Am I being bullied at work?


When it comes to this question there can be confusion with regard to what constitutes workplace bullying and, what to do about it.

What is workplace bullying?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlight there is no legal definition for workplace bullying, however they describe it as “negative behaviour being targeted at an individual, or individuals, repeatedly and persistently over time”.

Questionnaires have suggested that negative workplace behaviours may be subtle, for example being ignored or excessive monitoring of one’s work, or overt, such as being subject to intimidating behaviour (NAQ-R; Einarsen and Hoel, 2001). It may happen from somebody in a position superior to you, or where a power difference exists. Bullying behaviour can have cultural elements within an organisation, however this does not make it acceptable.

Psychological distress
If you have been subject to workplace bullying you may have signs of psychological distress such as worry about going in to work, anxiety about your performance, anxiety, confidence or self-worth issues, stress, feelings of panic, sleep difficulties, anger or low mood.

What can you do about it?
Most companies, public or private should have a policy which relates to staff harassment and/or workplace bullying. Firstly it is useful to consult this and follow the suggested pathway or who to contact first with your concerns.

In some cases this may be difficult, and you may have to raise concerns with a different staff member or department. But it is really important to talk to somebody as opposed to “suffering in silence”. If you have experienced bullying of any type and you are experiencing psychological distress one of our psychologists would be happy to speak to you to assess if therapy could be a helpful option for you.

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