FAQs: Bullying and Harassment Helpline

Is it free to call the Help Musicians Bullying and Harassment Helpline?

Yes, it is free to call the telephone number 0800 088 2045 (inside the UK)  You can also contact us using Live Chat

When is the service open?

The Bullying and Harassment Helpline telephone number can be accessed day and night 365 days a year.

What do people contact the Bullying and Harassment Helpline about?

People get in touch with the helpline to talk through any experience related to bullying or harassment, whether they are responsible for the situation or feel they are being bullied or harassed by someone else. It doesn’t have to be a situation which is happening now; we appreciate that the impact of bullying or harassment can be felt for a long time afterwards, so you can talk to us about something that happened in the past. Please be aware, however, that there can be time limits on taking action, if this is something you are considering.

Who will I be speaking to?

The advisor who answers your call will be an information specialist in the area of bullying and harassment. You may also be put through to a BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) accredited counsellor.

Who can use the Bullying and Harassment Helpline?

The Bullying and Harassment Helpline is available for anyone who works in the music industry. We can only help with a situation of bullying or harassment which relates to work; unfortunately, we can't help with bullying or harassment which happens between neighbours, for example, although we can try and signpost you to other sources of advice.

What is bullying and harassment?

We use the definition of bullying and harassment at work as stated by ACAS. Here is the relevant information from their website.

Bullying

Although there is no legal definition of bullying, it can be described as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either:

  • offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
  • an abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone

Bullying might:

  • be a regular pattern of behaviour or a one-off incident
  • happen face-to-face, on social media, in emails or calls
  • happen at work or in other work-related situations
  • not always be obvious or noticed by others

Examples of bullying at work could include:

  • spreading malicious rumours about someone
  • consistently putting someone down in meetings
  • deliberately giving someone a heavier workload than everyone else
  • excluding someone from team social events
  • someone consistently undermining their manager's authority
  • putting humiliating, offensive or threatening comments or photos on social media

Sometimes bullying might be classed as harassment, if it's related to certain 'protected characteristics' under discrimination law (Equality Act 2010).

Bullying that's not classed as harassment could still lead to other legal issues, for example if it contributes towards constructive dismissal.

Harassment

By law, harassment is when bullying or unwanted behaviour is related to any of the following (known as 'protected characteristics' under the Equality Act 2010):

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Pregnancy and maternity are different from the other protected characteristics, in how the law on harassment treats them.

As with bullying, the person being harassed might feel:

  • disrespected
  • frightened
  • humiliated
  • insulted
  • intimidated
  • threatened
  • undermined

For it to count as harassment, the unwanted behaviour must have either:

  • violated the person's dignity, whether it was intended or not
  • created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person, whether it was intended or not

Example

A group of people at work keep making offensive comments about a team member's age. This is making them feel humiliated and anxious about coming to work. This is likely to be harassment because of the team member's age.

The law on harassment also applies to:

  • a person being harassed because they are thought to have a certain protected characteristic when they do not
  • a person being harassed because they're linked to someone with a certain protected characteristic
  • a person who witnesses harassment, if what they've seen has violated their dignity or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive working environment for them

The law on harassment does not cover marriage and civil partnership.

What can I expect when I call the Bullying and Harassment Helpline?

In the first instance, we’ll talk through your situation and offer advice on how best to resolve it, pointing you towards services which may be helpful to you.

You will receive guidance and support in approaching a constructive conversation, if appropriate with the other party in order to resolve the issue. This may include preparation advice and coping strategies to use during the more challenging parts of the conversation.

In the event that the bullying or harassment situation continues, you can receive guidance and legal information appropriate to your employment status on the process of making a formal complaint, or guidance for freelancers on what options are available. At this point you might be put in contact with a third party for legal advice.

When I get in touch with the Bullying and Harassment Helpline, is what I discuss kept confidential?

Yes. We keep a record of the enquiries we receive on a database, which can only be seen by staff who are involved in providing the service. We appreciate that you may be concerned to disclose Information about a situation, either because you are responsible for the behaviour or feel there may be negative consequences if you talk about what’s happening, but you can talk to us in confidence.There’s no need to give us your name if you don’t want to, or any information you don’t feel comfortable sharing. However, we do need to let you know that there are situations where we may not be able to keep the information you give us confidential. This is where there might be a risk to your own health and safety, the health and safety of others or if you have been involved in a crime.

We will be compiling statistics about the service, but all data used will be completely anonymous and will only identify key themes for reporting purposes.

How often can I call to receive support?

There is no cap or limit to how many times you can get in touch with the Bullying and Harassment Helpline. 

Is there a timeframe for making a claim to an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal claim in most instances needs to be made within 3 months of the incident occurring. You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if you think someone has treated you unlawfully. Find more information and guidance on how to make a claim on the gov.uk website.

I’m the partner, friend or relative of someone working in music and I’d like to talk to someone. Can I call?

Of course, you can get in touch and support and advice through the Bullying and Harassment Helpline. 

Can I call from overseas? What are the costs?

Although the 0808 number is free to call in the UK, there may be costs associated with calling abroad. It’s best to check with your provider.

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