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Criticized, ignored, intimidated, undermined, never recognized? Could be bullying ... read this

FAQ: Answers to frequently asked questions about workplace bullying
For answers to frequently asked questions about school bullying and child bullying click here

How can I find information quickly at Bully OnLine?
Use the site search engine or check the site map or site index.

What is bullying?
Click here.

What's the difference between bullying and mobbing?
Click here.

What's the difference between bullying and harassment?
Click here.

What's the difference between bullying and management?
Those who can, do. Those who can't, bully. Good managers manage, bad managers bully. Bad managers reveal themselves by bullying. Click here for a list of differences between a manager and a bully.

Bullying is just tough management, isn't it?
Bullies prevent employees from fulfilling their duties, bullies are usually inadequate at their own job and survive only by plagiarising (stealing) other people's work, bullying is a breach of contract (a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence), bullying causes injury to health and PTSD , bullies incur vicarious liability for the employer, etc.

Why did he/she pick on me?
Because you were good at your job, popular with people, unwittingly invited unfavourable comparison with the bully's inadequacy simply by being competent, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, blew the whistle on something (perhaps unwittingly), were vulnerable in some way (eg need to pay the mortgage), and because bullying is an obsessive, compulsive and addictive behaviour the serial bully has to have someone to bully.

Why me?
Click here.

How do bullies select their targets?
>Click here.

What are the triggers that cause bullying to start?
Click here.

What is it about me that causes bullies to pick on me?
Because you have a lot of positive qualities of which the bully is envious. Click here.

Why did I let it happen to me?
See previous answers. Because you had little or no knowledge of bullying, no training in how to deal with it, those around you denied or ignored it, you didn't recognise the bully as a sociopath, the bully disempowered you, you were vulnerable, you're honest and unwilling to compromise your integrity, the law is weak, jobs are scarce so you were frightened to report it, personnel and management probably didn't help or took the side of the bully, etc.

What did I do to deserve it?
Nothing. See previous answers. It is NEVER the target's fault - it is always the bully who is responsible for their behaviour; however, bullies project their behaviour onto their target and claim their target is the one with the "negative attitude" who is "aggressive" etc. Treat each criticism or allegation as an admission by the bully of his or her own failings and inadequacy. A target of abuse simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - and probably has plenty of predecessors and successors.

So what can I do about it?
Lots, although justice through the legal system is difficult at present. Read everything (books, this web site) and decide whether you want to a) leave, get another job with an employer who values your skills and become financially stable, b) take legal action, c) fight bullying on a wider scale, d) get a settlement and do something different (perhaps more useful and rewarding) with your life, e) follow another option, or f) a combination of these. It's a personal decision that only you can make.

My union says I don't have a case.
Many people who contact me say their union is refusing to handle their case. The reasons vary, but the most common are that the union rep is colluding with management, or the union rep doesn't have support from higher up the union. There's more on this, including the political dimension on my Public Sector page. Whilst taking successful legal action is difficult - there being no law specifically against bullying - there are at least twenty areas of law that apply (these are listed on the legal page). Read up on case law and settlements, plus specific cases including the Long case. It's mainly a problem of knowledge, training and experience, so tell your union rep about Bully OnLine at Bully Online and point him/her to the pages on training and public seminars.

I feel so ill, often I just want to kill myself.
These feelings, which include reactive depression, are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. You are NOT mentally ill, but psychiatrically injured - the cause is external, someone is responsible and liable. Being an injury, it will get better, although it can take a long time. One of the aims of my seminar Recovery and re-empowerment after bullying abusive life events is to cut recovery time in half. You need resolution and/or closure of your experience for the healing to get going. Your GP and other medical professionals may not understand your trauma, so see my PTSD page which includes a table of the differences between mental illness and psychiatric injury.

I thought I was the only one this was happening to.
Almost everyone who is abused thinks this. Abusers encourage it, for it disempowers and silences you. However, there are many people in your situation - with workplace bullying, perhaps half the workforce. The reason so few people report their abusers is for fear that "no-one will believe me". See the section on denial. They are usually correct - but things are changing. You can help the process of change.

