How to deal with bullying in the workplace and what actions to take

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This week is Anti-Bullying Week (12th – 16th November) and the chosen theme is ‘Choose Respect’. Yesterday, 13th November, was also World Kindness Day, quite fitting we thought!

When we think of bullying, most of us think back to playground days at school. However, in the 21st century, bullying has evolved into something much more than that.  

Unfortunately, in some cases, bullying carries well on into adulthood; nearly a third of people in the world claim to have been bullied at work, whether this is related to discrimination, harassment or intimidation. Bullying can also be the cause of many other issues that can affect you both inside and outside of work, such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Bullying in the work environment is an extremely sensitive subject and can be a difficult thing to approach, especially when considering respect. To an outsider, it is sometimes hard to even detect when bullying is taking place, and the acknowledgement that there is a fine-line between bullying and forceful management.

Everyone will deal with bullying differently and be able to manage their emotions in different ways, but if you feel like you are a victim of workplace bullying, here are a few ways to assess the situation and attempt to sort it:

  • Keep a diary of every incident that happens 

A written note of what was said and when, would be a massive help when reporting the situation and will show the frequency and pattern of incidents. It would also be strong evidence of the bullying you’re experiencing and will make it challenging when the bully is confronted. 

  • Talk to the person bullying you yourself, before taking it further

As much as it may feel scary to confront the bully, the situation may be solvable between just the two of you. In many cases, people don’t realise what they are doing/saying and how it is coming across. Be calm and polite and explain how they are making you feel. Let them know that you are coming to them first to try to resolve the matter before taking it further.

  •  Understand what will happen if you report the behaviour

If talking to them doesn’t help, then you need to take it further. It is a huge step forward reporting a co-worker of bullying or even accusing them, so it’s completely understandable to feel nervous or anxious about telling someone about the situation you are in. Firstly, see if you can find your official bullying policy – this should be somewhere in your intranet site, and should give you an idea of who to talk to, the processes you should follow and the consequences of what could follow after reporting the issue.

Talking to your Manager would normally be your second port of call; clearly outline what’s been going on and how it’s affecting you. They may then point to you in the direction of your HR Department who will advise you on what can happen next.

Bullying in the workplace can be a massive issue in whatever company you work in, but there is always a way to get the problem solved. If you ever feel as though you are being bullied, make sure you find the right support whether that’s inside or outside the workplace. Mental health is a huge issue within the workplace currently, so if this is affecting you seriously, say something and never suffer in silence.

 

Have you done anything to support Anti-Bullying Week this year?

Our Education team showed their support with their Anti-Bullying Certificate from the Anti-Bullying Alliance www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk

Yasmin Wagland

Apprentice - Education  
Specialisms: Education
Tel: 01622 236603
 
Most recent blog post: How to deal with bullying in the workplace and what actions to take

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