How to Deal with Workplace Bullying and Intimidation?

Photo by Kristina Flour/Unsplash

Thank heavens we’re already past high school, right? No more bullying, class humiliation, secondhand embarrassments, and the likes. Your classmate from grade school who bullied you physically; and that one girl who threw socially threatened you are events from the past. The possibility of it happening again, now that you’re an adult, is very slim.

Not for some people, though. Bullying, unfortunately, is still present and apparent in some workplaces. Don’t let this intimidation happen to you or anyone. Report it immediately to your employer, if necessary, to the police authority. You have a right to not be bullied and take actions against it.

Don’t let workplace bullying, and other forms of physical, mental, and social oppression go unscathed. Know your rights, protect yourself, and take action. Here are the anti-bullying laws you need to know:

What is bullying?

Carrying out practical jokes, teasing, spreading malicious rumors, intimidating, victimizing, threatening, coercion, excluding them from work-related activities, denying access to information vital to their work, sexual harassment, and other unreasonable conduct towards a co-worker(s) is considered workplace bullying. More so if the intention brings risk to safety and health of the victim.

What actions can be done?

For the employers: As per the Anti-Bullying legislation, management action can apply disciplinary actions e.g. suspension, performance management process, or even let go of the person.

For the employees/victims of workplace bullying: If you find yourself in this situation, or know someone who is, take action immediately and don’t wait for further damage. Speak with your supervisor, human resources department, or raise the concern to the union if need be.

If you’re caught in a difficult place—the bully continues to stomp on you; where no one listens to your concerns; and does nothing to fix the issue, reach out to the Human Rights Commission or your state’s safety and health authority.

How to handle it?

Remind them of your workplace policies. Every company has this. Besides, it’s no-brainer that intimidation or oppression is condemned in workplace environments. If an individual, regardless of their title, is stepping on you or anyone, inform this person of your company’s policies i.e. ‘code of conduct’.

Speak to them. Confront them of their issues and what can you both do to compromise; stop them from bullying you. Tell them you don’t agree with their behavior and they should stop; tell them that it’s affecting your work and the work environment.

Maybe they’re unaware of the effects of their behavior. Maybe they’re pulling a simple, light practical joke in their mind; being oblivious to its impact. Give them a chance to strengthen out their actions. If they won’t change, move on to our next advice.

Seek advice. It’s normal to feel unsure about what action to make when you witness bullying or experience it firsthand. You have your manager, supervisor, and human resource department to consult with. Let them handle the situation and sanction necessary disciplinary action to the bully. If this still fails. . .

Report them. Whatever happens, this issue should not left unnoticed and neglected. Document the bullying incidents then report the person and their behavior to the authority. Report it immediately. Don’t wait til the perpetrator does more damage; don’t wait til it happens to someone else. Act upon it and stop it from happening again.

What if they didn’t stop?

If these bullies take it so far out, the victim/person being bullied can file to the Federal Court for an order for the individual (bully) or the company (if no disciplinary actions are made) to pay a fine. The fine can range from $10,000 to a maximum of about $50,000.

Impact of workplace bullying

Workplace bullying can leave a serious damage to the victim as well as the witnesses. It may trigger a handful of mental and social repercussions such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, distress, panic attacks, distraction, cognitive dissonance, reduced work performance; damaged self-esteem and self-confidence; isolation, relationship deterioration between colleagues as well as family and friends; or worse, thoughts of self-harming and suicide.

Don’t let anyone suffer from oppression; don’t watch them hit the ground. Don’t let yourself be a victim. Act against bullying. You have rights, protect it and use it.