I never thought I would be a victim.
You're not a victim, you're a target. The word "victim" allows some people to tap into and stimulate prejudices and preconceived notions about "victimhood", eg that it's all your fault. Some academic research has unfortunately perpetuated this and other myths. It is not your fault - bullies are abusive personalities and predatory, and the bully has deliberately and intentionally targeted you. It is the bully's pattern of behaviour (constant nitpicking criticisms, specious allegations etc) which reveals intent. Click here to see the reasons why people are targeted.

I was bullied at school and now I've been bullied again at work. Is there something wrong with me?
No. You've been targeted at work for the same reasons you were targeted at school, ie you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you are a person of integrity (bullies despise people with integrity for it reminds them of what they don't have), etc etc. It is the bully's choice to bully. Bullies have a compulsive need to bully and will target anyone who is available. Click here to see the most common reasons why people are targeted.

I was bullied months / years ago and although I enjoy my current job and my boss is supportive I still have this nagging feeling that I'm not good enough and that people think I'm a failure. Why is this and what can I do about it?
This is common to all people who have suffered long-term abuse, particularly verbal abuse (at work or at home) which focuses on "you're not good enough". As adults, people gain most of the sense of value and self-worth through their work and their relationships, so when you're repeatedly told how useless and incompetent you are - and before you've worked out you're not dealing with a decent human being but with a serial bully / nutcase / jerk / loser - the subconscious steadily soaks up this message until one becomes convinced that somehow it must be true. Logic alone is not enough to override it.
If you're in an abusive relationship at home or work, get out of it. Find another job, even if it's a short-term voluntary job, where you can work with good people. If you've been in an abusive relationship, take some time alone, but keep contact with trustworthy, supportive friends or family. Reduce or eliminate contact with those who are abusive, dismissive, unsupportive and negative in their attitude to life.
The main reason we suffer self-doubt is because of low self-esteem. Recovery can be effected by the constant daily repetition of affirmations like "I am worthy" and "I am competent" and "I am a valuable person" and "I like myself". The best way of measuring your self-esteem is to stand in front of a mirror, take a good look at the person you see and say out loud ten times to that person, "I like myself". The comfort or discomfort or level of self-belief you feel when you do this is a good indicator of your true level of self-esteem which, after a bullying experience, is likely to be low. Repeat this exercise several times a day for three weeks, after which time you'll have made significant inroads into restoring your self-esteem by replacing in your subconscious mind the bully's false negative statements with your own true positive beliefs. There's more in my new seminar, Recovery and re-empowerment after bullying and abusive life events.

Why don't you just stand up for yourself?
Because in almost every case when you assert your right not to be bullied, things get worse. The bully senses that their tactics of control and subjugation are not working and, worse, that you can see through his or her mask of deceit. The bully's paranoid fear of exposure (of their weakness, inadequacy and incompetence) goes exponential and the bully moves into phase two - elimination. For a list of reasons why people are prevented from asserting their right not to be bullied click here. It's similar to why victims of abuse can't and won't report the abuse.

My bully has made unwarranted criticisms/false allegations about me. How do I turn this to my advantage and reflect it back on the bully?
Record the criticism/allegation in a letter to the bully, eg "On [date] you made the following criticism/allegation [quote it exactly]. I now ask you to provide me, in writing, with substantive and quantifiable evidence to justify your criticism/allegation". Contact us for more detail on this defensive strategy.

I love my job ... how can I avoid losing it?
The truth is, you've lost your job the moment the serial bully selects you as their next target. The bully will do everything humanly possible to oust you from your job, although because of your inner strength, emotional maturity and integrity, this may take a year of two - by which time you will have sustained a severe psychiatric injury which may prevent you from working in your chosen field again.

My HR people are insisting I use the grievance procedure, but the bully is my boss - what can I do?
In the majority of cases, the grievance procedure is inappropriate for dealing with bullying. To see why click here. The UK government has amended employment legislation to force employees to follow the grievance procedure before they can bring an action at employment tribunal, which, in bullying cases, makes matter worse rather than better.

