Bullying in the Workplace

Like most of us, you probably thought that bullying finally ended when you finished school.  It’s no secret that children can be cruel but those same children can grow up to be cruel adults and the bullying continues to the work place.  Bullying at work is a real thing and it can do as much damage as it did back on the playground.

What is Work Place Bullying?

Bullying in the workplace consists of the repeated mistreatment of one or more persons by another.  The behavior is typically unprofessional, unreasonable and inappropriate for the workplace.  This type of behavior can be verbal abuse or behavior that is intimidating, humiliating or exclusionary. If a colleague or coworker gives you unreasonable or meaningless tasks or changing schedules to inconvenience one employee in particular.  It can also be not giving you the resources you need to do your job or sabotaging your efforts.

How Common is Workplace Bullying?

Despite the fact that we are all supposed to be adults in the workplace bullying is more common than you think.  Back in 2007 the Workplace Bullying Institute did a study and found that workplace bullying is four times more common than discriminatory harassment.  In addition to that the same study showed that more than 60% of employers simply ignored the problem.  In the world of litigation it is in the company’s best interest to address the issue.

How Does Bullying the Victim?

Just like back in the school days the victim of bullying can suffer from psychological and physical damage that can go on long after the bullying stopped.  Bullying at work can cause stress, anxiety, headaches, depression and anger.  It can put strain on not just your career but on your personal life.  In extreme cases bullying can lead to suicide.

What to do About It?

If you feel that you are being bullied in the workplace you can’t let the situation continue you need to speak to someone about it.  If your company has a grievance officer, occupational health officer, human resources officer or union official then you need to book an appointment with them.  Some workplaces  have counselling services where you can discuss the issue.  Some countries have already passed legislation dealing with bullying in the workplace however the US hasn’t yet.  While there are guidelines in place to protect you from harassment or discrimination bullying can be a lot more subtle.  Colleagues should treat each other civilly and work together professionally.