Obstruction to justice, corruption, collusion, blocked at every turn?
Many targets of bullying report that they seem to be obstructed every step of the way in their pursuit of justice. The management refuse to investigate, or use an untrained investigator, or whitewash the case. The union refuses to help, or initially shows interest but suddenly changes sides. The solicitor initially shows interest but then starts acting in a manner which suggests they have the other side's interests at heart rather than yours.
The employer's lawyers apply for, and obtain, adjournment after adjournment, then obtain a pre-hearing review which the tribunal chairman handles in favour of the employer. In the tribunal, favour is shown to the respondent (employer) and you get the impression that the verdict has been decided in advance. Your solicitor, the respondent's lawyers and the tribunal chairman seem to know more about your case than you think they should.
After the tribunal you're left with no option but to privately sue the employer, the union, and your solicitor, and appeal the tribunal decision, but by this time you have no job, no income, your savings are gone, so is your health, maybe your marriage too, and there's no prospect of ever being employed again, especially in the professions.
Sound familiar? If so, you might be surprised to realise how often this happens. Mostly it's in cases from the education sector, although it may happen in any public sector case, for example the NHS. Occasionally, but less often, it happens in private sector cases, and in rare cases from the voluntary sector.
Although there's never any substantive proof, it seems that all the parties arrayed against you have been colluding in secret. The question is, what allegiance binds these individuals together, and where could they meet such that the normal rules of confidentiality do not apply? What fraternal obligation places their duty to support and protect each other above the moral, ethical and legal obligations by which the rest of us are bound?
Employers, unions, law firms, and employees of the justice system are part of society, and every group, professional or otherwise, contains a few poor performers and rotten apples. This ranges from inexperience through ineptitude and incompetence to collusion and corruption.
If your union is not supporting you, it's time to remind the union that you are a fee-paying member and that you require their services. If they fail to provide those services they will be in breach of contract. Try everything you can to keep the union on your side but if the relationship has broken down irretrievably it may be time to write a letter to the general secretary pointing out that the union's refusal to support you has led to you having no option but to take action independently and then take legal action against the union for recovery of costs. Apply here for a template letter. If the union's lack of support warrants it, you may be able to challenge their right to be a Trade Union. There's more about trade unions and why they refuse to support members in cases of bullying and stress on the Public Sector page.
Solicitors and barristers
Many solicitors show initial interest but quickly lose that interest once the complexity of the case becomes apparent. The fact that there's no law against bullying also makes progress difficult - but not impossible. In those cases where the solicitor has got stuck in and persevered, they have usually managed to achieve an out-of-court settlement, and, in a few cases, a positive judgement in court. Some of these are listed on the case law and settlement page. Others are on the press release page under Release 13 and Release 16.
Your legal professional is not your friend, nor your counsellor or therapist. He or she is a legal professional and should act in a professional, interested and courteous manner in all dealings with you. When dealing with solicitors and barristers, the relationship is one of instruction. You instruct, and the legal professional acts on your instruction. Some solicitors and barristers like you to think the relationship is the other way round. As professionals, they may advise you of in the inadvisability of your instruction, but if you insist, they must carry it out.
If you've been let down by your solicitor in the UK you can report them to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS). If you've been let down by your barrister in the UK, you can report them to the Bar Council.
Beware of anyone who is representing - or misrepresenting - themselves as a legal professional or offering legal representation but who is not legally qualified or who does not have professional qualifications or entitlements. Con artists, fraudsters and bullies prey on vulnerable people. For more information on this, tick the box "unscrupulous legal eagles" on this form.
Bully OnLine contains over 400 pages of insight and information on all aspects of bullying. the site is divided into eight sub-sites each with their own home page; this section is on taking action to deal with workplace bullying. If you've not seen them yet, there's an unreferenced page of phrases and strategies which will give you the legal phraseology and insight to be able to progress your case - apply here for a copy.
Lots of information and ideas for tackling bullying including the legal aspects
Action Home Page | Action to tackle bullying
Guidance for employers on policy development
Bullying and the trade unions | Bullying and the law
Case law on bullying, harassment, stress and personal injury
Court judgements in cases relevant to bullying
Long v. Mercury Mobile Communications Services
Hatton Barber et al: 16 practical propositions for a personal injury case
Right to be accompanied | The need for risk assessment
High Court injunction to prevent unfair dismissal | Obstruction to justice
Bullyonline action forum for validation and re-empowerment
UK Dignity at Work Bill | Swedish law on Victimization at Work
Bullying and human rights | Waters v. London Metropolitan Police
Barber v. Somerset County Council
Zimmerman: retaliation in the US courts
Bullying history: books, articles and publications since 1992
How to lobby your MP: example letter and summary of inadequacy of UK law
Amicus Campaign Against Bullying At Work (CABAW)
Tim Field's written submission to the Dignity at Work Bill debate
Getting another job after bullying | How to recover from bullying
Setting up a bullying survivor support group | Sample support group constitution
Using the search engines to find other sites on bullying etc
Dealing with viruses, worms, spam etc
Designing and building your own web site
Advice and guidance for new Internet users
Tim Field's book Bully in sight validates the experience of bullying and
defines the injury to health caused by bullying and harassment
The Field Foundation | Bully OnLine
Workplace bullying | School bullying | Family bullying
Bullying news | Press and media centre
Bullying case histories | Bullying resources
Stress and PTSD
Action to tackle bullying | Related issues
Books on bullying and psychiatric injury