People who claim they're being bullied are just trying to hide the fact they're not very good at their job, aren't they?
In at least 95% of the cases of bullying reported to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, the person has been picked on because they are good at their job and popular with people. Bullies are driven by jealousy (of relationships) and envy (of abilities). The target just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you have an employee who is genuinely underperforming, then:
a) there will be substantive and quantifiable evidence that they are underperforming
b) there is already a problem with that person's manager for i) causing and allowing that situation to develop, ii) not taking positive action before,
c) bullying will always make a problem worse so any manager who thinks that bullying improves performance is revealing their inadequacy as a manager

How do I tell the difference between someone who is really being bullied and someone who's claiming bullying to hide their poor performance?
The person who is being bullied will have, or quickly be able to construct, a fat folder of evidence, often covering several months, maybe years. They will report a stream of bullying behaviours, especially nit-picking, fault-finding and constant criticism and allegations, all of which lack substantive and quantifiable evidence, for they are just the bully's opinion. It's the patterns, the regularity and the number of incidents which reveal bullying.
The person who is making a spurious claim might produce half a dozen sheets of paper, if that.

But you've got to bully people to get the job done, haven't you?
Bullies are weak, inadequate people who lack people skills, lack empathy, lack interpersonal skills, lack leadership skills, lack motivational skills, lack judgement, lack foresight and hindsight, lack forward thinking skills, etc. Bullies bully to hide the fact they lack these skills. Serial bullies are compulsive liars with a Jekyll and Hyde nature who use charm and mimicry to deceive peers and superiors. Bullying results in demotivation, demoralisation, disenchantment, disaffection, disloyalty, ill-health, high sickness absence, high staff turnover, an us-and-them culture, low productivity, frequent mistakes, low morale, non-existent team spirit, poor customer service, no continuity of customer care, etc. And that's just for starters.

Isn't there a fine line between admonishing people who are not performing and using strong management to get the job done?
a) Bullying is a cause of underperformance, not the solution
b) There are recognised ways of dealing with underperformance; bullying is not one of them
c) Bullying makes underperformance worse, not better
d) Bullying prevents employees from fulfilling their duties
e) "Underperforming" employees seem to follow the bully wherever s/he goes
f) It is always the bully who is weak, inadequate, and underperforming
g) Bullies are weak managers; bullying is designed to hide that weakness by giving the appearance of strength whilst diverting attention away from the bully

Surely a manager has a right to deal with the underperformance of a subordinate?
False allegations of underperformance are designed to divert attention away from the bully's own inadequacy and to create conflict between those who might share incriminating information about him/her.

Isn't it always just a case of the employee and employer fighting each other?
Almost always the employee and employer end up in an adversarial contest in which both are losers regardless of the outcome. However, the employee and employer should be on the same side fighting the bully. Bullies are adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise pool incriminating information about them. Bullies also gain gratification (a perverse indulgence in that nice warm feeling we call satisfaction) from encouraging and then watching others engage in destructive conflict. Bullies are also adept at manipulation (especially of people's emotions), deception, and evasion of accountability.

