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Are You A Workplace Bully or Victim?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Are You A Workplace Bully or Victim?

From a post by Gloria Lewis for "hrdaily community": 

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 behaviour.


Learn more about Barringtons Prevention of Workplace Bullying Training here. 

Blayne Webb, Director, Barringtons  

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