Mar 01 2018
Bullying in the workplace - what to look out for and what to do

Bullying only happens at school, right? Research conducted by TUC says otherwise, as it was discovered that nearly a third of people are bullied in their workplace. Their research also showed that 36% people who report being bullied at work leave their job because of it.

What is bullying?

Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. It may be by an individual against an individual (perhaps by someone in a position of authority such as a manager or supervisor), or even involve groups of people. The harassment and bullying may also be obvious or it may be insidious, but whatever form it takes it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.

How to deal with bullying

If you are being bullied in the workplace it can be difficult to know how to approach it and find a solution. Here are a few ways to help you address workplace bullying.

1) If you feel comfortable, approach the person who is bullying you and explain to them how they are making you feel. This will give them time to reflect on how their behaviour is affecting you - they may not be aware of their actions. 

2) Speak with your manager or HR team. Explain the situation to them and how you are being made to feel. They will ensure that this is dealt with appropriately, professionally, and confidentially.

3) If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with someone in your workplace, there are several organisations such as the National Bullying Helpline who can provide you with support. They run a voluntary helpline between 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and also have lots of information on their website including ways to address bullying.

How to recognise if your colleague is being bullied

Stepping in when a colleague is being bullied isn’t easy, but it can have a huge effect on a person’s mental and physical health and leads to absenteeism. Making yourself aware of the signs of bullying will allow you to help

As outlined by BullyingUK, these are just some of the signs you might recognise in a colleague that is being bullied:

  • Being constantly criticised, having duties and responsibility taken away without good reason
  • Shouting, aggressive behaviour or threats
  • Being put down or made to feel like the butt of the jokes
  • Being persistently picked on in front of others or in private
  • Being constantly ignored, victimised and excluded regularly
  • Constantly mocking and attacking members of staff
  • Spreading malicious rumours about members of staff
  • Misuse of power or position to make someone feel uncomfortable or victimised
  • Making threats about job security without any basis or substance
  • Blocking promotion or progress within the workplace

If you notice any of these signs, then talk to your HR department for advice. Being aware and taking action could transform the life of your colleague, and greatly improve their working day.

If you want to know more about bullying in the workplace, take a look at our newest course Anti-bullying and anti-harassment in the workplace.

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