Bullying in the workplace
I wanted to write a piece on bullying because I think it happens a lot and I think it can play havoc with your state of mind. Aside from the obvious loss of motivation at work, it can also lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem issues. Victims of regular bullying often find it difficult to concentrate at work, making it hard for them to cope with daily tasks and continue working effectively.Bullying can also lead to a deterioration in health, mental illness, stress and depression, all of which can lead to extended periods of absence, which could have serious repercussions for an employer’s business. If not dealt with properly, bullying has the potential to cause serious damage to your career and your health.
What is workplace bullying?
Bullying can involve obvious arguments and rudeness, but it can also be more subtle. Excluding and ignoring people and their contribution, unacceptable criticisms and overloading people with work are other forms of bullying. These are much more subtle and can have detrimental effects.
What effect does it have?
Bullying can make working life miserable. You lose all faith in yourself, you can feel ill and depressed, and find it hard to motivate yourself to work.
Bullying isn't always caused by someone picking on the weak. Sometimes a person's strengths in the workplace can make the bully feel threatened, and that triggers their behaviour. This is often subtle but is prolonged over a period of time.
What can I do?
Find yourself an ally. Don’t be ashamed to tell people what’s going on. Bullying is serious, and you need to let people know what’s happening so that they can help you. By sharing your experiences you may discover that it’s happening to other people too.
Speak to someone about how you might deal with the problem informally. This person could be:
- An employee representative, such as a trade union official
- Someone in the firm's human resources department
- Your manager or supervisor
- A friend who works in a similar environment
The important point is not to suffer alone. Stay calm,stay professional, and gather evidence. Don't forget GET SUPPORT. Here are the details of some websites that may be able to help.
Remember bullying is persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour. Abuse of power or unfair penal sanctions makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable and this undermines their self confidence which may then cause them to suffer with stress.
Employers have a general duty to protect employees health and safety at workand failure to address a problem of bullying may contravene employment law.