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Episode 6 - Bullying


Scene - It’s Monday 7.45 a.m. and Tom is on a crowded train on his way into work at FFS

"Bullying ...” thought Tom, his nose pressed uncomfortably into someone’s rucksack, “isn’t that what happens to 10 year olds in the school playground?  For heaven’s sake, I’m 26, a graduate and a qualified solicitor.  And a pretty normal sort of person I think.”

But whatever the label was, what was happening was making Tom feel terrible.  And that “terrible” started at about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon.  Right now it made him wish that there could be a gentle derailment (if that was possible) and everyone would have to get off the train and go home. 

“OK lets be rational and think this through like a lawyer”, Tom’s monologue continued as he tried to ignore the briefcase now jabbing into his thigh.  The key facts seemed to be 1) Trudie had told him “to get a grip”, “stop pussyfooting around”, “act like a lawyer, not a flustered secretary” and a few other similar comments in relation to client work he found difficult.  2) Her tone of voice had probably been intended to be jokey, but Tom found it menacing.  3) Trudie had intentionally done this in front of other people (or at least not tried to find a private place or moment).  4) When he had tentatively raised this with Trudie she had rolled her eyes, shaken her head and just said “Oh come on ….”  5)  He had overheard Trudie talking to Hamish - and was almost certain it was about him - and the phrase “Needs to grow some…” stuck in his mind.  6) Trudie seemed to huff and tut whatever time he left the office, while other people (particularly Sophie) got a cheery “Goodnight” or “Have a good evening!”  7)  He was being given crap work to do.

A recent podcast Tom had listened to and some comments from friends on Facebook, made him feel that he was not alone in having these sort of problems at work.  But what to do next ….?

Have your say

Tom should

Poll Episode 6 - Bullying

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Please select either existing option or enter your own, however not both.
Please select minimum 0 answer(s) and maximum 3 answer(s).
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Workplace bullying is more and more in the media now, sometimes ending up in employment tribunals, what’s your experience, what stories have you heard?

Add your name and any contact details to your comment if you want.  Otherwise it will be anonymous.


+1 # Joan Robertson 2017-03-06 13:45
There isn't the option for Tom to sit this out and endure.
I think HR manager will support Trudie. It's a myth they support employees.
No point in raising with Trudie again. Won't change anything!
I don't think he should grow some either!
# Simon McCall 2017-03-06 16:35
Understand what you say above .... but what is Tom meant to do then? It wasn't one of the options, but maybe he should start by talking to a friend.
Be helpful to know what others think.
+1 # Lise Seager 2017-03-06 16:48
When I was in a similar situation to Tom I looked for another job and got out before it made me really ill and I stopped functioning completely - there was no point in trying to talk to anyone to make it better - it wasn't going to get better.
+2 # Elizabeth Rimmer 2017-03-07 14:38
Bullying is a real issue, and causes mental and emotional distress. It can help to talk to someone objective outside the firm. You can call the LawCare Helpline 0800 279 6888 for free, independent and confidential support, or visit
# Lise Seager 2017-03-08 16:40
I didn't know about LawCare - the website is well worth a visit - good to know it's there. Tom might want to call them?
# Lise Seager 2017-03-08 17:13
I'd be curious to know how the conversation might go and the sort of things they would ask.
# Mac Mackay 2017-05-27 12:31
As an employer (not a lawyer) I understand that Bullying (as defined in the Equality Act 2010) may be characterised as:
"Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.
ACAS advise individuals to consider:
● Has there been a change of management or organisational style to which
you just need time to adjust – perhaps because you have a new manager
or work requirements?
● Is there an organisational statement of standards of behaviour that you can
● Can you talk over your worries with your personnel manager, your line
manager/supervisor, union representative or colleagues, who you may find
share your concerns?
● Can you agree changes to workload or ways of working that will make it
easier for you to cope?
FSS managers need some training: Tom could seek legal redress for the bullying!

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