Bullying comes in a variety of forms and is something that should always be taken seriously. To some, the behavior may seem like harmless jokes but to the person being bullied it’s cruel, offensive, and often intimidating.
In many cases, the person being bullied becomes withdrawn and mentally disturbed. In fact, a link has been established between an increase in suicides and bullying.
It’s essential that all employers are aware of workplace bullying and have policies to identify it, manage issues, and prevent it from occurring.
Identifying Workplace Bullying
Bullying can come in a wide variety of forms, some of the most common are:
- Practical jokes that target known weaknesses
- Creating false deadlines and work-related issues
- Denying time off or toilet breaks
- Verbal threats and abuse
- Public humiliation
- Unfairly or harshly criticizing someone
It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive. In order to identify workplace bullying, you need to consider the work environment and what is deemed to be acceptable behavior. You’ll instantly be aware of where the potential is to behave outside these parameters. It’s also likely that a review of work practices will find bullying occurring.
As well as being vigilant for bullying you’ll need to instigate training sessions. These will ensure that all staff is aware of the expected behavior and what classes as bullying. It’s important that all staff are encouraged to report issues in confidence. This will help to ensure you know when problems are occurring.
As an individual, you should be mindful of requests being made to you that aren’t to others. This can be a sign that you are the victim of bullying. For example, being asked to do pointless tasks or additional duties without training and being ridiculed for the results.
Positive Action Against Bullying
Any employee that comes to the management with a bullying complaint must be taken seriously. That means documenting the issue and investigating it thoroughly. If there is any evidence that shows the bullying taking place you need to take action with the bullies, according to your established anti-bullying policy.
Remember, that an employee who is not taken seriously or who feels the matter is not resolved satisfactorily can go to specialist employment lawyers. They will assist in proving the bullying case and helping the employee to deal with the issue and move on. Rest assured that this path can be costly to your business, both financially and in the damage done to your reputation.
That’s why it’s essential that you have a bullying policy and take strong steps when bullying is detected. You’re not just improving the work environment for your employees, you’re also contributing to stopping bullying everywhere.
The more people that stand up against buying the easier it is for those who need support to get it.
If you are the employee being bullied then take action. Document all the incidents as they occur and save any physical evidence. If you feel able then confront the bully calmly with someone you trust acting as a witness. Report the matter to your bosses and supply copies of your evidence, keep the originals.
If that doesn’t resolve it then the employment lawyers mentioned above will help you resolve the issue.