Bullying & Harassment – Case studies Case study 1: Sue has been working as a Research Assistant for the last 6 months. Recently a male colleague, who is a Senior Research Fellow in her Department, has been getting too close for comfort. When she is on her own in the lab with him, he tends to lean over her when she is working and occasionally has touched her arm and knee when they have been talking, in a way she finds invasive. Sue doesn’t want to say anything because she doesn’t want to lose her job. What should Sue do? What does she need to know? What support is available to her? Case study 2: Grace works with Lorraine in Finance. Their manager, Barbara, has recently taken on more work and is clearly finding the pressures hard to cope with. Lorraine as her Personal Assistant appears to be bearing the brunt of this. Grace has frequently overheard Barbara shouting at Lorraine in her office and is aware that Lorraine never seems to get the leave she requests. Grace is concerned that the situation is getting worse and she doesn’t know what to do. What should Grace do? What does she need to know? What support is available to her? Case study 3: Jo has brought in a temp Shelley to sort out the database in the Careers Office. This morning she came in to find that Shelley had inadvertently wiped the data which has taken Jo and her colleagues months to compile. Jo lost control and shouted at Shelley in the middle of the office, calling her ‘stupid and incompetent’. Shelley burst into tears and ran from the room. Later that day, Jo is called into her line-manager’s office and informed that Shelley has accused her of bullying, in relation to the morning’s events, and further has said that Jo has always been off-hand and aggressive with her. What should Jo do? What does she need to know? What support is available to her? Case study 4: Sybil manages a team of catering staff known for their lively sense of humour. Natalie, who happens to be a lesbian and the youngest member of the team has complained to Sybil that she is always the butt of everyone’s jokes; she is never taken seriously and always gets the worst jobs. Natalie says she is not sleeping well and dreads coming to work in the mornings. Sybil knows she needs to support Natalie but is worried about confronting her team with whom she often socialises after work. What should Sybil do? What does she need to know? What support is available to her?
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