skip to Main Content

Bullying at work: how to recognise it & what to do

According to Cambridge Dictionary Online (2023), bullying can be defined as: ‘the behaviour of a person who hurts or frightens someone smaller or less powerful, often forcing that person to do something they do not want to do’. If this sounds familiar to your experience at work, then it is crucial you speak to HR or a trustworthy manager. Carry on reading to find out more about the different forms of bullying that can take place at work. 

Verbal bullying

Verbal bullying can be anything from name-calling to sexist, racist or homophobic comments.

Physical bullying

Any form of bodily abuse or damage to an individual’s property is deemed as physical bullying. 


This can include inappropriate or threatening messages via email, text or social media.

Sexual harassment 

Whether it’s an isolated incident or repeated occurrence, sexual harassment at work can look like unwarranted messages of a sexual nature, innapriorpatiate touching (e.g. hugging or grabbing of the waist) or asking questions of a personal nature – such as enquiring about someone’s sex life. 


You’ve probably heard this term being thrown around a lot recently – but if not, gaslighting is used to describe a situation where someone is manipulated to believe their perception of reality is false. For example,  


Being purposely excluded from company events, and meetings or unreasonably holding back on a pay rise or promotion counts as bullying in the workplace.


If your manager is setting unrealistic deadlines, getting overly involved in your projects or even doing your work on your behalf, then you are likely being micromanaged and should talk to a senior member of staff as soon as possible. 

Remember, you should always report any form of bullying you experience or witness in the workplace so that it doesn’t happen again. If you feel like your company isn’t taking your complaint seriously, you can take legal action at an employment tribunal or get professional advice via the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Back To Top