My Human Resources department refuse to take me seriously. Instead, they are doing everything they can to support the bully whilst getting rid of me. Why is this?
From dealing with thousands of cases in which this happens - albeit a self-selecting audience which may not scale up nationally - I've identified the following reasons:
1) Human Resources (HR) people are not trained in dealing with bullying - it's not in their textbooks, not in their training, and their professional body in the UK (CIPD) has not given the issue the attention it needs.
2) The HR profession seems to attract a number of people who are not people-focused and thus not good at dealing with people problems.
3) HR is not there for employees. The role of HR is to keep the employer out of court.
4) The majority of HR people are female, and females seem particularly susceptible to charm, which is one of the bully's main weapons of deception.
5) By the time HR get to hear of the bullying they are faced with an articulate, plausible, convincing, charming "bully" and a gibbering wreck of a "target" who is traumatised and thus unconvincing, inarticulate, incoherent, obsessed, apparently paranoid, tearful, distressed and highly emotional. By this time the bully has already convinced HR that the target has a "mental health problem", is a liability to the organisation, and needs to be got rid of.
6) When it's one word against another with no witnesses, HR take the word of the senior employee (almost always the bully).
7) There's no law against bullying so there's no case to answer.
8) The employer doesn't have an anti-bullying policy so it's not a disciplinary issue.
9) The employer does have an anti-bullying policy but it's just words on paper
10) The bully is a tough dynamic manager who gets the job done and the high turnover of staff in the bully's department is because they're all wimps who can't meet the demanding standards of performance demanded by this exemplary manager. Yawn.
11) If HR recognise they have a bully, they're not going to admit it because to do so is tantamount to admitting liability for this - and previous - cases.
12) HR are not going to admit that they've made a mistake recruiting an incompetent individual who bullies to hide his or her inadequacies.
13) When push comes to shove, HR do what they are told to do by management, regardless of the rights and wrongs.
14) HR are sometimes an outsourced and contracterised profession with little influence.
15) The constant change, reorganisation, restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing, contracterisation etc mean that there is no continuity in treatment of staff and thus the bully is able to hide the fact that he or she has a history of conflict with employees.
16) Over the last few years employers have been burdened with numerous legislative changes (working time, data privacy, parental leave, etc) and have no desire, resources, time or energy to deal with issues for which there is no legal requirement.
17) Bullying cases are so long and complex (a situation the bully fosters) that most HR (and most people) don't have the time, energy or resources to unpick the case.
18) There are only a handful of people who are capable of providing HR with the training and insight to undertake a successful investigation.
19) Where HR want to investigate they are sometimes overruled.
20) HR (and management) are frightened of the serial bully too - and sometimes more frightened than the employees.
21) HR people get bullied too.

You say that in over 90% of cases you deal with the employer supports the bully and gets rid of the target. Why is this?
1) In the majority of cases, the bullying you see is the tip of an iceberg of wrongdoing (contact us for details of what the serial bully is likely to be up to) and the employer is terrified of what's going to come out.
2) Like recruits like, like supports like, like protects like, like colludes with like. If you have a serial bully, it's likely s/he has friends in senior management.
3) Bullies are adept at exploiting the politics of organisations and playing political games for personal gain.
4) Bullies are adept at deception, especially the manipulation of HR's and management's perceptions of their target.
5) Employers are more scared of the serial bully than the employees are
6) Employers are frightened of the legal action by both sides
7) Employers are frightened of the bad publicity that accompanies bullying cases
8) Because there's no law on bullying, it's easy to get rid of targets (who by this time are facing financial ruin and loss of job and are too ill to take legal action)
9) Because the case law on psychiatric injury is poor (especially after the Hatton judgment) the employer knows that a target is very unlikely to succeed in legal action, especially as a personal injury case will take five years of hell to reach court.
10) The bigger employers, and especially those in the public sector, have a bottomless purse when it comes to engaging barristers to defend a case against a target
11) The majority of workers are not in a union and therefore have no support.
12) Of those workers that are in a union, many will be let down by their union.
13) Even if a worker is in a union, there's still no law against bullying so the union's solicitors will refuse to take on the case.
14) By the time HR gets to hear of a bullying case, the target is a gibbering wreck (from severe psychiatric injury) whilst the bully - usually in a position senior to the target, or with the support of a manager senior to the target - remains charming and plausible.
15) Shooting the messenger is an instinctive reaction of those who abuse power.

After nearly two years of bullying I've started a grievance procedure against my female manager. Now she's claiming I'm the one bullying and harassing her! What do I do?
Bullies feign victimhood when outwitted - and very convincingly (this is hardly surprising given the amount of practice they've had). One way to handle this is for you, or preferably your legal representative, to assertively and fully state the following:
a) the allegations of bullying and harassment have only appeared in response to being called to account for the way she has chosen to behave
b) the allegations are therefore malicious
c) the allegations are a projection of her own behaviour and an attempt to divert attention away from herself and her behaviour
d) the allegations are an example of feigning victimhood in order to evade accountability and sanction; only bullies and harassers use this tactic, therefore the choice to make such allegations in these circumstances is tantamount to an admission of guilt and she should be made aware of this
e) in most employers' harassment policies, making malicious allegations of bullying and harassment constitute a disciplinary offence
f) she must substantiate the allegations in writing within 7 days by providing substantive and quantifiable evidence; if she fails to do this she must withdraw the allegations immediately and notify you in writing, otherwise she will be subject to legal action for harassment and defamation and the employer will incur her vicarious liability
g) failure to withdraw the allegations will result in a full investigation of her past behaviour, including the precise circumstances under which she left her previous job

