Being bullied as a child was no fun, but when you experience workplace bullying as an adult, it is downright violating. Workplace bullying strips you of dignity and self-confidence. Bullying in the workplace cripples the work environment and the productivity rate. The action of workplace bullying is costly to companies through employee turnover, lower productivity, and potentially causing a lawsuit down the road.
Workplace bullying is just a step away from workplace harassment. According to the law, harassment or discrimination within the workplace is illegal. Workplace bullying is only unlawful when it crosses into sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, hostile work environment. But that line can be very difficult to know.
Even more difficult is knowing whether your situation of workplace bullying will hold up in the court of law.
Five Things To Do When You Experience Workplace Bullying
If you have experienced workplace bullying, figuring out what to do next can be challenging. We’ve provided a few examples of bullying in the workplace. You may be tempted to ignore the situation or to just leave without addressing the problem. Those are viable options, but a workplace bully should be stopped. If a professional opinion will help you to know how to proceed, consider contacting a workplace bullying lawyer.
Get perspective of the situation.
Take a few steps back from what is happening in your workplace. Is it really workplace bullying? What is workplace bullying? Approach a trusted and knowledgeable individual with whom to share your situation. Do not allow yourself to become isolated as you grapple with this difficulty. Reach out to your community, family, and friends for support. If you come to the conclusion that you are experiencing bullying in the workplace, then you need to map out a plan of action.
Confront the coworker.
This might be the most difficult thing to do, but it could be where your journey ends. Write the coworker that you’ve identified as your bully and ask if they have intentionally meant to make you feel bullied. Request that they respect your boundaries and intelligence. If your email has no effect on the coworker’s behavior toward you, the email is proof that you tried to resolve the issue on your own.
If you haven’t already, start to keep record of the negative interaction between yourself and your coworker. Collect and copy all written materials that may show even the slightest workplace bullying. Be sure to keep your copies in a secure, non-workplace location.
Report the workplace bullying.
Check your employee handbook for direction on how to report these types of situations within the company. Follow the company guidelines for making your complaint, and be sure to report to someone who is neutral and not your identified bully. If you have the opportunity to report your situation in person, do so, but follow up with a written report as well.
Sometimes your complaint has no effect and you are still experiencing workplace bullying. In that case, move on. This can mean leaving your job or it may mean contacting a lawyer. Naturally, the most important thing is that you do not stay in an unhealthy work environment that could ruin your health or your career. If you decide that you’d like to pursue justice, reach out to an employment attorney as soon as possible so every available option can be considered.
Bullying in the workplace is inappropriate, but it doesn’t need to be your reality. Therefore, stand up for your rights and stop workplace bullying for you and every coworker you know. No one should have to deal with workplace bullying.
If you find yourself in the stressful situation of workplace bullying and you’re not sure what to do next, contact an employment lawyer who will know how to navigate your situation and what your rights are under the law.