Bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour that can affect the victim’s mental health and physical well-being. Unfortunately, this act isn’t limited to only high schoolers at the playground. Bullying in the workplace is common, and it is not always easy to know when you are being bullied.
This can take many forms in the workplace, including verbal abuse, harassment, threats, or physical violence. Workplace bullies may be people who work with you or manage you at work. They may also be people outside your organization who have an impact on your work life.
It is important to know what constitutes bullying to take appropriate action if necessary.
What Is Considered Workplace Bullying?
This can be defined as hostile, intimidating, spiteful, or taunting behavior, or misusing one’s power in a way that undermines, ridicules, belittles, or harms the victim. According to the Health and Safety Executive, there should be an emphasis on this being a pattern of behavior occurring habitually or recurrent instead of isolated incidents.
The acts may interfere with the victim’s ability to complete their job (sabotage). As often the case with schoolyard bullies, this may start with one person picking on someone but may also recruit others into the bullying. This could be anyone from a boss, a co-worker, a merchant, or even a client.
What Should You Do If You Are Being Bullied At Work?
Standing up for yourself looks different in the workplace. Don’t retaliate in any way, as this may work against you, and HR dismisses it as both of you being wrong. Ideally, you should file a complaint with the human resources department, even though no evident laws are being broken. Bullying harms morale, efficiency, and productivity.
By definition, bullying is repeated behavior over time, so if you can, try and keep a diary or record of the events and instances. Make them specific with exact dates, where, words exchanged, and witnesses. Also, note the effect of these experiences on your mental state, productivity, etc.
If your workplace fails to resolve things internally, then you might have to take matters into your own hands with an attorney like Cornwalls law office, and these notes will help.
When Is It Legal To Sue?
Though there aren’t direct laws governing workplace bullying, inappropriate behavior may be covered by existing laws governing discrimination and harassment. Intimidation and other acts may be considered bullying when it starts to negatively affect one’s performance and cause a toxic working environment.
Repeated bullying based on physical appearance can be grounds for suing in a small claims court. However, bullying at work is often difficult to prove, and unless there’s sufficient, unquestionable evidence to support your case, employers frequently rationalize or dismiss any allegations made.
Bullying can take various forms, and here are some examples:
- Controlling supervision
- Being denied or obstructed from a promotion
- Continuous belittling and mockery in front of colleagues
- Early retirement under duress
- Exclusion from work-related activities like lunches or important emails, or conferences
- Disgrace as a result of a disability
- Unfounded, constant critique
- Targeted overworking and imposing absurd expectations
- Making baseless threats or remarks about job security.
Workplace bullying is a serious issue and can lead to major psychological damage. The victim should not feel alone and that there is no way out. Many resources are available, such as the National Workplace Bullying Prevention Center.
Ideally, companies should have policies in place to protect employees and outline what the grievance policy entails. That way, any issues that may arise can be resolved without involving the courts. However, if your complaint is dismissed, it’s your right to file an appeal and get disciplinary action against the perpetrator.