I thought I had some good friends at work. Now that I've started to take action to deal with a bullying manager, everyone has deserted me and many have turned against me. Why is this?
It's common for workmates to desert you when you take action against a bully. To understand the reasons why, see my page on bystanders.

Has bullying always been present in the workplace and has it got worse recently?
Bullies have always been with us, and for the time being, always will. I think there are several reasons for the increase, including...
1) In the old days (eg pre 1970s) there were more opportunities for people to express their dysfunction and aggression by physical means. Levels of physical violence, eg murder, have been slowly declining for the last thousand years, probably as a result of the development of state-run legal systems. Over the last century in particular, society has grown more aware of the unacceptability of personal physical violence. (OK, I'm ignoring wars here.)
2) Opportunities for the expression of dysfunction and aggression through prejudice, eg harassment and discrimination on the grounds of race gender disability etc, have steadily been closed off by law. Harassers and discriminators don't stop harassing and discriminating simply because laws have been enacted, they just carry on regardless. However, the more clever harassers and discriminators modify their behaviour so they express their harassing and discriminating intentions in ways which are not yet proscribed by law - eg bullying.
3) Over the last 50 years there has been a great deal of effort to clone children into respectable adults by feeding them through an education system that is geared to academic exam results. This socialisation programme has resulted in producing more adults with civilised behaviour, ie people who don't resort to physical violence. Hence, we see more examples of "civilised aggression" in the workplace, ie the psychological violence of bullying rather than outright harassment, discrimination and physical violence.

The top four groups of people who contact the Advice Line and Bully OnLine are teachers, nurses, social workers, and those in the charity / voluntary sector. Why is this?
Bullies are attracted to vulnerability like moths to a light. The objectives of bullies are Power, Control, Domination and Subjugation. The caring professions present many opportunities for exercising power and control over vulnerable clients, and many opportunities for exercising power and control (eg using guilt) over vulnerable employees who are committed to their vulnerable clients and who will go to great lengths to protect their relationship with their vulnerable clients. When called upon to share or address the needs or concerns of others, serial bullies respond with impatience, irritability and aggression. Serial bullies in the caring professions can often be recognised by the fact that after joining, they set about putting as much distance between themselves and their clients, usually by getting themselves promoted up the management hierarchy.
Another reason is that bullies crave attention and jobs in these sectors provide ample opportunity for showing the world what a wonderful, kind, caring, compassionate person they are. It's also often possible to walk into a senior position without having to work your way up the corporate hierarchy first. Bullies like to think of themselves as leaders (which they are not) and their attempts to seek attention are often combined with spurious claims of leadership capabilities.
Other reasons include the diverse nature of healthcare and voluntary sectors, and the blurring of boundaries between healthcare, social services and voluntary organisations.

