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Dealing With Bullying at Work

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 30 Mar 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Bullying Bullies Work Apprentice Manager

Starting out in the workplace as an apprentice can be a challenging time and you need to feel as comfortable and confident as possible. If you find yourself facing bullying it can have a huge impact on the way you feel about yourself and your apprenticeship. Bullying is a form of discrimination and should never be tolerated and you have the right to feel secure and happy at work. Bullies are usually unhappy with their own lives and make themselves feel better by picking on someone else.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

Dealing with bullying is not something that anyone wants to face and you need to remember that it is not your fault. The last thing you should do is suffer in silence and hope that it goes away. Being bullied is not your fault and you have nothing to be ashamed about. If you do not feel confident enough yet to do anything official about the problem then confide in a friend, family member or colleague so you are not facing the situation alone.

Approach the Bullies

Picking on someone else makes bullies feel powerful and important. Although it may seem impossible to stand up to them, you need to show that their actions cannot hurt you. It can be a good idea to confront them in front of others as their bravado may take a beating, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that then take them aside. You may also decide that it would be easier to approach their friends or accomplices to placate the situation.

Keep a Diary

Bullying can often be difficult to prove as it is usually a verbal situation. In case you decide to take further action, it is a good idea to keep a diary about it. Note down all the dates and times, and exactly what happened and what was said. This will help you remember all the incidents and also can be used to explain the severity of the situation to your manager.

Report it

No one has the right to make you feel unhappy or scared while you are on your apprenticeship and discrimination is taken seriously in the workplace. Arrange a time to talk to your manager and have your diary with you and you may want to take a colleague along for support. Try not to be too emotional or accusatory but lay out exactly what has been happening, who the people are and what you want done about it.

At any stage of your career, whether as an apprentice or further down the line, bullying is not acceptable. As a new starter some people may feel that they can take advantage of you or assert their power but you need to stand up to them. Seek support from a friend or colleague and if you feel up to it, approach the bully directly. If not, keep a diary of the bullying and tell your manager what has been happening so that there is a formal account of the situation. Being bullied is not your fault and your company should take it seriously.

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My daughter has recently walked out of an apprenticeship because she was being picked on constantly for silly reasons how does she stand now money wise do they owe her her week in hand /holidays etc
None - 30-Mar-19 @ 2:40 PM
My son started an apprenticeship in jan.. so far he has learned nothing as he is just being used as a labourer. His boss complains if he doesn’t work Saturdays and some Sundays despite him working 8 hours a day mon to fri. He’s constantly being ridiculed at work by his boss and is referred to as the c**t by his boss. My son is just 18
Linabb - 29-Mar-19 @ 11:38 PM
My daughter is 19 and doing childcare apprenticeship she works 9 till 3 Monday to Friday and has been told she's not entitled to a break she's also told what she can and can't eat and has to eat her food with the children at lunch time, she's also had a colleague shake her on the shoulder accusing her of making promises to children about if they eat all there food and the parents will buy them presents which she never said! Feel like she's getting unfair treatment.
Naomi - 11-Mar-19 @ 9:26 PM
I'm 4 months into my coacbuilding engineering apprenticeship I love what Iam doing but I feel as though my mentor is bullying me. And i don't know what to do. He has no patience and when I make mistake he gets verbally abusive even when I don't do anything wrong he still has this aggressiveness about him. He only explains things once and when i don't remember he kicks off. When i ask for any advice about a job he just says effing get on with it I want it done. When I have done my task he just says your not up to speed. You need to work my speed.. I 've put up with him for this long but the other day he had me in years. He's 52 and I'm a 43 year old adult apprentice. I haven't spoke to my supervisor yet but he has a track record of this behaviour. He had me in tears the other day. It's really effecting me. Please advice
David - 29-Jan-19 @ 7:50 PM
My 17 year old daughter is doing a hair dressing apprenticeship. She was in tears tonight because her boss makes her feel inadequate. There is a two hour meeting this week where the manager is going to tell everyone just how terrible they are. My daughters in such a state. Surely this is a safeguarding issue as she is a minor and feels intimidated and losing her belief in herself. Please advise.
Dwg - 8-Jan-19 @ 7:34 PM
Sami - Your Question:
My partner is a paint sprayer apprentice he has his VRQ L3 and is doing his NVQ L3 as his apprenticeship(of which he has been doing for 3 years now and each year the employing company has change college provider and he has practically restarted his training each year from scratch therefore prolonging his completion). He is working as a fully qualified member of staff with no support regarding his training what so ever -no mentor & minimum to no contact from the training provider etc. His manager is expecting more and more work from him of which he is providing however his manager isn't happy that he's being proven wrong and is "bullying" him finding every which way to make his work life difficult to the extreme of him being suspended til further notice- for standing up for himself with regards to his efficiency and his attitude towards his work.Who can he speak to with regards to this issue as the company has no union for his to join for help and he doesn't know where to go for support??

