Would you know what to do if someone was bullying you at work?
It’s Anti-bullying week this week, however it’s not just children who are subject to bullying. Bullying in the workplace is an all too common experience for people with differences, people with ADHD and/or ASD being no exception. If someone is behaving towards you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, then it’s worth asking yourself whether bullying could be behind it.
What constitutes bullying?
Bullying can be outright rudeness or arguments, or it can also be less obvious than that. It can take the form of piling work on someone, excluding or ignoring a person or their contribution, spreading malicious rumours, undermining with teasing, hurtful comments or slurs, or even denying training or promotion opportunities.
If you have a neuro-divergent condition of any kind, it is worth finding out your rights, as people are often unaware of the support they are entitled to at work. Bullying may not be against the law as such, however when it is related to someone’s disability, it becomes classed as harassment, which is against the law.
Who can help?
It can be helpful to keep a factual log of what has been happening to you. If you cannot get the person to change their behaviour by informal means, i.e by speaking to them yourself, or getting someone you trust to support you or speak to them instead, then you could try speaking to your:
- human resources (HR) department
- trade union representative
If this does not work, you can make a formal complaint using your employer’s grievance procedure. If after that you’re still being harassed, you can take legal action at an employment tribunal.
You can call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice:
Telephone: 0300 123 1100
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Acas has produced a guidance leaflet on bullying and harassment.
Download ‘Bullying and harassment at work: a guide for employees’ (PDF, 215KB)
For more information on what to do if you feel you are being bullied go to https://www.acas.org.uk/if-youre-treated-unfairly-at-work