Calls and enquiries from the charity / voluntary / not-for-profit sector have risen substantially over the last two years. Why is this?
1) The voluntary /charity / not-for-profit sector is large and diverse in types of organisations, from tiny charitable groups to nationally-recognised names. The management structures vary considerably, as does the management experience of those tasked with management responsibility. Some are run by management committees. Many people in positions of management in the voluntary sector have no experience of disciplinary and legal action or how to proceed with investigation or disciplinary action.
2) Over the last decade the boundaries between nursing, healthcare, social services and housing have been blurred with services contracted out to organisations, eg housing associations, who may be run on commercial lines as a not-for-profit enterprise.
3) Opportunities for bullies in the private and public sector are being closed off through the implementation of anti-bullying policies, but the voluntary sector lags behind and most organisations in this sector do not have anti-bullying policies.
4) People working in the voluntary sector are even more reluctant to take their employer to employment tribunal because who likes to take a charity to court? Bullies know this and ruthlessly exploit people's sense of reasonableness and decency to evade accountability and sanction.
5) The voluntary sector provides ample opportunities for bullies to leapfrog into a senior position regardless of their management (in)experience.
6) As in the previous question, bullies are attracted to vulnerability like moths to a light. The objectives of bullies are Power, Control, Domination and Subjugation. The voluntary sector presents many opportunities for exercising power and control over vulnerable clients, and many opportunities for exercising power and control (via the use of guilt) over vulnerable employees who are committed to their vulnerable clients and who will go to great lengths to protect the relationship with their vulnerable clients. Serial bullies in the voluntary sector can often be recognised by the fact that after joining, they immediately set about putting as much distance between themselves and their clients, usually by getting themselves promoted up the management hierarchy.
7) Serial bullies are often narcissists and crave attention; jobs in the voluntary sector provide ample opportunity for showing the world what a wonderful, kind, caring, compassionate person they are. It's also often possible to walk into a senior position without having to work your way up the corporate hierarchy first. Bullies like to think of themselves as leaders (which they are not) and their attempts to seek attention are often combined with spurious claims of leadership capabilities.
8) The voluntary sector, especially high-profile organisations, offer plenty of scope and opportunity for former high-flying people from the public and private sectors whose careers have, how shall we say, suddenly made a crash landing.

Do women bully as well as men?
Better (or worse), in fact. Bullying is not a gender issue. From over 6000 cases from my Advice Line and web site, the reported bullies are split roughly 50/50, with a slight bias towards more female bullies - this is likely because of the high
percentage of calls from the caring professions (teaching, nursing, social work, charity/voluntary/not-for-profit).
About 75% of callers (targets) are female - not because more women get bullied than men, I think, but because in our society females are more likely to admit to being bullied, and are more likely to want to take action to do something about it.
The main difference between male bullies and female bullies is that females are MUCH better at it than males. Much more devious, manipulative, subtle, and charming, often with a smile. Males are, on average, less subtle and there's often an undercurrent of physical aggression just below the surface. Females are almost never physically violent. Females will often manipulate a weak male into doing her bullying for her.
After half a century of education that women are equal to men, we should expect to see as many violent females as males, just as we should expect to see as many caring males as females. In fact, this is what we see, but stereotypes, expectation and gender roles hinder our perception. If anyone doubts that females can be as violent as males I recommend the book "When she was bad: how women get away with murder, a controversial and explosive look at female aggression", Patricia Pearson, 1998, Virago Press, ISBN 1-86049-488-9. Scary.

You claim that the Guru type of serial bully exhibits characteristics of autism - how dare you bash autistics!
I have always said that people with currently recognised forms of autism are the targets of bullying, not the perpetrators. I do not believe identifying a small group of people who exhibit behavioural characteristics similar to autism bashes all autistics any more that identifying a small group of human beings who exhibit behavioural characteristics of psychopathy bashes all human beings. From more than a decade of research and experience I suggest that the Guru type of serial bully might be a hitherto unrecognised mild form of autism. Autism is a condition which has many variations and whilst the Guru type of serial bully is not an autistic according to the current definitions of autism, the Guru's behaviour has certain similarities which may or may not constitute autism. Irrespective of how it is classified, the similarities exist. I am just the messenger.

My bully appears confident on the outside but I'm sure it's false.
The bully's apparent self-esteem and self-confidence is actually arrogance, an unsustainable belief of invulnerability honed from the bully's willingness to act outside the bounds of society to ensure their survival. Well, it's always worked in the past. Narcissism is also common. Targets are people who can see through the arrogance to perceive the empty shell behind it - and bullies can sense who can see through them. The bully's paranoid fear of exposure goes exponential and their compulsive need to control is fuelled by jealousy and envy, for the bully "knows" they can never have the qualities of their target. Sensing their survival is at stake, the bullying is designed to control and then eliminate this perceived threat.

