Growing need for a bid to battle bullies

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WORKPLACE bullying is on the rise despite the best efforts of legislators, new figures show.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has revealed that despite increased legislation and the introduction of legal processes to prevent it, bullying is increasing.

Acas reports that it has received 20,000 calls relating to harassment and bullying at work in the past year.

Most common situations include women in traditionally male-dominated environments, people with disabilities and lesbian, gay and transgender employees.

Sue Ball, head of employment at Portsmouth law firm Verisona Law said: ‘The testimony from Acas is disappointing, but not altogether surprising.

‘The framework and processes to protect employees are robust, but their success relies on employers understanding and implementing them and employees being brave enough to speak out and take action if they feel they are being treated 
badly.’

Arcas recommended that people in workplaces agree on acceptable standards of behaviour, with managers acting as positive role models.

Ms Ball said she agreed it seems like a sensible way to tackle bullying.

She said: ‘If employers lack the skills to tackle the issue, they must get support.

‘Often managers just move staff around, so a problem can be overlooked rather than investigated and dealt with.

‘I spend a lot of time sat alongside employers who are at a loss of how to handle problems that can have tremendous impact on the productivity of a business.

‘It is all too easy to cite personality or management-style clashes in situations such as these.

‘But if people are desperate enough to call helplines such as those provided by Acas, there is a real problem that every employer must get help in addressing.’

People can call Arcas’s helpline for workplace advice is 0300 123 1100 or visit acas.org.uk for more information.