The issue of workplace bullying has grown in recent years – either because of an increase in harassment itself or because of the increased attention given to it has led people to be willing to report it more often.
A survey by Harvard Business Review reported that about half of workers polled in 2011 said they had been treated brutally at work at least once a week, while another found that 35% of employees say they feel bullied at work. More importantly, 16% of those who say they are bullied reported health issues and 17% quit their jobs as a direct result.
No one should ever have to suffer insults, demeanors or harassment in the course of their job, but it is a sad fact that even adult adults are capable of such meanness. If you are someone who feels intimidated at work, you probably feel trapped and don’t know how to deal with it. Do you face them? Are you reporting it to HR? Are you trying to find a new job to escape it? At Resume Target, we have a few tips that will hopefully help you live in a bully-free work environment.
What is workplace bullying?
First, it is important to know what constitutes “workplace bullying”. In practice, those who responded to CareerBuilder’s survey created a list of acts against them that they felt labeled bullying:
- False accused of errors
- Treated differently from other colleagues when it comes to the application of standards and policies
- Constant criticism
- Shouted in front of colleagues
- Depreciated work in meetings
- Gossip behind their backs
- Credit for their work stolen / given to someone else
- Intentionally excluded from projects and meetings
- Chosen because of personal attributes
While these are the kinds of things you as a respondent consider bullying, unfortunately there are two important sources to consider before doing anything to deal with your bullies.
Workplace Bullying Laws
There are differences to the specific laws that exist in certain areas when it comes to workplace bullying. It is very important to know what legal rights you have and what you don’t have. Therefore, you should definitely research the laws that exist for your city, state or province and country.
Most existing laws will require a business to have some sort of policy to deal with workplace bullying or harassment, but few of them will have anything more concrete than that. Additionally, some laws will state what, if any, are the legal remedies or compensation rights of an employee being bullied. Pay close attention to the wording, and if you have any friends or family who are experienced in legal matters, it would be helpful to get their advice.
Workplace Bullying Policy
Next, review the company’s anti-bullying policy. They can have what they define as bullying or harassment in writing and what they don’t. They can also list the proper procedures to follow when it comes to reporting bullying by both the employee and the company.
Make sure you get your own legitimate copy of the company policy in writing. Having an official document, or a copy of one, will be of great help to you.
Report Workplace Bullying
After you have acquired all the important knowledge and understand what your rights are in the face of bullying, you should prepare yourself before reporting your grievances to the company.
First and foremost, be sure to document each case of workplace bullying in as much detail as you can remember. If any of your coworkers have witnessed such incidents and are willing to give you a check, be sure to document them as well.
When you write down incidents of bullying, record them factually. So rather than writing “my boss totally yelled at me for no reason today!” write something like “October 12, 2013 at a staff meeting I made a suggestion for our summer initiative and was told my idea was ‘stupid'”.
Now that you are well prepared, there are several ways to deal with bullying.
Confront the bully yourself
One of the main reasons the bully constantly harasses you is because he thinks he can get away with it, either because he thinks you are going to let him or her, or because he thinks he won’t be punished even if you report him. In the case of the first situation, sometimes directly confronting the bully (or bullies) can resolve the issue.
CareerBuilder survey data shows that 49% of those who reported being bullied tried to do so. Of this group of people, 50% said the bullying had stopped, 38% said the bullying had continued, and 11% said the situation had worsened. If you are confronting them yourself, it is important to do so in a proper way.
First of all, be confident in your voice and body language: look them in the eye, stand straight in front of them, and speak in a firm tone. Try not to yell, fidget, or make exaggerated movements. When it comes to what you say, use ‘I’ messages and avoid making more accusatory statements about them. Instead, you need to state, in a factual way, what they did to you that you didn’t like and how that made you feel.
So, rather than saying “you are always mean to me” or “you always treat me unfairly,” recount some of the specific cases that you have already documented and say how it made you feel.
For example, say something like this: “Last Tuesday I was not invited to the meeting despite being involved in the same project, and it has happened more than once. I get frustrated when this happens because it prevents me from doing my job properly. ”
Report to business
If you choose not to try to deal with the bullying on your own, or if you have tried to and they continue to harass you, submit a report to the company. Company policy should tell you whether to report to your boss or to human resources. It is up to you to decide whether you submit the report in writing, such as an email, or whether you do so in person.
Whichever route you take, be sure to re-document the action taken: what they told you about how they were going to handle the situation or if they said anything. either, what action (if any) they have taken in response, or if they are actually taking action against you.
If the response from the person you reported to is unsatisfactory, you may need to report it to someone higher in the company with the same updated documentation.
Be aware, however, that there is a good chance that the company will not do anything to resolve your issues or may even be able to act against it. you. If this happens, your thorough and factual documentation of everything will help you a lot in the event of any resulting legal action.
Don’t blame yourself
This is the most important piece of advice for anyone who is bullied on the job. It is not your fault that someone at your job is harassing you. If you find that someone is bullying you at work, be sure to act quickly. Just trying to be in pain won’t work, and you owe it to yourself to either deal with the problem or extricate yourself from the situation if it cannot be resolved.
And remember that your job is only a part of your life. The last thing you should do is internalize her and let her influence the way you live the rest of your life. You will have friends and family who can hear you talk about your issues and give you advice and help you have fun and be happy.