Home / Resources / Bullying in the Workplace : What can individuals do?

Bullying in the Workplace : What can individuals do?

When harassment and/or bullying in the workplace occurs, many people would prefer it to be stopped quickly without making a formal complaint.  The first step would be to speak directly to the offender or write directly to him/her telling him/her specifically what conduct s/he finds upsetting or offensive and ask clearly that it should be stopped. The help of a ‘harassment advisor’ may be useful.  This is often the quickest and most effective way of solving the problem, especially when it is due to a lack of sensitivity rather than a deliberate attempt to cause discomfort.

For many reasons the target may find this too difficult to do. If they cannot confront the person directly but would like to have the matter dealt with informally and quickly they should speak to their line manager or, if he/she is involved in the harassment/ bullying, speak to a member of the HR team.

Asking for a complaint to be dealt with ‘informally’ doesn’t mean that it will not be taken seriously.  But it does mean that the action can be taken without fuss and without the need for formal disciplinary action.  This is probably the best way to deal with incidents which arise because of a lack of sensitivity, misjudged humour or thoughtlessness.

The person who is the target of bullying should be encouraged not to suffer in silence; they should be encouraged to talk about the problem, or seek support from a harassment advisor or occupational health.

Whatever the approach taken, they should keep a record of the harassment, including when and where it took place and whether anyone else was present.

Some general steps

  • The recipient should speak to someone (colleague, line manager or independent harassment advisor).
  • The employee should be aware of the Company’s ‘Dignity at Work’ Policy concerning bullying and harassment and where to find it.
  • They should keep a diary of each incident (including who was involved, who was present, date etc).  This could be crucial evidence for any later official investigation.
  • They should speak to the person involved, and warn them if it doesn’t stop, they will take it further.  They may do this directly, through an intermediary or by letter.


Recent articles on our blog....

A black and white keyboard with the word newsletter and an envelope image replacing the enter key

Spring 2024 newsletter includes a movement tip & other resources

May 28, 2024

The latest edition of our quarterly workplace wellbeing newsletter includes a movement tip for working hours and many other resources.

Read More →
A row of well thumbed cream coloured paper folders

Workplace wellbeing resources – some helpful recent additions

May 16, 2024

Our latest collection of external resources to help workplace wellbeing includes guidance and recommendations relating to a range of topics – autism employment, ensuring EDI is for everyone, information sharing in mental health emergencies at work, menopause in the workplace and women at work.

Read More →
Group of people working around a desk beside a cork board with coloured notes

Why we should focus on minimising employee illbeing to aid workplace wellbeing

May 16, 2024

This post begins with some research which concludes that efforts to improve wellbeing at work are directed too narrowly. It then goes on to highlight some courses that can help employers looking to minimise employee illbeing in the workplace. They present opportunities to explore strategies that can enhance a culture of psychological safety and trust.

Read More →



Our purpose is to provide training and consultancy services to enhance resilience, health and wellbeing in the workplace.


Differentiation is one of the most strategic and tactical activities in which companies most constantly engage


It's natural to have questions about training and how it fits with your organisation. Our FAQs can help you find out more.


View case studies for some of the in-house training courses we have delivered to different types of organisations across the UK.