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Bullying at Work

Bullying is an aggressive and threatening behaviour, characterized by the presence of repeated unacceptable, abusive, humiliating, degrading, disrespectful acts, obvious or subtle, sustained in a asymmetric relationship of power that generate victimisation and defencelessness that poses a risk to physical and psychological health to employees that receives them.

Bullying at Work

“Bullying affects approximately 10% of the world working population, between 2% and 30% at European level and 31.1% in Gibraltar” (Buttigieg 2007)

The objective of bullying

To psychologically weaken the victims to force them to abandon work “voluntarily”

Examples of bullying behaviour

• Social exclusion
• Withholding information
• Physical isolation
• Denied rights and opportunities
• Negation of information or resources
• Inducement to errors
• Work interfered
• Excessively supervised
• Small errors exaggerated
• Unjustly disciplined
• Continued and exaggerated criticism
• Efforts devalued
• Threats of getting fired
• Privacy breached
• Spreading malicious rumours
• Insults, shouted at
• Made a fool of
• Unreasonable workload
•Consequences of bullying
• Staff turnover
• Sickness absence
• Stress breakdowns
• Deaths in service
• Ill-health retirements
• Early retirements
• Uses of disciplinary procedures
• Grievances initiated
• Suspensions
• Dismissals
• Uses of private security firms to snoop on employment tribunals or legal action against employees

What to do

• Break the silence, talk to others you trust about what is happening and report it
• Keep a diary with details about the situation, witnesses, how it made you feel, what was said, done or omitted. Get copies of all communications, written or verbal that may be used as evidence. Avoid being alone with the bully and try having witnesses
• Find out what bullying at work is. There is good online information and also specialized books made by DAWN at the John Mackintosh Hall Library.
• Ask your employer for a copy of the Code of Conduct or Dignity at Work Policy and Procedure
• Contact DAWN helpline for free confidential support
• Contact the labour inspectors, your union representatives and seek legal advice to find out about your working and contractual rights.
• Look for psychological support and/or medical advice if necessary, in order to protect your health from the bullying impact; have the details of the condition entered in the medical records; get medical leave from work if necessary to prevent health deterioration, protect your integrity and facilitate your recovery.
• Try and reduce other stress factors, do some physical, relaxing and recreational activities. Seek support from family and close friends.
• Inform the bully directly or through a mediator about which negative behaviours are affecting you. Let him/her know that bullying is unacceptable, harmful, illigal and that it must stop.
• Contact Human Resources and formally report the bullying incidents and its negative effects. You should be assisted and protected while it is investigated, managed and stopped.
• Look at the Gibraltar new legislation to deal with bullying and protect workers wellbeing in:

The Employment (Bullying at Work) Act 2014, enacted by Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar on the 21st February 2014 and Gazetted on the 18th September 2014, provides a legal framework to protect the psychological integrity and wellbeing of employees, employers and the industry alike.

Contact DAWN for free and confidential advice, support and information on:


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