Bullying Employment Tribunals Up by 44%
BY CMP RESOLUTIONS
There’s been 44% leap in the number of employment tribunals that involve allegations of bullying which is a news high. In this article CMP Resolutions explains why this is more complicated than it might appear at first glance: “It’s too easy to assume there are suddenly more ‘bullies’ in the workplace; that post-pandemic pressures alongside the shift to hybrid forms of working and poor management are the root causes of the trend.” Can mediation offer a solution?
There’s been worrying leap in the number of employment tribunals that involve allegations of bullying: up 44%. A new high.
The analysis, by law firm Fox & Partners, found 835 bullying-related cases between March 2021 and March 2022 (from 581). Meaning a growth in toxic work cultures, the firm has concluded.
It’s too easy to assume there are suddenly more ‘bullies’ in the workplace; that post-pandemic pressures alongside the shift to hybrid forms of working and poor management are the root causes of the trend.
In order for HR and organisational leaders to understand what’s happening and take action, there has to be a more nuanced appreciation of where we are, and how our new workplaces are coping with changes. It’s not as simple as encouraging more staff to be open and speak up, rewarding ‘honesty’.
There is a heightened sensitivity to discrimination, to what now constitutes inappropriate behaviour. There’s a greater sense of being ‘entitled’ to praise and positivity. There is no fixed legal definition of bullying, and there will always be a thin line between assertive management needed to deal with poor performance and an inappropriate and ugly use of power.
What constitutes unacceptable behaviour can be very clear: physical intimidation, threats, sexual harassment. But these are relatively rare. The most common causes of bullying in the minds of employees, highlighted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, are subjective and open to interpretation. These include ‘subtle undermining behaviour” (which could just be seen as oversensitivity); ‘excessive and unjustified criticism’ (which might also be an inability to accept or admit poor performance); and ‘inappropriate use of fair procedures’.