Workplace bullying is one of the most horrible ordeals you can experience in your life. It can be stressful, frustrating, and hurtful. It can also lead to poor work performance, anxiety, depression and, in extreme cases, suicidal ideations. No matter where you are employed, you have every right to attend your job and not be harassed or bullied. If you do feel that you are a victim of workplace bullying, it is crucial that you attempt to put a stop to it. Although at times you may feel powerless in doing so, there are steps you can take to put an end to the offending behaviour. Below are tips on how to put a stop to workplace bullying.
1. Ask him/her to stop
Sometimes workplace bullies are completely oblivious to the fact that their behaviour constitutes bullying. Other times these people need a reality check, someone to confront them and call them out on their behaviour for them to realize that what they are doing is wrong. Either way, your first step in stopping workplace bullying is asking the offender to stop.
The next time the person bullying you begins their offending behaviour, inform him/her that the behaviour that they exhibiting constitutes workplace bullying. Also state that if it continues beyond the current instance, you will be taking immediate action. This puts the bully on notice that you will no longer be victimized and there will be consequences for his/her actions. It also demonstrates that you tried to address the situation yourself before escalating it.
2. Contact human resources (HR)
You have tried to address the bullying behaviour yourself and it has gotten nowhere. The bullying continues to make you dread attending work everyday, is impacting your mental health, and negatively affecting your performance. If this sounds familiar, it is time to contact upper management and HR.
Before contacting the HR department, make note of all of the instances where you have been subjected to workplace bullying if you have not been keeping a continuous log. Include names (if more than one person is bullying you), dates, times, locations, and the offending behaviour. The HR department is obligated to respond to complaints of workplace bullying whether it be reprimands, transferring departments, suspensions, or dismissals.
3. Be persistent
So you have requested that the bully cease and desist their behaviour and you have contacted upper management and HR. While these are positive steps, sometimes your complaint goes by the wayside and no action is taken. The reasons for such an occurrence can be management or HR workload, a backlog in complaints, or either party hopes that you will just forget about your complaint and move forward. Regardless, of the reason, you need to keep your complaint in front of them and encourage follow-up.
After making your complaint, make it a habit to check in with HR at least weekly. Ask for updates, next steps, and if the department requires any information from you. This is also a good opportunity to update the HR representative of any additional bullying behaviour since your original complaint was filed.
4. Seek legal advice
Many complaints regarding workplace bullying are handled successfully within the company due to anti-bullying policies in addition to employment laws. However, just as many companies drop the ball and fail to take appropriate action to address the issue if any at all.
If you are not satisfied that the company you work for has done enough to address you being victimized by a workplace bully, you should consider hiring a lawyer. An employment lawyer is skilled and experienced. He/she will be able to represent your interests when dealing with the company. If you were forced to leave the organization because the bullying did not stop, a lawyer can file a lawsuit against all offending parties and potentially win you a settlement for compensation.