Bullying in the workplace is an unfortunate reality for many people, but it’s not something that should be accepted. Unfortunately, bullying is often ignored or even justified by employers because they don’t want to “rock the boat” or cause drama.
But this approach only allows the problem to fester and grow. Without intervention, victims can become stressed, depressed, and even suicidal. If you are being bullied at work or if you are witnessing someone else being bullied at work, speak up! Here are some ways to handle office bullying and abuse.
Know your legal rights for dealing with office bullies.
Whether you are a victim of workplace bullying or if you witness someone being bullied, your first step should always be to know your legal rights. Generally speaking, you can’t be retaliated against for reporting a workplace bullying incident.
If your company’s HR department isn’t being helpful, you may want to find an employment lawyer in Hamilton that specializes in bullying or discrimination. You may be able to get a job protection order or a restraining order to prevent your bully from ever harassing you again. You may even be able to bring a suit against your employer for neglecting employee welfare.
Remember, when it comes to workplace bullying, it’s not your fault. It doesn’t have to be your fault. And you don’t have to accept it. No one deserves to be bullied or targeted in the workplace.
And remember: You’re in control. You have to stand up for yourself and be the kind of leader that other people want to follow.
Recognize the signs of office bullying
The first step to finding a way to deal with bullying is to identify the signs of office bullying. Remember that the signs are often subtle, especially if they are aiming to emotionally manipulate and gaslight you.
Here are some of the signs of workplace bullying:
- They use sarcasm or jokes to belittle you.
- They constantly criticize you.
- They speak poorly of you to other people.
Workplace bullies can also try to get you reprimanded by management for things you didn’t do, such as (for example):
- Implying that you steal co-workers’ lunches.
- Suggesting that you’re “always” late for work due or take personal phone calls.
- Saying they saw you near recently malfunctioning office equipment.
Overall, office bullies either want to belittle you to make themselves feel superior or get you in trouble because they see you as a threat to their position. This can be a major roadblock to your career progress. Your first instinct might be to talk to your supervisor or HR department, but they might be unhelpful unless you have proof or they know for certain that your coworker is actually engaging in this behavior.
HR will help you if you are the victim of a grievous issue that can put the company in a bad light, such as workplace sexual harassment, but because workplace bullying is often an interpersonal coworker-on-coworker issue, they will often advise you to stay quiet and ignore it.
Always remember that HR’s primary responsibility is to look out for the company first, and not you.
Although workplace bullying isn’t always overt or obvious, you can always take steps to avoid being a victim. The main thing is to do your homework and take action quickly so you don’t experience any lasting trauma or enable a toxic environment at work.
Even if you’re a thick-skinned person and a co-worker’s bullying tactics don’t particularly bother you, just think who else they could be hurting. They could be someone vulnerable or someone who needs your support and encouragement to succeed.