October 5, 2021
Bullying is defined as repeated behaviors that harm another person. For example, if you feel humiliated, intimidated, or verbally abused in your workplace, you may be a victim of bullying. There are cases where abusers not only mess with the emotions of their coworkers but also with their work. Bullies can be employees of equal rank or bosses and supervisors.
Statistics from the Workplace Bullying Institute show that 60 million Americans are affected by abusive behavior in the workplace, and 60% of the victims are women. Victims of bullying experience stress, anxiety, and poor job performance, all of which contribute to increased depression. Certain statistics indicate that 40% of victims of bullying can suffer consequences for both their physical and mental health.
What can you do to deal with workplace bullying?
It is imperative to start with an honest self-assessment. For example, are you performing at work as you should, or are you receiving fair criticism (although this could be unkindly said or written)? Also, pay attention to the bully and how he interacts with others. Are you the only target, or does this person display unpleasant and abusive behavior towards others as well?
If you have reason to believe that you are a victim of bullying, the next step is to keep a detailed record of the incidents that affect you. After this, try to be direct with your harasser and let him know that his behavior is hurting you and your productivity. If this does not work and the bullying continues, you should approach a manager or the human resources department with concrete and factual examples. Be sure to explain how the harassment is affecting you and the company.
Is workplace bullying illegal?
Unfortunately, bullying is not illegal. However, there is one crucial exception to consider. If you have an indication that you are being harassed because of a protected characteristic such as race, gender, disability, or age, you may be able to file a discrimination claim against your harasser and the company if they do not act on it.