Are You A Workplace Bully or Victim?

Some adults went throughout their young lives being in fear of going to school. They were not intimidated by the pressures of the teachers or the abundance of work, they were in fear of the school bullies. They are so eager to get out into the workplace and begin their normal lives as adults. Years later in their career, they are overcome by the same feelings of anxiety and fear that they felt when they were in grammar school.  Then their worst fears are confirmed, the bullies are not just in school, they are in the workplace.

Workplace bullying is all too real in today’s society. Workplace bullying is defined as a pattern of behavior that harms, intimidates, undermines, offends, degrades or humiliates an employee. This type behavior can typically be done in front of other employees, clients or customers. This can lead to serious health problems and safety issues. This can cause the victim to feel defenseless, and lead to a hostile work environment. Workplace bullying can also cause them to suffer from physical and mental health problems that can last for years.

Examples of Types of Bullying

  • Being sworn at, shouted at or humiliated
  • Unwarranted or invalid criticism
  • Exclusion or social isolation
  • Unjustified blame
  • Being treated differently from others in your workplace
  • Excessive monitoring, micro-managing or being given unrealistic deadlines

Workplace bullying can be initiated by supervisors, colleagues, contract workers, or other influential representatives working alongside the company. Workplace bullying can lead to other things such as violence in the workplace or causing the victim to harm themselves or someone else to stop the bullying.

Effects Of Workplace Bullying

  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Sleep and digestive issues
  • Physical and mental health problems
  • Cause stress in the home
  • Tardiness and absence from work
  • Increased depression or self-blame
  • High stress environment causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What Can Employers Do?

Employers must get involved to stop the workplace bullying from occurring and possibly minimizing the effects to the victim. Employers must first acknowledge that there is a problem and immediately find solutions to solve the issues to prevent future workplace bullying. If the supervisor or employer is aware of bullying and turns a blind eye, that is giving the impression that they accept and tolerate that behavior in the workplace. No employer should want to create a hostile work environment where their employees are subject to mistreatment and bullying and they do not take action to stop it. Victims should be made aware that the employer has resources to help them and reporting the incident will be handled through the proper channels with discretion. Victims of workplace bullying should not fear retaliation or loss of employment for reporting the matter. Workplace bullying is less likely to occur when it is understood that the company has a zero tolerance policy for this type of degrading behavior.

Are you a workplace bully or victim? If so, seek help immediately.

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11 thoughts on “Are You A Workplace Bully or Victim?

  1. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I have been bullied for years and can not wait for New Jersey to have a law against bullying.

    1. Cathy I am so sorry that you had to endure bullying at your job. This is a problem that does not get the attention that it needs. Sometimes the person being bullied is not aware of what is going on and the person doing the bullying may not be aware of the effects of their unjustified behavior. I hope this article helps someone or makes the aggressor think twice before they decide to demean someone. Did you ever report the bullying? How did your company handle it?

      1. I did notify the bosses but it appears that they did not want to hear it or just excused the behavior because it is a manager and her family member mostly.

      2. That is the worst kind of situation to be in. Working for family members can be a tough ordeal because they will always take the side of their family members over the staff. I hope things eventually worked out for the better.

  2. It is sad in this day and age that harassment (bullying) is deemed acceptable in some circumstances, adult or child it is NOT. Luckily in the Province of Ontario, the employer and other employee are legally bound to address harassment in the workplace and it will not be a day too soon, if a similar policy is implemented in schools and other organisations. given the legal definition of harassment which is “the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands” and the fact that the person deemed to be harassing should know that their behaviour is likely to cause distress to another, you MUST inform the person you feel is harassing, otherwise however it is played there are several “excuses” that will be presented to try and justify their actions, once they have been made aware the onus is on them.

    Bullies beware, harassment can be reported by anybody, not just the person directly affected.

    The steps of harassment are clear;
    1. Keep a concise written record, including dates and times.of everything
    2. Try and inform the person “harassing” you how you feel
    3. Give them the opportunity to adjust their behaviour
    4. There should be an IMMEDIATE cease and desist
    5. if it continues, report it to your line manager
    6. Hopefully you won’t need to, but take legal action if necessary.

    Let us all take the necessary steps to stamp out bullying

    1. Thank you for the comment Andy! I really appreciate you providing the measures that should be taken to stop the harassment. Sometimes the aggressor does not know that they are harassing an individual because they are not made aware of it and because it goes unreported. I am glad that Ontario has taken steps to hold the company and the person responsible for the harassment accountable for their actions. Bullying in the workplace should have its own legal ramifications if the situation does not cease or is not addressed by the company. It is a sad fact that people have to go through life being harassed as kids as well as adults.

  3. I endured a bullying situation by a supervisor for 2.5 years and finally quit. I could not take the abuse anymore. This supervisor’s superiors are well aware of her behavior, but have chosen to ignore it. I quit without another position,which may not have been the best thing to do, but it was the right thing.
    These “at will” employment laws need to be amended. It’s really terrible to be in a situation like this with no where/no one to turn to.

  4. I worked for a bully for many years, examples include throwing file folders at my head, slamming doors in my face, silent treatment for day on end followed by being elated to see me (manic??), screaming at me for a minor mistake, telling me a major error was not a problem at all because I was his “favorite employee”, assigning projects to another team member then berating me for not knowing the status when he forgot who he assigned the project to, I could go on. Complaints lodged against his insane behavior were “investigated” then promptly ignored. When I was let go I consulted an employment attorney who advised me that top executives are “often temperamental” and that by lodging complaints about his behavior I had likely caused my own termination. So, I’d be awfully careful complaining too much about how you are treated. Unless you work for a union.

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