At MakLoc, we want all of our employees to feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings. We value happy, healthy employees and want to ensure that topics are addressed as required.
Bullies at Work: What to Know, What You Can Do
When you hear the term bullies, chances are you may think of children in the schoolyard.
What is workplace bullying?
Workplace bullying is a repeated pattern of negative behavior aimed at a specific person or group—the bully’s target. Although it can include physical abuse or the threat of abuse, workplace bullying usually causes psychological rather than physical harm. Because workplace bullying is often psychological, it can be hard to recognize. The most harmful forms of bullying are usually subtle rather than direct, and verbal rather than physical.
Workplace bullying often involves one or more of the following:
- rudeness and hostility that disrespects the target
- threats and intimidation, including the abuse of power
- deliberate acts that interfere with the target’s work
- spreading rumours and gossip
- making offensive jokes or comments, verbally or in writing
- blaming, scolding, criticizing and belittling
- intimidating by standing too close or making inappropriate gestures
- making unreasonable demands, constantly changing guidelines, setting impossible deadlines and interfering with work
- discounting achievements and stealing credit for ideas or work
- disciplining or threatening job loss without reason
- using offensive language or yelling and screaming
Bullying is not
- enforcing workplace policies and procedures
- evaluating or measuring performance
- providing constructive feedback
- denying training or leave requests with good reason
- discussing disciplinary action in private
- dismissing, suspending, demoting or reprimanding with just cause
Who are the bullies? Bullies can be managers, supervisors, co-workers, or clients.
What are the effects of workplace bullying?
Physical effects of bullying include:
- losing sleep or sleeping too much
- eating too much or too little
- symptoms like stomach pains or headaches
- increase use of alcohol or drugs
Psychological effects of bullying include:
- shock, anger, frustration, feeling helpless and vulnerable
- loss of focus, confidence, morale and productivity
- family tension and stress
- panic or anxiety, especially about going to work
- clinical depression or suicidal thoughts
How can you tell if you’re a target?
If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be the target of bullying behaviour:
- Would most reasonable people consider the behaviour unacceptable?
- Are you spending a lot of time defending your actions and seeking support from your co-workers? (Bullied employees spend between 10 and 52% of their time on this kind of defensive activity.)
What can you do if you’re being bullied?
- Keep a factual journal of events. Record the date, time, witnesses, what happened (in as much detail as possible) and the outcome. Record the number and frequency of events to establish a pattern of bullying
- Talk with your supervisor. If your supervisor is the bully, talk with Human Resources.
- You may at any time contact Human Resources. Present your concerns in a professional, factual way. Bring your record of the bullying with you, including the names of any witnesses.