Bullying and Harassment in the Military

Bullying and Harassment in the Military. Everybody has a right to be treated with dignity and respect at work regardless of rank or grade. Unfortunately, this often does not happen. Statistics show that service personnel can be the subject of intimidating and hostile working environments.  This is not the same as a workplace where there is proactive management.  Such conduct must fall below an acceptable level and can include examples like humiliation, verbal abuse, name-calling or unfair criticism.  Your colleagues, or those in the chain of command, may try to justify such conduct and say it’s “friendly banter” but such acts could amount to discrimination or harassment.

Your Legal Protection

Our legal system protects people in the workplace in a number of ways from bullying and harassment.  The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was initially brought in to combat stalking.  However, it has been widened to cover situations in the workplace where somebody is the subject of hostile conduct by colleagues and/or management.  In order for a claim under this Act to be successful, you have to show there have been at least two incidents of conduct towards you designed to cause alarm or distress.  Such conduct must amount to a criminal offence for civil liability to attach to employers or those in control of your work.  Following a case called Majrowski v Guy’s and St Thomas Trust in 2006, the court decided that employers can now be liable for the harassment of one employee by another.

Issues Arising from Bullying and Harassment in the Military

Everybody in the workplace has a responsibility to set examples of their own behaviour and open discussions should be encouraged about any issues.  The MOD’s Joint Service Publication JSP 753 sets out procedures to be followed in the event a complaint is made about bullying and harassment.  There should be a swift investigation into the issues with a view to resolving any complaint as quickly as possible.  Any delays in the investigation or allegations of bias/failure to properly investigate could in itself give rise to challenge. All too often we see articles in the news about how service personnel have been treated very badly by colleagues or those in the chain of command which can lead to catastrophic consequences on a person’s health or career.  More examples of bullying and harassment are as follows:

  • Insulting comments
  • Actual assault either physical or sexual
  • Intimidation/threats

Your Compensation Claim

Injuries that can arise because of this conduct can involve actual bodily injury or mental trauma.  If you have experienced any sort of bullying or harassment in the workplace then you may be entitled to damages.  The County Court and High Court can award damages for your pain, suffering and impact on any hobbies or day to day activities.  You may also be entitled to compensation for any financial losses if you have had to take time off work, your progression has been affected or even if you have been forced to leave your career.

At Cohen Cramer, we are experienced in assessing the impact of any financial losses you may have which can include loss of earnings and pension rights, loss of allowances, promotion, housing allowances, fringe benefits (including the loss of free medical/dental care) and many other things.  We have access to leading experts who have long experience in preparing detailed evidence on these issues.

There are very strict time limits for making a claim in the County Court, High Court or Employment Tribunal.  It is very important to avoid delay as the right to any claim may be lost with the passage of time. We offer a truly “no win, no fee” service.  If you do not win your case, you don’t pay anything (subject to terms and conditions).

We will always deal with your enquiry in a sensitive and empathetic manner. If you require advice about this or any other injury you have suffered, you should call Diane Davison for an informal and no-obligation chat