Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying Defined

The workplace is simply a microcosm of society. And like everyplace else, you are subjected to a variety of people types and personalities. Thus, the workplace is not immune to bullies.

A bully is any person who uses superior strength or position to cause discomfort or harm to others; and in the workplace, a bully can be anyone – supervisor or coworker. If a person indulges in the following, they are a bully.

Workplace bullying is defined as:

• Repeated and unwanted actions by an individual or group intending to intimidate, harass, degrade, or offend

• Behaviors which create a risk to the health or safety of the employee(s)

• Abuse or misuse of power

 

Bullying is psychological violence.

Examples

Bullying occurs at all levels, from management to part-time employees.

 –  Unjust criticism           –  Unwarranted punishment       – Trivial fault finding
–  Belittling someone’s opinion, especially publicly           – Intimidation
–  Unpredictable, explosive outbursts                                   – Rude, abusive, and sexist language
–  Rumors, gossip and innuendos                                          – Targeted practical jokes
–  Pestering                – Spying                – Stalking                – Physical abuse
–  Constant criticism                              – Tampering with belongings or equipment
–  Heckling                – Yelling or using profanity                – Intentional isolation
–  Telling offensive jokes                – Taking credit for another’s ideas or successes
–  Undermining or impeding a person’s work                    – Intrusive contact outside of work

When subjected to these types of behaviors, you can feel helpless which may lead to depression and other physical and/or emotional maladies.

But you’re not helpless, and you’re not alone.

Take Action

First, you have to recognize that you are being bullied. No matter what anyone says,

Bullying is not part of the job.

The hardest part of your defense begins with identifying and acquiring proof that you are being bullied. Begin with these steps

 –  This bears repeating: Recognize that you are being bullied.
–  Realize that you are NOT the source of the problem.
–  Understand that bullying is about control and has nothing to do with your performance.

Your shield against abuse is taking mental control from your assailant. Now take action:

 –  Keep a diary detailing the nature of the bullying (e.g., dates, times, places, what was said or done and who was present).
–  Obtain and maintain copies of harassing/bullying paperwork.
–  Hold onto copies of documents that contradict the bully’s accusations against you (e.g., time sheets, audit reports, etc.).
–  Expect the bully to deny and perhaps misconstrue your accusations. Whenever possible, have a witness with you during any meetings with the bully.

Report the behavior to an appropriate person.

Thanks to your diligence and patience, you’ve acquired the evidence you need to support your bullying claim. And understand, this information and/or witnesses are vital, because without them, it is your word against your assailant’s claims of innocence. You must be prepared to prove your claims. Emotional accusations and unsubstantiated hearsay is NOT proof.

Before contacting upper management, contact the Union. We strongly recommend that you do NOT attempt to address workplace bullying without Union representation. If you have questions or need help in any way, seek out your shop steward or call the Union Hall at 706-863-7025. You can also contact Benyoel Morgan via email.


We don’t tolerate bullying in our workplace – from anyone.

If you’re bullying, stop it!
If you’re being bullied, let the Union know about it. Download the poster and pass the word.

Download the file