Dealing With a Bully in the Workplace
Adult bullies are often hard to deal with. But as with all bullying it is not be tolerated. Bullying can be physical, mental or verbal abuse. Workplace bullying can be a hard problem to address because there are times when valid criticism of work may be confused with bullying. It can become an even bigger problem if the bully is a person who is in a position of some authority. There are laws that deal with the issue of harassment in the workplace but very few places have bullying laws in place to protect workers. Even without actual laws there are ways to get bullying in the workplace stopped.
The number of incidents, the amount of times incidents occur and the pattern of the incidents will all add up to prove that bullying is occurring. Keeping detailed records of these things is very important. These records should include the date, time, witnesses and exactly what was said. Also the result of the action or if any action occurred should be recorded. All e-mails, memos and notes should be copied and kept as proof of bullying. Be sure that these records are not kept anywhere that the bully may have access to.
Sometimes the direct approach is best. With a reliable witness, a supervisor or manager, directly approach the bully. Let them know in no uncertain terms that their behaviour is not going to be tolerated. Let them know that you are aware that they are trying to bully you and that it is not gong to work. Get the situation out in the open.
Discreetly approach other employees and find out if they are experiencing the same kinds of problems. It is better if more than one person is involved because it adds credibility to the charges and prevents it from becoming a ‘he said she’ said situation. Many employees are afraid to come forward for fear not only of the bully but of losing their job. Often it is easier for a group.
Take your case to the highest available person in the company. Or if you are part of an organization or union go to them with all of the documented evidence. You might also include a detailed report on the effects of bullying in the workplace. Bullying in the workplace causes low moral, higher staff turnover, lowers productivity, and potential law suits and all of this comes at the expense of the company.
Above all when dealing with a workplace bully, do not ever retaliate or threaten the bully. Do not ever put yourself in a position of having to defend yourself. You definitely do not want it to look like you are the one doing the bullying. But be aware, that people who report bullying do not often get the results they expect, especially if they do not have very good documentation and back-up.
But if you have a job worth fighting for and a good company, they will realise the advantages to correcting the situation. A bully in the workplace affects everyone and the sooner the issue is dealt with the better the workplace will be for everyone. And at no point should bullying ever be tolerated.