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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
How to complain about your boss
David Brent from BBC Two's The Office
A bullying boss can make life a misery
Making a complaint about your boss is dangerous territory. An ill-founded complaint could be career suicide.

However, if your manager is behaving inappropriately then their actions must be stopped and there are plenty of people who can help.

Inappropriate behaviour has many definitions. It can be sexual, such as touching, or take the form of bullying and harassment.

First of all decide whether the behaviour is definitely inappropriate. Are you being singled out for barbed comments, unnecessary levels of criticism or unwanted sexual attention?

Confront your boss in a polite and calm manner. Ask them to stop behaving that way and explain how it makes you feel. Don't get into an argument and don't be aggressive.

Taking action

If it doesn't stop, then talk discreetly to good friends among your colleagues to see if they have suffered from the same type of attention, as you may not be alone.

Take action
Keep written details of events
Find out if colleagues are suffering
Talk to your manager's boss
Contact your union rep

Keep a detailed note of every incident. What your boss said or did, the date, the time and the circumstances leading up to the incident. Make contact with your union representative, if you have one, or seek external legal advice.

Generally speaking, the next step is to inform the person who is immediately senior to the manager who is behaving inappropriately. Take your notes with you to back up your claims. If you have the support of witnesses, ask them if you can name them in the meeting.

However, if even this fails to stop the problem you may have to make a formal complaint using your company's grievance procedure. Details will be in your contract of employment.

If this is the route you choose, ensure you never attend a meeting with the subject of your complaint unless your union representative or a friend is there to act as your witness.


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