Does the bully know what they are doing?
Yes. Stanton E Samenow's book Inside the criminal mind is clear on this point. If the bully knows what they are doing, they are responsible and liable for their behaviour and the effects it has on other people. If the bully doesn't know what they are doing, the bully shouldn't be in a position of management or responsibility and the provisions of the Mental Health Act for grounds of diminished responsibility should apply. For more on this, contact us.

Can bullies be helped?
People who are unwitting bullies can be helped by removal of pressure - then their behaviour improves. Sociopathic serial bullies cannot be helped at the moment. Work on psychopaths shows that the condition does not respond to treatment - in fact, treatment may make the condition worse. Their behaviour is as ingrained as a paedophile. Work with paedophiles suggests that it may take at least two years of counselling and therapy before the paedophile can begin to see their victim as a human being rather than an object for their gratification, although the recidivism (re-offence) rate is high. I suspect the same applies to serial bullies. As an adult, the serial bully has to want to change - which they emphatically do not. And who would pay for the counselling and therapy?

Isn't the bully being bullied too?
Maybe. Bullying is often hierarchical. Trace the bullying to its origin and you'll usually find a serial bully. Concentrate on this person. Remember, "I'm just obeying orders" is not an acceptable defence.

Surely you can't legislate against bullying because it's so hard to define?
The same arguments were raised prior to the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act. Bully OnLine defines bullying and the Dignity at Work Bill plugs the loophole in UK law whereby harassment requires a focus (eg race, gender or disability).

I'm an employer, what can I do about the serial bully?
Learn everything you can about bullying so you know what you're dealing with. Develop an anti-bullying policy so you have the legitimacy to deal with the bully in your organisation.

faq, faqs, answer, answers, frequently, asked, questions, question, insight, solution, solutionWhat can I do to tackle bullying?
Read Tim Field's book
Bully in sight: how to predict, resist, challenge and combat workplace bullying.

Click here to order a copy online.

Click here for reader feedback.

Who runs Bully OnLine, the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, and Success Unlimited?
Click here.

More information

More questions are answered on the workplace bullying myths and misperceptions page.

For answers to frequently asked questions about school bullying and child bullying click here.

Where now at Bully OnLine?
How can I recognise that I'm being bullied?
What is bullying and why me? | Definitions of bullying
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bullying
Overcoming myths, misperceptions and stereotypes
The answer to Why don't you stand up for yourself?
Bullying and vulnerability
Why have my colleagues deserted me?
What's the difference between bullying and mobbing?
What is harassment and discrimination?
Why grievance procedures are inappropriate for dealing with bullying
The difference between bullying and management
Facts, figures, surveys, costs of bullying | Cost of bullying to UK plc
UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line statistics
Profile of the serial bully - who does this describe in your life?
Antisocial Personality Disorder | Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Paranoid Personality Disorder | Borderline Personality Disorder
Bullies and attention-seeking behaviour
Munchausen Syndrome and MSBP
Information for nurses | Information for voluntary sector employees
Information for teachers being bullied
Bullying of lecturers in further education
Bullying of lecturers in higher education
Bullying in the social services sector
Bullying in the public sector - the political dimension and
why trade unions fail to support their members

Bullying in the military | Bullying of students
Scheduled training and conferences on bullying | Other events about bullying
Articles on bullying available online
Bullying on TV, radio and in print media
Requests to take part in surveys etc | Bullying issues needing research
Tim Field's quotes on bullying | Vision for bullying
Feedback about Bully OnLine | Survivor testimonies
The Secret Tragedy of Working: Work Abuse - PTSD Chauncey Hare
Bullying resources in: Australia | Canada | Finland | France | Germany | Ireland | Sweden | USA

Bully OnLine: Site map | Site index | Site search
Home pages
Bullying at work (this page) | School bullying | Family bullying
Bullying news | Bullying case histories
Press releases and media centre
Action to tackle bullying | Bullying resources
Stress, PTSD and psychiatric injury | Related issues
Related web pages
The Field Foundation
Bully OnLine Home Page
Success Unlimited
Books on bullying and psychiatric injury