How To Deal With Bullying At Work
Workplace bullying is more common than what people may realise. Employees that are being bullied can suffer from stress, lose self-confidence and not do their job properly, not to mention how miserable it makes them.
What is bullying?
Bullying can be described in several ways – an abuse of power that undermines, embarrasses or hurts a person and also behaviour that can be offensive, insulting or intimidating. Some examples of bullying in the workplace could be having someone spreading malicious rumours about you, intimidating you physically, making threats about your job or using abusive language towards you.
What can you do?
This can be a tough one to deal with. Firstly you should talk about it. Don’t keep quiet about it, as this is probably what the bully wants you to do! Talk to as many work colleagues, family and friends about it so that they know what is going on. They can offer you a great level of support and may have some advice for you.
Don’t retaliate! As tempting as it may be, this only makes things worse and is a BAD idea!
If you think you are being bullied at work you could start by keeping a diary of all the incidents. Note down date and time and what occurred. If you have witnesses you can also ask them to record what happened. If you are suffering from stress, you should seek medical advice and keep a record of this also. You can then bring this to your employer’s attention. A good idea is to write a formal letter to your employer so you are clearly bringing the bullying to your employer’s attention and there is a permanent record of this if needed for future reference. Remember to keep a copy for your own records!
Your employer may not be aware of the situation you are in and you need to let them know. It is then your employer’s responsibility to sort the issues out. Hopefully your employer will sort things out successfully and professionally and you can go back to getting on with your usual work. It is up to your employer to provide a safe environment for you to work in and take action when required to keep it that way.
If you don’t have higher management to turn to you could try seeking out your union official and asking them for advice or else a health and safety officer where you work.
If your employer does nothing, you could then file a personal grievance against your employer for failing to provide a safe workplace.
If things do not turn out as you hoped and do not get resolved, they could in fact make the situation worse and you may have to seek legal advice to see where you stand and what you can do about your situation. Before you look to head down that track it might pay for you to think seriously about looking for employment elsewhere. Court cases can become stressful and you may be in for a battle so ask yourself first if it is worth it?
Unfortunately, leaving your job should not be something you are forced into. It should be the bully that is leaving. If you leave then the bully will probably find another target and the cycle will continue. So try leaving this as a last resort if you can.