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How do I write a complaint of harassment and bullying?

(17 Posts)
AKMD Sat 24-Mar-12 08:18:20

I feel that I am being bullied by my line manager, who is horrible to everyone in our team but seems to be picking me for special personal nastiness. I'm the only female member of staff on the team except her and also the youngest so I think she sees me as an easy target.

I've already tried talking to her directly about her management style and had an informal meeting with HR present (instigated by me) but the situation is just getting worse, to the point that my GP has signed me off work. I am trying to put the problems down in writing but the points seem so petty individually that it's taking a long paragraph to explain each one. There are so many that this letter is going to look like a book. HR are supposed to help me write the actual letter but I want to put my thoughts down on paper while I can still remember the details.

What should I do? Should I keep the detail in and let HR do the editing or just bullet-point each item? I'm worried that if I don't explain them her manager will wonder why I have an issue.

Grevling Sat 24-Mar-12 15:06:45

Bullet points help. Also try to keep the war an peace in check too many words will make the problem seem more trivial than it is not the other way around. Try to avoid "I said......to which you replied.....after xyz having said".

AKMD Sat 24-Mar-12 22:18:16

Thanks Grevling. I need to do some editing for sure. It's just hard to fight the urge to explain exactly what happened smile

Bohica Sat 24-Mar-12 22:31:39

I would stick to facts in bullet form and try not to let your emotions show in the letter, you don't need to give the reasons why you feel it is harassment just keep to the facts of what happend in each point.

Why are HR helping you write the letter? Surely it should be your own words and something they are given to read and gather facts & evidence on to guide management to deal with the situations effectively?

flowery Sun 25-Mar-12 15:55:35

Don't let HR edit it! Remember they don't work for you, they work for the employer. Bullets is fine, and I agree with Grevling about avoiding War and Peace. Don't undermine what I'm sure are very good points you need to make with a load of waffle and he said she said, otherwise it all sounds like mudslinging.

AKMD Sun 25-Mar-12 16:21:34

Ok, points taken. Does anyone know if ACAS or another independent service can help with these letters? I've written one but it's 9 pages long and I don't think I should use it in its current state.

ahhhhhpushit Sun 25-Mar-12 16:39:09

Good lord dont even let HR see it!!! They work for the company! If you ever end up in an employment tribunal they will be the ones who will be witnesses AGAINST you!

Needs to be no more than 2 sides at most.

I would make sure you mention the following:

-sexual discrimination/less favourable treatment on the grounds of your gender and/or age
-work related stress / personal injury caused by her behaviour
-that your manager is making you feel you no longer have any trust or confidence in her/your employer and you're starting to geel you dont want to work there any more because of her behaviour

These are legal trigger phrases and will sound alarm bells in your HR dept.

DO NOT try and be polite about this. You need to stop this treatment NOW. Trust me on the above. I would lose count of the amount of times I have ended up in a tribunal where the judge looks over correspondence and says "but you didnt mention discrimination anywhere here did you?" etc etc. Or even "you say discrimination but you don't say sex discrimination, there is no law against discrimination per se". You NEED to be precise.

There is no law that your employer or your manager needs to be nice to you. There is no law against bullying in the workplace (except on the grounds of race, sex, disability etc etc).

Have you started a diary? If not, start one.

AKMD Sun 25-Mar-12 16:47:38

Oh heck. Right, I will not show the letter to HR. I will do some editing.

- discrimination on grounds of gender and age: yes. Do I need to say discrimination or can I just say that I believe that manager x is treating me like this because I am the only female and the youngest on the team?

- work-related stress/personal injury: yes. I have put down the effects on my physical and mental health and have a doctor's note signing me off due to work-related stress.

- don't want to work there: I will add this in.

An ex-manager and personal friend who no longer works for the company has read through my draft and says it looks good but I know it's too long. Do I have to give examples or can I just write a summary and then have the examples for when it is investigated?

ahhhhhpushit Sun 25-Mar-12 17:41:43

Fine to say you feel your being treated differently but I would make sure you make it clear that by differently you mean worse IYSWYM.It would be better is you actually said the word discrimination though!

I would refer to the worst and most recent examples and say there are others but too many to go into in this letter. Be as specific as you can about dates. I would also say that you believe her treatment of you is a pattern or a campaign against you rather than one-off separate incidents (provided this is true of course!)

AKMD Sun 25-Mar-12 20:26:04

Thanks ahhhhhh. I've cut it down to 3 pages with no examples confused I'm going to call ACAS tomorrow morning and see if they can review it with me to see what needs to be taken away or added in.

Do you think it would be worth giving formal notice now that I'm pregnant or would it be seen as playing a sympathy card? I was going to wait until after the 12 week scan.

flowery Sun 25-Mar-12 21:51:13

Oh no you need examples. Surely you can't be at 3 pages without examples?!

Break it down into types of things she did, then a couple of examples for each. If you put no examples she will say 'I can't respond because I don't know what she's talking about'

AKMD Sun 25-Mar-12 22:10:17

Can I add the examples as an appendix (only half joking!)? Without giving too many details, the letter runs in this format:

- Statement of intent;
- Brief description of working environment before and after manager's (A) arrival and how A's behaviour has affected me;
- Description of previous action taken to resolve the situation informally and why it hasn't worked;
- Summary of the unacceptable aspects of A's behaviour in 10 fairly short bullets;
- Statement that I can provide dated examples;
- Statement on why I consider myself harassed and discriminated against on the grounds of sex and age;
- Statement on how others have expressed concern;
- Description of effect of A's behaviour on my physical and mental health and on my work;
- Desired outcomes;
- Request not to be put in a position where I am alone with A until outcomes are achieved;
- Short thanks to senior manager for consideration of the complaint.

ahhhhhpushit Mon 26-Mar-12 09:37:25

Yes flowery is right! I said put in the worst most recent examples! Then you can very briefly summarise the rest. And for the ones you do mention you need to be specific on dates/location etc.

AKMD Mon 26-Mar-12 09:51:18

Examples are back in. I'm cut them back a bit to stick to facts and not include how they individually made me feel. I've also said that I have further examples that can be brought up during an investigation.

AKMD Tue 27-Mar-12 09:53:55

Just sent the complaint in. I am so nervous I am shaking.

lily101 Wed 16-Mar-16 02:03:48

So, how did it go? What was the result?

ToastedOrFresh Wed 16-Mar-16 02:51:18

LO ! The thread is risen !

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