Have you ever repeatedly experienced the following at work:
- Shaming in public
- Verbal abuse
- People leaving you out of conversations
- Managers giving you partial instructions or
- Having your work efforts sabotaged?
If you have, you’ve been bullied. Yet, none of the behaviors listed above are illegal.
According to a 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) survey, 19% of all US employees have been bullied. 61% of bullies are bosses, which correlates with the statistic that 65% of bullying victims are either fired or resign.
Bullying, left unchecked, decreases workplace safety, increases absenteeism, and has an impact on employee morale. It creates a psychological power imbalance between the person doing the bullying and their target(s). Once this imbalance is cemented, it’s virtually impossible to fix.
7 Action Steps to Stop a Bully
- Train employees to recognize bullying.
Everyone in your organization needs to know what it looks like and what to do about it. There are two excellent books on the subject I recommend to get you started – Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge and Back Off! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying @ Work.
- If you experience bullying, speak up right away.
Squash the behavior before it becomes a pattern. Let the individual know you feel bullied and why. Explain you will not be putting up this treatment.
- If it continues, document all incidents.
Record the date, time, what was said, who said it, and the witnesses that were there. If it occurs via email, be sure to save this correspondence on a jump drive or in your cloud account.
- Go to your manager or Human Resources.
If the bully is not your boss, outline what happened to you. If it is your manager, make an appointment with your HR professional. Ask if an investigation will occur and when you can expect to hear back from them.
- Remember, no consequence reinforces the bully’s position.
Often the perpetrator is a star employee or manager on the rise. Leadership may be fearful that the person will go to their competitor or may generally avoid conflict at all costs.
- Push to have your state legislators pass anti-bullying workplace legislation.
Currently, thirty states have introduced bills to make workplace bullying illegal. Unfortunately, Ohio is not one of them. Contact your State Legislators for action. In the meantime, join forces with the Healthy Workforce Bill Initiative.
- If all else fails, hire a lawyer.
An employment attorney can advise you if you have a case and the next steps in the process.
Let’s Work Together to Stop Workplace Bullying
I offer a company-wide training program on the 8 Effective Measurements to Stop Workplace Bullying. Please give me a call at 330-730-3524 or email me at [email protected] to discuss your company’s needs.