I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where we were intimidated by somebody, and we felt like we couldn’t say anything. Maybe it was your boss or even a peer, but either way, some circumstances prevented us from saying anything. The outcome of these situations can lead to bullying behavior in the workplace.
Although bullying might be common, it should never be acceptable. It is a behavior pattern, that is repeated over time. It is intended to harm an individual or group physically or mentally. Bullying can come in many different forms. One of the most common types of bullying is verbal abuse. Verbal abuse includes harassing jokes, accusations of incompetence, defamation of character, name-calling, profanity, and insults. Bullying is cruel words that hurt. People who are bullied suffer mental stress and also reduced productivity at work. Bullying is not right. If you see your colleagues or employees being bullied make certain you do all you can to stop it.
Workplace bullying is one of the most destructive forces in the world of business. Bullying can result in loss of morale, productivity, health care costs, and many other factors. Bullying in the workplace is a bigger problem than many people realize. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 40 percent of employees experience bullying, while 1 in 5 employees have seriously considered quitting because of bullying.
Workplace bullying can happen anywhere, from the office to the factory floor. Bullies may be high-ranking managers or lower-level employees. They may bully directly or may intimidate their victims by spreading rumors or spreading negative perceptions about victims. Intimidation may also take the form of verbal abuse, threats, sabotage, or physical violence. Bullying behavior may be tolerated or ignored, or it may spark retaliation, such as a work slowdown or protest. Bullying victims experience low job performance, high absenteeism, low morale, and frequent health problems. Bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide.
Some of the most common types of workplace bullying include:
- Name-calling is the most common type of bullying, and the most common form of name-calling is name-calling. It’s usually a derogatory term that is aimed toward a specific person.
- Laughing at or ridiculing an employee is often known as “mutual ridicule,” and it’s when two people treat each other like fools.
- Gossiping is when a person spreads rumors about another employee.
- Intentionally hurting an employee’s emotions can include making someone sad or angry on purpose, or intentionally shaming someone.
- Sexual harassment is when someone makes sexual advances toward another person. It can take the form of inappropriate touching, suggestive comments, or threats of harm.
- Physical threats. Physical threats are when a person makes threats to harm another person
Bullying, in some companies, is so bad that workers have committed suicide because of it. Victims of workplace bullying are often afraid to speak up because they’re afraid of retaliation. They’re afraid to lose their jobs and may even be scared of retaliation if they don’t. But employers are required to treat their employees fairly. If you’re being harassed, bullied, or discriminated against, you have the right to do something about it. Even if you’re afraid to “rock the boat,” you should not let being bullied continue. Employers are required to treat their employees fairly, and if they don’t, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. You can also reach out to your union and your state’s labor department, which both offer legal services. But here’s the thing: Even if you’re not sure whether what you’re experiencing is bullying, you should still speak up. Because sometimes, if you let it go on, it gets worse.
Here’s what you should be doing:
- Tell someone you trust. If you know of someone else being bullied, you should report it.
- Know your rights. If you’re being harassed, bullied, or discriminated against, your company has a legal obligation to treat employees fairly.
- Keep a journal of the bullying in the workplace. Document everything — dates, times, locations, what the person said, what they did.
- Get in touch with someone in HR in your company or contact a lawyer. If you’re being harassed, bullied, or discriminated against, you have the right to do something about it.
- Seek outside emotional support since internal emotional support will be hard to come by.
When employees bully, it can have negative repercussions, including the erosion of workplace morale, increased stress, a decline in productivity, and an increase in employee turnover. Bullying costs U.S. companies billions a year.
Here’s how you, as a manager, can take action against bullies in the workplace.
- Listen to Your Employees
The first step to tackling workplace bullying is listening to employees. Employees often don’t know what behaviors constitute bullying. You need to educate employees about what bullying is. Provide employees with information on what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace.
- Educate Your Employees
In the workplace, employees need protocols about what bullying is. Guidelines on acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace must be available
- Provide Solutions to the Problem
Once you’ve educated your employees, it’s often a good idea to provide them with solutions to address the problem. Have brainstorming sessions with your employees, where you as a group come up with solutions to address the problem.
- Take Action
Take action against the bullies. Using a workplace bully survey, ask employees if they think bullying is an issue, and whether they think it’s affecting productivity. Then, take action. Be persistent and don’t hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who bully employees.
- Monitor the Situation
After you’ve started to take action, be sure to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis. Keep an eye on any bullying symptoms.
Management and coworkers must work together to overcome workplace bullies — or risk the bullies’ constant harassment taking a toll on productivity. Even if you’re afraid to “rock the boat,” you should not let being bullied continue. Employers are required to treat their employees fairly, and if they don’t, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. You can also reach out to your union and your state’s labor department, which offers legal services.
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