Tensions over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview have been mounting in the Good Morning Britain studio – and weather presenter Alex Beresford has finally had enough of Piers Morgan’s hot takes.
On Monday, Morgan dismissed Meghan’s comments about the suicidal feelings she experienced, with comments that have since been slammed by mental health charities.
Beresford and Morgan had a Twitter spat about the royals, but on Tuesday, it spilled over live on air, resulting in Morgan storming out of the studio.
Criticising Morgan’s “diabolical behaviour”, Beresford said: “I’m sorry but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen. Six-thirty to seven o’clock yesterday [on the show] was incredibly hard to watch. Incredibly hard to watch.”
Many on Twitter have praised Beresford for standing up to a “bully”, but Morgan has criticised the way the weather presenter aired his views. “I was annoyed, went for a little cool-down, and came back to finish the discussion,” he tweeted.
So, is there a right way to stand up for what you believe in at work?
Witnessing toxic views or bullying in the workplace – whether it’s directed at yourself or others – undermines people’s wellbeing and self-confidence, says Tristram Hooley, professor of Career Education at the University of Derby. It damages an organisation, too, which is why it’s important to call it out.
“The problem is, standing up [for yourself] can often be a lonely experience and leave individuals exposed,” he tells HuffPost UK. “If you feel brave enough to ‘go it alone’ and challenge someone to their face then you should be proud of yourself. But it is often better to work with your colleagues and the systems within your organisation to address these problems.”
Prof. Hooley recommends talking to colleagues to ask their experiences and perceptions of the situation, as well as checking if they’d be prepared to back you up if you make a complaint.
“Speak to line managers and the organisation’s HR department so you don’t have to face the [person] down directly,” he advises. “If there is a trade union in your workplace, it can also be useful to involve them.”
Unfortunately, workplace bullying is common. Research from the employment lawyers at Citation found almost two in five (37%) employees have been bullied or harassed at work at some point. Speaking out practices you disagree with can be the first step in changing the culture of an organisation. This might be vital if you’re taking anti-racism seriously, for example. But it won’t be easy.
“Some managers view dissenting voices as evidence of disengagement and see those members of their team as troublemakers,” says Gillian McAteer, head of employment law at Citation.
“However, often quite the opposite is true and people speak up when they see things they disagree with because they care and want to make things better. Successful businesses value these voices and the role they play in improving practices and highlighting important details which management can easily overlook.”
Every employee has the right to be treated with respect and dignity at all times, adds McAteer. Often, bullying or a toxic work culture is fuelled by someone more senior in the team than the victim, or those negatively impacted indirectly. That doesn’t mean it should go unchecked.
“Don’t shy away from difficult conversations,” says McAteer. “If an employee doesn’t agree with practices in the workplace, it’s important they speak up. And it’s the responsibility of the employer to act on any complaints, offer support and take the appropriate actions.”