Bullying and harassment can often be hard to recognise – symptoms may not be obvious to others, and may be insidious. Those on the receiving end may think ‘perhaps this is normal behaviour in this organisation’. They may be anxious that others will consider them weak, or not up to the job, if they find the actions of others intimidating.
They may be accused of ‘overreacting’, and worry that they won’t be believed if they do report incidents. People being bullied or harassed may sometimes appear to overreact to something that seems relatively trivial but which may be the ‘last straw’ following a series of incidents. There is often fear of retribution if they do make a complaint. Colleagues may be reluctant to come forward as witnesses, as they too may fear the consequences for themselves. They may be so relieved not to be the subject of the bully themselves that they collude with the bully as a way of avoiding attention.
Bullying and harassment are not only unacceptable on moral grounds but may, if unchecked or badly handled, create serious problems for our organisation including:
It is in everyone's interests to promote a safe, healthy and fair environment in which people can work.
Jordan is continually being called gay and other related names by a group of employees in their department. Derogatory homophobic comments have been posted on the staff noticeboard about them by people from this group. Jordan is too scared to take action. Jordan is not gay but heterosexual; furthermore the group know that Jordan isn’t gay.
This is harassment related to sexual orientation.