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No bullying, harassment or violence

We never bully, intimidate or act violently

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What it's all about

Anyone who has been bullied, harassed or subjected to violence as a child will know it’s a degrading, frightening experience. For it to happen to us as an adult can be even worse - leaving us feeling powerless.  

We all thrive best in a friendly workplace where there is no one we have reason to fear. A place that is free from any form of intimidating, threatening, offensive or violent behaviour, whether that comes from a colleague or partner, a third party or the public.  

The action might be face-to-face or via electronic media. It includes any verbal, physical or other form of intimidation such as hate speech, trolling, violence, gender based violence, spreading lies about someone or harassment - sexual or otherwise.

We won’t accept or tolerate any of this, or any kind of violence at our work, and we all have the power to stop it in its tracks. 

To do that, we just need to report it the moment it happens.

“We have the power to stop it the moment we see it.”

What we all need to know and do

  • We treat everyone at work with courtesy, dignity, and respect.

  • We never behave in a way that could be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting.

  • We never carry out or threaten anyone with physical or verbal violence.

  • We never humiliate another person or spread gossip about them.

  • We do not tolerate abuse. We report all incidents of bullying, harassment or violence, or any concerns we have that these might be taking place.

  • When we give feedback, and when we criticise or challenge someone, we always do it constructively, calmly, and respectfully.

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Everybody thought he was a great manager. So did I. He was so popular. Then this one employee made a complaint against him - I think it was that they hadn’t been given the opportunity to apply for a post. 

Anyway, from that moment on, the manager seemed to go out of his way to make life hell for that particular employee. Always criticising, always finding fault. And he’d do it right in front of everyone. Sometimes she’d answer back, but she never made any kind of official complaint. 

One day after he’d had a go, I asked her why she didn’t make an official complaint. She looked at me like I was stupid. ‘What’s the point?’ she said, ‘He’s a manager. He’s the one with the power. And after last time they’d just see me as a troublemaker. They’re not going to do anything against him, are they?’ 

I can’t remember exactly what I said - I just sort of agreed, I think, though it seemed kind of sad that she was just going to go on putting up with the situation. 

Funny thing is, I never thought that maybe if she felt that way, it was up to me to do something. 

If we believe anyone is being treated unfairly, we report it immediately.

Monday morning. And it begins … I sit at my desk, with my head down, waiting for the bombardment to start. I even heard my boss comment to his PA that he wishes all his staff would get their heads down like me. Little does he know.  

It’s my accent. Apparently, it’s hilarious and this helps Ajay launch into a comedy act that makes everyone laugh, but makes me feel sick, helpless, out of control.  

Then one day, at lunch, Sali asks me to go for walk. ‘What’s up Sheela? You’ve been getting more and more quiet over the last weeks, where’s my bubbly friend?’  

And that was the turning point. I’d been holding it in for so long, it all came spilling out.  

Of course Sali wanted me to go to my manager straight away, but I wanted to try and manage the situation myself first. So we agreed that I’d talk to Jacee.  

I asked him to join me in the meeting room, just us. As I spoke, tears ran down my face, but I carried on. Sali had given me the strength. ‘I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but when you make fun of my accent and get everyone to laugh, it makes me feel bullied. Please stop or I’ll report it.’

‘Oh Sheela, I’m so sorry!’ he said. ‘It was just banter and you never said anything, so I thought it was okay. Please don’t say anything. I honestly didn’t mean anything by it, it’s my mistake.’  

Wow, I did not expect that response! He seemed really genuine, but the only way to tell was to give him a few days to prove he had ‘got it’.

When it happened again, I realised he hadn’t - and wouldn’t. I finally realised that I couldn’t handle this alone. So I went to see my manager and by the end of the day, Jacee had been disciplined and was suspended. 

He tried to say that I hadn’t spoken to him and he just thought it was harmless. But people had seen us in the meeting room. Plus HR said that my diary, logging Jacee’s behaviour, helped - and the witnesses that I called on, who were also willing to speak up. 

I found an interesting quote that summed it up for me, "The difference between a bully and a mistake is the intent: the bully wants to wound, humiliate and have power over their victim." 

Yeah, Jacee was a bully. I’ve spoken up, and with Serco’s care and support I have taken control of my life again. 

Bullying is any offensive, abusive, intimidating, or insulting behaviour or abuse of power that makes someone feel upset, threatened, undermined, humiliated or vulnerable.

There was no doubt - Hamid did have a weight problem. And he always seemed to be eating. So you can imagine the jokes people made about him. I always thought it was mostly when he was out of earshot, but I guess he must have known. He even remarked about it once. ‘Guess I’m a big target for that kind of thing!’ I thought that was a really good joke against those who made fun of him.

But then one day I came in early and I saw that he’d been crying. He tried to pretend he hadn’t but he was really upset. So I asked him what was wrong. He said he was just sick of the things people said about him. He was desperate to try to lose weight, but every time he heard the latest joke about him going the rounds it just made him want to give up. 

I told him that it wasn’t right, and he should say something. ‘No!’ he said, ‘I can’t! It’ll make it even worse!’

‘Then I will’ I said. And the look he gave me then - it was like he was really scared. ‘Please don’t!’ 

‘But Hamid,’ I said, ‘this isn’t right. You don’t have to put up with this kind of treatment.’

‘Please!’ he said, and he was almost begging me. ‘They’ll all think I want to be treated differently. I don’t - I just want to be one of the team!’  

He made me promise I wouldn’t speak up for him. But I don’t know if that’s right. I don’t know what to do. 

We treat everyone at work with courtesy, dignity, and respect.
We never behave in a way that could be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting.

‘So you are accusing your manager of bullying you?’


‘Because he shouted at you.’


‘And you felt humiliated.’

‘Yes.  It was in front of others. There were witnesses.’

‘Why was he shouting? Was it because you’d arrived to work late?’

‘It was only 30 minutes.’

‘And had you arrived late before?’

‘It’s the buses. You can’t always rely on them.’

“Had he warned you before?’


‘The record shows that he had. Five times.’


‘So, do you still think your manager treated you unfairly?’

‘Um …’

What do you think?

Okay, I admit I’m new to this – but I don’t think it’s right.

No doubt about it, we’ve got some difficult people to look after here. Really damaged. 

But Tom says, ‘Kid, forget all that “damaged” crap. You can’t trust them.’

‘These people are violent criminals. Make no mistake, they’re evil. You give them one inch, they’ll stick a foot long knife into you. 

‘This job is about showing them who’s boss. In case you’re under any illusions, that’s us, kid. And your job? You just do whatever it takes to make sure they understand that.’

But the things I’ve seen …  Bullying. Violence. Officers shouldn’t behave like that. No one should.

But if I were to try to report this, they’d close ranks, say I’m just some leftie extremist. 

And anyway, who would listen?

What should I do? 

Maybe there’s no point. 

Maybe I should just get another job.

What do you think?

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