Our Response:
You can see how the disciplinary action will work for your partner. This will allow him to give his side of the story. If your partner has been with his employer for three years, then he will have the option to apply for unfair dismissal. If this happens and if he is eligible, please see link here , which would involve taking the matter to a tribunal. On a separate note, if your partner is unhappy with the way his apprenticeship is run, he could have complained to his apprentice provider, or raised a previous grievance, please see link here. If your partner had been previously unhappy, he would have had to try to solve the problem or concern informally by talking to his manager. If he was still not satisfied, he could have raised a grievance, please see link here , or complained to his apprentice provider, please see link here. However, the matter has gone beyond this course now.
AnApprenticeship - 23-Jan-18 @ 12:34 PM
My partner is a paint sprayer apprentice he has his VRQ L3 and is doing his NVQ L3 as his apprenticeship(of which he has been doing for 3 years now and each year the employing company has change college provider and he has practically restarted his training each year from scratch therefore prolonging his completion). He is working as a fully qualified member of staff with no support regarding his training what so ever -no mentor & minimum to no contact from the training provider etc. His manager is expecting more and more work from him of which he is providing however his manager isn't happy that he's being proven wrong and is "bullying" him finding every which way to make his work life difficult to the extreme of him being suspended til further notice- for standing up for himself with regards to his efficiency and his attitude towards his work. Who can he speak to with regards to this issue as the company has no union for his to join for help and he doesn't know where to go for support??
Sami - 23-Jan-18 @ 10:40 AM
My partner is a paint sprayer apprentice he has his VRQ L3 and is doing his NVQ L3 as his apprenticeship(of which he has been doing for 3 years now and each year the employing company has change college provider and he has practically restarted his training each year from scratch therefore prolonging his completion). He is working as a fully qualified member of staff with no support regarding his training what so ever -no mentor & minimum to no contact from the training provider etc. His manager is expecting more and more work from him of which he is providing however his manager isn't happy that he's being proven wrong and is "bullying" him finding every which way to make his work life difficult to the extreme of him being suspended til further notice- for standing up for himself with regards to his efficiency and his attitude towards his work. Who can he speak to with regards to this issue as the company has no union for his to join for help and he doesn't know where to go for support??
Sami - 22-Jan-18 @ 7:37 PM
We have an expirenced sprayer at our work place that constantly with will use highly insulting words towards our level 2 apprentice, I witnessed this myself and had to intervene as could see the lad getting upset. What would be the correct approch at disserining this employee
None - 29-Dec-17 @ 7:36 PM
Spence - Your Question:
Hello. My 16 year old son has recently started an apprenticeship as a gas fitter with a local gas engineer. He also employs two other people, one of whom was his apprentice about 10 years ago. I am becoming increasingly concerned for my son, who regularly comes home upset with stories of what appear to be bullying from his employer. My son enjoys working with the former apprentice and enjoys the work, but from what I can gather is subject to regular verbal and sometimes unwanted physical abuse ("banter") from his boss. To be fair my son does stand up for himself and tells his boss to stop but it goes on regardless. He came home from work today in a terrible state. I don't know what I can do. I want to confront the man but I suspect it will only make the situation worse, or could even result in my sons' dismissal. Your advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. In the first instance your son would have to inform his apprenticeship provider and also talk to his employer directly regarding his actions. If your son is not satisfied with the response, he should make a formal grievance complaint in writing, making sure his apprenticeship provider is copied in, please also see link here .
AnApprenticeship - 19-Dec-17 @ 10:49 AM
Hello. My 16 year old son has recently started an apprenticeship as a gas fitter with a local gas engineer. He also employs two other people, one of whom was his apprentice about 10 years ago. I am becoming increasingly concerned for my son, who regularly comes home upset with stories of what appear to be bullying from his employer. My son enjoys working with the former apprentice and enjoys the work, but from what I can gather is subject to regular verbal and sometimes unwanted physical abuse ("banter") from his boss. To be fair my son does stand up for himself and tells his boss to stop but it goes on regardless. He came home from work today in a terrible state. I don't know what I can do. I want to confront the man but I suspect it will only make the situation worse, or could even result in my sons' dismissal. Your advice would be appreciated.
Spence - 18-Dec-17 @ 6:36 PM
My son is 19 and has been working as an electritions apprentice for a year and started college in September which he thoroughly enjoys. He is working incredibly long hours, and his boss ( only him in this small company), is rude , totally erratic and swears constantly with very unsavoury language at my son . My son has asked him not to speak to him this way , but says shouting is the only way things will get done! Said my son can leave but nobody else will treat him as good as his company! What planet is he on! Advice please !
Bubble gum - 11-Nov-17 @ 5:11 PM
Hi My employer is really iratic, she changes her mind then snaps if you can't read her mind to change it. She pays the absolute minimum and whilst laughing told a room full of staff that she barely pays me. She works me extreme hard and refuses days off. I've kept a log and the college have advised me to leave immediately so I'm gathering the last of the workevidence I need tomorrow morning then leaving. She's going to be really shocked because I kept my head down to complete the course before leaving. I'll have finished the course enough to do the last bits from home but I'm worried if I just walk out they'll try to insist I pay back the fee or press some kind of charge for not given notice. Is there anything I must do and could suffer from later if I walk out? Thanks :)
Lil - 29-Sep-17 @ 5:31 AM
Mumsy6 - Your Question:
My 17 year old son is doing an apprenticeship and is constantly being put down and belittled by the deputy manager. This person has known my son for years, as his son was a friend of my sons. This person also takes the mickey out of some of our family members to my son, including comments about disabilities, knowing we have family members with disabilities. This person thinks he is funny and loves an audience. Advice very much appreciated. My son an other staff members have mentioned issues to the manager, but nothing has been done.Thank you in advance ??

