Regarding your news focus on bullying (Personnel Today, 28 September). I experienced bullying first hand with my previous employer, in my senior HR manager role.
Having helped to found the company and after 22 years’ service, (12 as a director/senior manager), it is virtually impossible to describe the distress and betrayal I experienced through bullying by other directors and senior managers – some who had been my colleagues for 20 years.
The bullying began after I returned from maternity leave, at which time I was demoted. I was gradually undermined over the following 12 months, culminating in my being falsely accused of gross misconduct and summarily dismissed. My ex-employers then attempted to further bully me into signing away my rights in exchange for a pittance under a compromise agreement, if I agreed to resign. This would relieve me of the stigma of dismissal and give me a chance to continue in an HR career.
I am happy to say that I fought back. With the help of my solicitor and supportive family and friends, I took my ex-employers to tribunal. It took more than a year of turmoil to win my unfair dismissal case outright, and to clear my name and receive net compensation of nearly £50,000.
Bullying does go on at all levels and written policies don’t necessarily help. My advice for anyone being bullied is to seek external professional help from a solicitor experienced in employment law. The first session is normally free and you will be given advice on the best course of action.
The more victims of bullying who stand up to their bullies, take them to tribunal and win, the more the bullies will be hit where it hurts them most – in the negative publicity that shows them up for what they are, and in having to pay out substantial amounts in compensation for their unacceptable, unprofessional and downright unpleasant actions.
Regional personnel officer, Rathbone Training