Bullying is a term defined as utilizing “force, threat, or coercion to impose domination over others”. Sadly, throughout the years we have seen this unfold in our school systems, associated with elementary, middle and high school aged children. However, bullying is now not just being observed with school aged children. Workplace bullying is on the rise and becoming a term entering the workplace. Workplace bullying is described as behavior that intimidates, isolates or undermines employee reputation or job performance. Regardless of how the term is defined within the workplace, it is an situation that surely will cause stress amongst your staff, loss of productivity and an unsettled work environment. According to a nationwide poll by Employment Law Alliance, 45 percent of American workers say they’ve experienced workplace abuse.
Here are some tips for dealing with “Workplace Bullying” and stopping it in its tracks.
As Human Resource professionals, you need to make sure your employees know and understand that bullying will not be tolerated and there is an “open door policy” in place, should any complaints need to be filed. Once a complaint is filed, it is important to that you evaluate the situation. Is this simply a misunderstanding between two co-workers? Is a personality clash to blame? Does the individual being accused have any other “red flags” in their file that have been documented? Per an article on USNEWS.Com, workplace bullying uses words like “systematic, hostile, threatening, abusive, humiliating, intimidating, and sabotage…”. Therefore, as HR professionals, you need to take a step back and truly evaluate whether this individual is simply unpleasant, or if there is an intentional and systematic course of action taking place here against an employee.
Both Human Resource professionals, and employees should make sure everything is documented. Write down specifics, including date, time, place, words exchanged, witnesses. Employees- make sure when you go to management or human resources, you provide them with these specifics that have been documented, it will only help you in building your case.
If as an employee, you feel as though you have been being bullied at work, it is important that you remember to stay calm during any situation where you feel you are being verbally attacked or intimidated. Do not fuel any fire. Simply walk away, or tell the individual that you do not appreciate the tone they are using with you. Always keep in mind that it is important your workplace remains a professional environment, and therefore you want to avoid any unprofessional behavior. Make sure you go to management or human resources before the situation escalates.
If you are a victim of workplace bullying, please remember, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this is a situation that is being more commonly seen within the work environment.
You can obtain additional information on workplace bullying by visiting www.workplacebullying.org.