparent communication between everyone
  • Ensure you and employees have a good work-life balance to avoid things like stress and general frustration and unhappiness at work.
  • Keep up-to-date training and development opportunities going to provide new and exciting opportunities for staff
  • Show praise to employees
  • Things like team bonding days and showing a good team attitude is important to make everyone feel included and equal

FAQs regarding our Bullying & Harassment course

What approvals does this course have?

This course is CPD accredited.

Who is the course suitable for?

The course is suitable for all employees. Regardless of the size of the business, this training will allow employees to know when they should stand up to bullies, and how to prevent and tackle this behaviour. It also teaches people how to promote a positive culture.

How long does this course take?

This course takes 15 minutes to complete including the multiple choice test at the end.

Is there training for management & employees?

Yes, this course is available for employees and we have a separate Bullying and Harassment for Management Course.

What devices is this course available from?

Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets

How long is my certificate valid for?

It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when training needs to be refreshed. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.

Documents and resources

  • Bullying and Harassment Risk Assessment

    This document covers the eight major factors to review when conducting a Bullying and Harassment Risk Assessment in the workplace.

  • Disciplinary Procedure

    This document covers the three-stage Disciplinary Procedure, including the potential outcomes from the process. One page, lots of detail, and very easy to follow.

  • Employees - If You Have a Grievance

    This document is perfect as a quick point of reference. It provides a simple overview of the six stages involved in undertaking a Grievance Process.

  • Grievance Procedure

    This one-page document provides a concise yet thorough explanation on how to conduct a three-stage Grievance Procedure, and what to expect from the process.

  • Handling Discipline & Grievances - An Overview

    This document provides two easy-to-follow flow charts for handling both a Disciplinary Procedure and a Grievance Procedure.

  • Respectful Workplace - Checklist

    This simple checklist is the perfect prompt to assess the level of respectful behaviour in your workplace. It will quickly highlight what’s working well and what needs improving.

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