EES for Schools is an education organisation dedicated to the supply of products and services designed for school effectiveness.

We have a wealth of experience and years of helpful advice to share. Through a series of blog posts, our education experts reveal tips, advice and, often, relatable rants on topics that matter to you.

Bullying in the Workplace: Do you know what to do?

Anti-Bullying Week: 12 - 16 November 2018

Emma Long is a HR Consultant for EES for Schools. Emma has worked in our Education HR team for 6 years and has experience in the Customer Support Team. Here she talks about bullying in the workplace, what employers can do and the policies school's need in place to protect their employees.

Bullying can affect anyone and doesn’t just happen in the playground, it can happen in the workplace too…



Although there is no definition of bullying in discrimination legislation, ACAS characterise it as “any unwanted behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended”. Bullying can range from offensive or insulting behaviour, unwanted physical contact or verbal abuse to isolation and exclusion from work-related social activities or unreasonable work-related instructions.It can be between two individuals or it may involve a group of people. Bullying can take place online, by email, phone or face-to-face and can be a one-off incident or for a period of time.

Most people spend more hours at work than at home, so work can have a huge impact on other personal areas of their lives too. Bullying should always be taken seriously because the impact can reach beyond the time spent at work and can affect the person’s self-esteem, emotional and mental wellbeing as well as their productivity.

Bullying or Banter?

It can be hard for employers to spot if someone is being bullied, especially where it takes place online. Emails can be interpreted differently by different people. One person may consider a workplace conversation as harmless “banter” whereas another person may feel intimidated. The person subject to the bullying may feel angry or frustrated and retaliate. This can affect other colleagues, team morale and almost always affects job performance.

Employees can complain of harassment even if they’re not the ones subject to the bullying as it can create an uncomfortable environment and as such, other employees’ complaints must also be taken seriously.

What can employers do?

Employers must make it clear that their organisation is committed to providing a working environment for all staff that is free from all forms of bullying and harassment. This commitment should be reflected in their policies and carried out in practice. Employers should ensure that reports of bullying are dealt with promptly and investigated thoroughly.

Have you got the right policies in place?

Schools should ensure they have in place:

  • an Equality and Diversity Policy which covers the schools commitment to create a work environment in which all individuals are able to give their best; where all decisions are based on merit and which is free of harassment, victimisation and bullying.
  • a Grievance Procedure covering how employees should report any incidents of bullying and harassment.
  • a Disciplinary Procedure to take appropriate action where bullying is identified.


Remember having the appropriate policies in place is important but ensuring they are followed in practice is vital.

Do you know what steps to take if someone is being bullied in your workplace?

Contact our Education HR team who can advise and support you with dealing with bullying in the workplace.