Our Response:
If your son has tried solving this issue informally by talking to his manager directly, but his manager has ignored this, he can complain in writing, please see link here. You can see a sample letter via the CAB link here .
AnApprenticeship - 7-Sep-17 @ 10:03 AM
My 17 year old son is doing an apprenticeship and is constantly being put down and belittled by the deputy manager. This person has known my son for years, as his son was a friend of my sons. This person also takes the mickey out of some of our family members to my son, including comments about disabilities, knowing we have family members with disabilities. This person thinks he is funny and loves an audience. Advice very much appreciated. My son an other staff members have mentioned issues to the manager, but nothing has been done. Thank you in advance ??
Mumsy6 - 6-Sep-17 @ 3:35 PM
Hello my 17yr old daughter is doing childcare on apprenticeship and today she has gone to work and been told she has been replaced. They lied saying they tried to call her but my daughter had no missed calls over the weekend. While working in childcare one of the staff girls was always rude with a dirty attitude towards my daughter and all the staff noticed this happening to her,and was ask to have a chat in the office about the situation and said she will have it sorted BUT IT NEVER DID. My daughter had had a few sick data off from work with the flu , sickness bug , and bad headaches and always told them she wasn't coming in, and some days she really didn't want to go in because she wasn't happy or never felt involved with the people she worked with.AND NOW it has put her OFF doing childcare altogether. IS THIS FAIR. And today she was told she was being replaced without no warning.
Jo - 31-May-17 @ 7:27 PM
My mate bas just had an operation which has meant he couldnt do his apprenticship for 8-10 weeks. Now he has gone back to his apprenticeship and he is not doing the job he was told he would be doing (window fitting) he is being made to do random jobs for his bosses mates ( painting) and jobs on his own property ( again painting) while his boss is not even helping. He is just doing his own thing. Surely this isnt what an apprenticship is? He joined the apprenticship a year ago and everything was fine until he had to go on sick. Surely this is not correct. What should he do? He has tried to get intouch with his manager that set up the apprenticship to as of yet no avail. Surely this is wrong. What can be done about this?
Mousey - 5-May-17 @ 9:59 AM
My son has been working as an apprentice at a garage since last August, he has a week at college every other month. While he has been at the garage the boss has been declared bankrupt and has made his son the manager of the business. Well the old boss still goes to the garage alot and from day one has always spoke to and shouted at my son regularly, my son comes home alot upset and angry because of this. Well this week my sons new boss is away so the old one is taking his place and all hes doing is shout at him and threaten him with losing his job, my son has phoned me on his dinner break very upset and angry, I managed to talk him in to staying at work instead of coming home. My son has put up with this for 8 months, even the other workers sometimes join in. His new boss knows what his dad is doing and sticks up for my son but as I said earlier he is away this week. I want to go down to the garage to have a word with him myself but my son doesn't want me to as it might make things worse. What can we do?
Cat - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:40 PM
Angrybird - Your Question:
Hi my son is coming to the end in an apprenticeship. He feels bullied by the manager and has felt so low he's just gone back to work after 4 weeks on the sick due to stress from which the manager has caused. He kept telling him he was useless and couldn't do the job which made him felt useless and depressed. He said his son could do a better job so we had a feeling he was trying to get his son in. On returning to work not only did they replace my sons position with his son but also another colleague. Which no wonder my son still training to do as now 2 people are doing same job. He now hasn't or a position and he's finding him all the dirty work like cleaning yards ect when he's a parts advisor for a motor company. Can he do this and does my son have rights.

