Bullying at Work

BT’s definition of harassment is:

Conduct and behaviour which the receiver perceives to be offensive, hostile, unwanted and unreasonable, which is unacceptable by normal standards of business behaviour and is causing disadvantage to the receiver.

There is not a single definition because harassment and bullying take many forms, occur on a variety of grounds and may be directed against an individual or group of individuals.

Harassment does not simply depend on the intention of the perpetrator, but rather, the impact of that behaviour on others.

What one individual may be able to accept may nevertheless cause distress to another. What is important is the perception and feelings of the injured person(s).

Individuals who maintain they are being harassed and bullied must:

Make it clear, if practicable, to the person causing the offence and/or to their line management that this behaviour is unacceptable and unwelcome. In many cases this may be enough to stop the harassment.

If the above action is not appropriate or effective or you need advice before acting then contact:

  • The CWU Harassment Helpline 24hours 7 days a week on 0800 107 1909 where members who feel unable to talk to anyone locally will be able to log their issues and, if they require it, to talk confidentially to a professional counsellor. 
  • Your local Union official for appropriate help and advice. 
  • BT Equality & Diversity Specialist via 0800 731 4747 (option 1) who can offer support and advice for BT employees. 

Do not be afraid to complain even if the person causing offence is your own line manager.


During a Call – If a call is abusive, racist, sexist, sectarian or demeaning BT does not expect a call handler to continue that call. Call handlers can use warning techniques provided in training or use the existing procedure laid down for referring the call to the manager.

In a face to face situation – When an incident occurs, people must make their own safety a priority. This may mean leaving the customer’s premises or the location where the incident is taking place. It is important that the location is left in a safe condition, but if physical violence is threatened then leave immediately. The individual involved in the call or incident must report it immediately and tell their manager what happened. The line manager may report it on behalf of the individual should that be appropriate. Managers will need to respond sensitively to people reporting these incidents.

Every incident must be reported straightaway to the BT Accident and Incident Reporting Group (AIRG)

0800 671345.

An incident number will be provided by the AIRG.

All Managers must ensure that incidents of violence are reported to the AIRG on 0800 671345

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