Supporting employees - Handling bullying and discrimination

Supporting employees

As an employer or manager, you should support any employees who are involved in a bullying or discrimination complaint.

Telling people about support available

You should tell the employee who made the complaint about any support that's available.

Anyone who's witnessed bullying or discrimination, or been accused of it, may also need similar support.

Depending on what's available at your work, this might include:

  • counselling or mental health support through an employee assistance programme (EAP)
  • someone who's been trained to advise people who are considering making a bullying or discrimination complaint
  • staff support networks
  • trade union or employee representatives who can offer advice
  • specialist external organisations and charities that provide bullying and discrimination support

Specialist organisations include:

Be aware of sensitivities

Keep in mind that it can be hard for someone to speak up about bullying or discrimination, especially if:

  • they're upset about what they've experienced or witnessed
  • it's been happening for a long time
  • it's affecting their mental health
  • they're worried they might be treated unfairly if they make a complaint

Mental health and wellbeing

It's likely to be stressful and distressing for someone to:

  • experience bullying or discrimination
  • witness someone else being bullied or discriminated against
  • be accused of bullying or discrimination

You should look out for your employees' wellbeing and offer them support while the complaint is being handled and afterwards. This can prevent:

  • mental health issues arising
  • existing mental health issues getting worse

Find out more about supporting mental health at work

Contact the Acas helpline

For more help with supporting employees during a complaint, you can contact the Acas helpline.

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