Our Response:
 In the first instance, your son should really speak to his manager/or higher directly in order to try to resolve the issue informally and without complaint. However, if the bullying issue still continues, your son should raise a grievance, please see link here. If your son has cause to complain about the level of his apprenticeship and/or if his duties have changed, then he can complain via the link here.
AnApprenticeship - 12-Apr-17 @ 11:48 AM
Hi my son is coming to the end in an apprenticeship. He feels bullied by the managerand has felt so low he's just gone back to work after 4 weeks on the sick due to stress from which the manager has caused . He kept telling him he was useless and couldn't do the job which made him felt useless and depressed . He said his son could do a better job so we had a feeling he was trying to get his son in . On returning to work not only did they replace my sons position with his son but also another colleague. Which no wonder my son still training to do as now 2 people are doing same job . He now hasn't or a position and he's finding him all the dirty work like cleaning yards ect when he's a parts advisor for a motor company . Can he do this and does my son have rights .
Angrybird - 11-Apr-17 @ 5:22 PM
Hi My daughter has recently started an apprenticeship as a play worker in an after school club.She had been suffering with anxiety but has it under control and was getting on really well with everyone until she mentioned it to a co-worker. Now it appears, the manager is trying to push out and even though my daughter is trying desperately hard to do everything right, the manager has told her we will have to see how it goes.She told her she looks tired and pale all the time and complains she is not helping out and complains she sits with the children on the colouring table instead of doing other activities. My daughter has asked her to tell her there and then if there is something she is not doing right and for guidance etc.The children clearly love her but it doesn't seem to be enough. I am frustrated that she is being treated in this way - it is after all an apprenticeship - aren't the employers supposed to be training and guiding? She finishes her probation at the end of the week and it seems clear, she won't be kept on, is there anything she can do about this?
Annoyed - 28-Mar-17 @ 4:22 PM
my daughter who was 23 had done 8 months apprenticeship and then was told that she was not needed anymore she was also bullied throughout the process did complain but got no where
mother - 15-Nov-16 @ 9:17 AM
Arronb- Your Question:
I'm 18 years old, male and a month into my new apprenctship roofing. There's a colleague who doesn't show me what to do since day one. He complains that I stand around and when I ask to learn he says "tidy up" today, he asked me where a Stanley knife was that I hadn't had my hands on. I replied with "I don't know mate, sorry" he asked again in a nasty/ sarcastic manner and I said "I don't know" he replied with "don't talk to me like that. I'll throw you off the roof. " bare in mind I was sat directly on the ridges of the roof and he was slightly below me on scaffold. Should I tell my boss? He's already going to talk to him about the way he's treating another apprentice. Help!

