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Episode 14 - Bullying (Part 2)

Episode 14 - Bullying (Part 2)

The scene – Tom is sitting in a meeting room at FFS and very nervously awaiting the arrival of Ev (partner responsible for HR) and Becky (the firm’s HR manager)


(In Episode 6 Tom (a 26 year old associate) had been feeling depressed and anxious about the way Trudie (a partner) had been treating him (read it here), so he has decided to take the next step as voted by the lawstory community)


Ev and Becky came into the room wearing nervous smiles and went through the tea/coffee and “how’s your day been” ritual.  There were even chocolate biscuits – normally reserved for client meetings.

“First of all, Tom, we want to say that you have done the right thing telling us about this situation”, Ev opened up, glancing quickly between Tom and Becky and getting nods from her.  “This firm takes any suggestion of bullying or intimidating behaviour seriously”.  Ok, it may have been rehearsed, but it was still good to hear.  “And let me reassure you that what you say here will be completely confidential and nothing you say will be reported back to Trudie.  Also, of course, we will be speaking to Trudie to get her side of things.” 

“Huh, as if she'd tell the truth!”, Tom thought – and then mentally double checked that he hadn’t said it out loud.

“You have obviously told us a little about what has been happening and what you feel about it, but now please tell us in more detail” Becky continued, leaning forward.  “Exactly what has Trudie been saying and doing?”

Now it was time for Tom’s rehearsed bit.  Rehearsed in front of the mirror and with his flatmate Flo.  And so he went through the list – snide comments or being ignored, criticising him in front of others, being given crap work … and the rest.  “Punchy bullet point style, not a whinge” had been Flo’s advice. Yeah, easy! 

Ev and Becky nodded and noted and asked some questions.  At one point, Tom detected a glance accompanied by raised eyebrows from Becky towards Ev.  Tom optimistically interpreted this as, “See, I told you so.”  Later, they both looked serious and Ev looked alarmed, when Tom told them about his visit to his GP.

After forty minutes and with a quick look at his watch, Ev said, “Ok Tom, right, well you haven’t heard the last of this ….. err … oh ….  sorry, I didn’t mean it like that …. I mean we’ll get back to you …. soon.”

Have your say

How do you think Ev and Becky are handling this?

Episode 14 - Bullying (Part 2)

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What else should the firm be doing?  What if Trudie gives a very different version of events?  Do you know someone who has been bullied at work?  How did they and the firm address it?

Share your thoughts and experiences.


# Elizabeth Rimmer 2017-06-08 15:28
Bullying is a common concern within the legal community, around 30% of callers to LawCare’s helpline complain of being bullied in work. If you feel you are experiencing bullying in the workplace it can be very distressing and affect your mental health. Call 0800 279 6888 or visit
# Simon McCall 2017-06-14 20:08
A lot of people in Tom's situation would just want to quit the firm - so this could lead to a better solution.

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