Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Bullying at work

I’m 16 and recently got a new job. I feel like my manager is picking on me because of my mental health and me being vulnerable at work. Everyday she picks me out and shouts at me in front of everyone and it’s making me feel very low and anxious which isn’t helping with my mental state. She also felt the need to comment on how my mental health is affecting me at work this made me feel uncomfortable and I just wanted to quit and get really sick again like I did last year during school

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Getting a new job can be exciting and scary at the same time and it’s important you feel supported. When you start a job you should be told what you’ll be doing, what hours you’ll be working, what your pay will be and who to ask if there are any problems.

As a young worker, aged 24 or under, you might need extra support at the beginning of your employment and there are special employment protections if you’re 16-18. You have the right to be treated with respect, just like anyone else when they go to work. Being picked on and shouted at is a type of emotional abuse and if it’s happening at work it can be harassment or discrimination.

You shouldn’t be treated differently to other staff because of your age or because of a disability. You can decide whether or not you want to tell your employer about your disability or heath condition. If you share personal information with your manager they have a duty to keep it private and shouldn’t mention it in front of other team members.

No one should behave in a way that makes you feel anxious or upset and if work is having a negative effect on your mental health you can ask for support. Firstly, you should try to talk to your manager about how you’re feeling or talk to another manager if you find them hard to approach. You may need to follow the company process for making a complaint or reporting harassment or bullying at work. If you’re not sure or not confident about the steps to take you could speak to an ACAS helpline worker or you could talk to your union representative if you have one.

It’s also important to see your doctor if you’re worried about your mental health getting worse. They might want to monitor things for a short time to see if things improve while you’re taking steps to sort things out at work. Knowing that your doctor is aware of what’s happening and how it’s affecting you can sometimes help you to feel better and they can decide if you need extra support like time off work or a change in any mediation you’re taking.

It can be difficult to challenge someone who’s in authority. By telling someone else, they can help you stop it getting worse. You can talk to a trusted adult or a Childline counsellor about this or anything else that’s worrying you.

I hope this advice has helped.

Take care,


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