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Bullying in the workplace: An FDA report

Bullying is undoubtedly one of the most common issues we support FDA members with. From ongoing microaggressions that create difficult working environments, to one off instances from external stakeholders that lead to embarrassment or a loss of confidence in your employer, as your representatives we’ve seen the breadth and depth of cases.

This project began as another case. Huw approached Victoria for advice on navigating a situation where his line manager was unsupportive, undermining and - to put it frankly – bullying. Huw’s personal circumstances, combined with the challenge of finding an effective resolution, meant that he decided to retire rather than go through the formal process that he didn’t have full confidence in. However, Huw was really keen that the FDA consider the experiences of members and see where things could be improved.

Over a number of months, we’ve worked together to gather data and speak to members about their experiences. We’ve been able to compare the data we collected earlier this year with survey data the FDA collected in 2017; this has been particularly eye opening. In this paper you’ll find details of our survey findings and comparisons, as well as insight in to the focus groups we ran over the summer. We gained so much insight from members and representatives who shared their stories and experiences with us – this has influenced the recommendations you’ll see at the end of our report.

While this report highlights the experience of members who have been subjected to bullying at work, we also know that as a union for managers and professionals we have experience of supporting members on both sides of the table. The concerns that members raise about the independence and effectiveness of the procedures currently in place are voiced from both perspectives. Having a timely, impartial, robust process is crucial for resolving issues, whether you’ve faced bullying at work or are rebutting an accusation.

For our workplace reps, we hope the recommendations at the end of this report will empower you to lobby for change in with your employers. We’ve also included case studies from areas where we’ve made a real impact which we hope will help too. You’ll also find some insight from the National Bullying Helpline, who’ve shared some detail on gaslighting – a specific type of bullying that was mentioned a lot throughout our conversations.

Finally, if you’ve come across this report in search of individual support, please do get in touch. We’ve included some guidance for members and reps at the end, but if you have concerns about how you’re being treated at work please do contact your local representative or National Officer. They’ll be able to help you navigate departmental processes – you can find out who your contact is at www.fda.org.uk or by emailing info@fda.org.uk or calling 0207 401 5555.

Huw Meredith, retired member and Victoria Jones, FDA National Officer
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