Our Response:
Yes, if you have a grievance about an employer, in the first instance you should speak with your employer in order to seek a resolution, please see link here. I hope this helps.
AnApprenticeship - 5-Aug-16 @ 12:50 PM
I'm 18 years old, male and a month into my new apprenctship roofing. There's a colleague who doesn't show me what to do since day one. He complains that I stand around and when I ask to learn he says "tidy up" today, he asked me where a Stanley knife was that I hadn't had my hands on. I replied with "I don't know mate, sorry" he asked again in a nasty/ sarcastic manner and I said "I don't know" he replied with "don't talk to me like that. I'll throw you off the roof. " bare in mind I was sat directly on the ridges of the roof and he was slightly below me on scaffold. Should I tell my boss? He's already going to talk to him about the way he's treating another apprentice. Help!
Arronb - 4-Aug-16 @ 5:55 PM
Hi, I'm 19 and an apprentice and I feel as though a colleague is treating me quite nastily. She snaps at me if I make a mistake is always fairly rude. When I ask for help she often appears like I'm an inconvenience. It has made me very uncomfortable at work and am currently on antidepressants for different reasons although I don't feel this is helping. I don't want to leave my job and the rest of my colleagues are lovely. How do I deal with this ?? I'm being told I need to stand up and not let this colleague talk to me this way but I really don't want to make things worse. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Bee - 1-Jul-16 @ 3:59 PM
Faith - Your Question:
I'm a parent of a 17 year old who started an apprenticeship and has had problems with her 20 year old manager. The manager is favoured by the owners and they seem oblivious to the bullying which is going on. She ended up in hospital with suspected kidney failure due to an operation and the manager spread a rumour that this was alcohol and drugs related which seems to have made the owner want to get rid of her. Since then, she has been given a disciplinary for being off sick. How can I support her with this? She's a lovely hard working girl and this has been a horrendous experience for her.

Our Response:
I assume the length of absence has triggered this (you would have to check your daughter's contract to see what it specifies about the company's sickness policy). If this is the case then her employer must conduct a fair process and set a reasonable plan to ensure a fitness for work assessment. If your daughter thinks she is being treated unfairly, then she has the option to raise a grievance, please see ACAS link here. I hope this helps.
AnApprenticeship - 15-Jun-16 @ 2:06 PM
I'm a parent of a 17 year old who started an apprenticeship and has had problems with her 20 year old manager. The manager is favoured by the owners and they seem oblivious to the bullying which is going on. She ended up in hospital with suspected kidney failure due to an operation and the manager spread a rumour that this was alcohol and drugs related which seems to have made the owner want to get rid of her. Since then, she has been given a disciplinary for being off sick. How can I support her with this? She's a lovely hard working girl and this has been a horrendous experience for her.
Faith - 14-Jun-16 @ 7:48 PM
Sickandtired- Your Question:
I'm an apprentice at a nursery, no one will sit next to me in the staff room and no one will talk to me even though I make the effort to talk to everyone. I've been working here for 9 months and they have made the new apprentice more welcome and she doesn't not talk to anyone. All I do is try and all I do is get talked about or I'm made to clean, a parent even said to me "are you the cleaner, all I ever see you do is clean" I'm just sick and tired :(

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear that you are having an unpleasant time at work. If your team are being cold and standoffish in a deliberate way, then perhaps you should approach your employer and tell her/him how you feel and how it is having a negative impact upon both your self-confidence and your work. Your employer should listen to your complaint and help you try to resolve this issue. I know it is a very difficult thing to do, but it is the best and most effective approach. Your employer should not allow such unprofessionalism to continue.
AnApprenticeship - 10-Jun-16 @ 11:39 AM
I'm an apprentice at a nursery, no one will sit next to me in the staff room and no one will talk to me even though I make the effort to talk to everyone. I've been working here for 9 months and they have made the new apprentice more welcome and she doesn't not talk to anyone. All I do is try and all I do is get talked about or I'm made to clean, a parent even said to me "are you the cleaner, all I ever see you do is clean" I'm just sick and tired :(
Sickandtired - 9-Jun-16 @ 12:47 PM
Hi my girlfriend works at a nursery as an apprentice she has been there for just over a year the staff have been snidy and keep bullying her verbally between then so she has reported it to her management and she don't car she seems to just add her spoon to the pot my girlfriend take a push bike and 2 busses to get to work no matter what the Wether wich is 2hrs of travel each way to and from works 9 hrs then 2 hrs back home so 13 hrs in all so she is very dedicated to work and get her qualifications she really wants to finish this she crys at work on the phone to me it's that bad what can she do please
Dtur - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:06 PM
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