July 3rd, 2014

Let’s Talk with Kalola: Bullied in England

Dear Kalola,

My story started when a new manager came to run the store. I had been working at the store for 12 years. I am a good team leader popular with everybody, ie., staff and customers. I am helpful and willing to share my knowledge. I am diligent and industrious and willing to stand up against injustice.

The new manager began nit picking, criticism of trivial nature all the time asking me to show others my duties then took all my achievement.

I went sick and blamed myself. I was so depressed. I picked myself up and asked for a meeting. Went to the meeting, a new area manager told me straight away I was not up to job.

With all of the prolonged negative stress, I had very bad stress and a breakdown. Sorry out of space.


Dear Jean,

Thank you for writing in to “Let’s Talk” and telling your workplace story.

You have worked in your position for a significant amount of time. All was well until the arrival of a new manager. Since the arrival of the new manager you have been nitpicked, criticized for trivial things, and asked to train others to do your job. Here’s the thing, if the manager really felt you were not doing your job as expected then it would not make sense to have you train others to do your job.

What the manager did was to steal away your self-confidence and self-esteem by the constant nitpicking and criticisms. Believe in yourself. What happened to you was not your fault. Bullies seem to have a need to blame others to make themselves look good. He/she is stealing the good work that you have done and attempting to claim it as his/her own work.

There are some bad managers/work supervisors out there who don’t do their job well and blame it on others. It is not right or fair but does happen. You can see it by looking at that manager’s job history and/or the high turnover in the office. Often times where there is a bully at work and that bully is a manager, you will see a revolving door of workers coming and going. When the manager is really, really bad you won’t see anyone transferring from within the company to any open positions in the particular department. Instead you will see job applicants from the outside, unknowingly, applying for the position(s). Why? Everyone within the company knows better than to apply for a job where a bully or a tyrant resides.

Workplace bullying is not against the law in the United Kingdom, however, harassment is IF it is related to one of the following protected characteristics:

  • age
  • sex
  • disability
  • gender (including gender reassignment)
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation

In the United Kingdom, harassment is illegal under the Equality Act of 2010.

According to the UK government website examples of bullying or harassing behavior include:

  • spreading malicious rumors
  • unfair treatment
  • picking on someone
  • regularly undermining a competent worker
  • denying training or promotional opportunities

The UK has a free advice help line through ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service). The phone number is 0300 1231100.

The UK Govt. website suggests that workers should attempt to resolve their workplace problems informally first. If the worker is unable to resolve the issue, they suggest contacting the manager, Human Resources, and/or a trade union representative. And, if the worker is still unable to resolve the issue, the worker may file a formal complaint using the employer’s grievance procedure. If this fails, the worker has the option of taking legal action through an employment tribunal.

You also have the option of contacting an attorney or solicitor who is familiar with employment issues.

Please see your doctor or physician and tell the doctor what you have been experiencing in the workplace and how it has affected your health and well being. Ask for a referral to a mental health professional who understands workplace issues.

Freedom from fear could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights. … Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish Diplomat



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