If you have experienced or are experiencing repeated or persistent unreasonable behaviour directed towards you and it is creating a risk to health and safety, you could be experiencing workplace bullying.
Workplace bullying can be harmful or damaging to the recipient of the bullying or even witnesses to the act.
Types of behaviour that can amount to unreasonable behaviour are:
- offensive comments or language
- unwarranted criticism
- intentionally excluding someone from workplace activities
- withholding information or resources that is needed for work.
It is very important that workplace bullying is addressed immediately because the long it is allowed to occur the more damage can be done, the more difficult it is to address and the harder it is to repair workplace relationships.
Are you being bullied?
Because it is a very emotive topic and it can be influenced by perceptions it might be a good idea to ask yourself some questions to determine if what you are experiencing is bullying. Questions that can help are:
- Is the behaviour repeated?
- Is the behaviour victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening (and not just reasonable performance management or constructive criticism on your work output)?
If the answer to both of these questions is yes and you believe your health and or safety is impacted, you may be experiencing workplace bullying.
What can you do about workplace bullying?
Read your company policy
The first thing to do is read your company’s workplace bullying policies and procedures. This should advise you of the reporting procedure and it will also give you a feel for the likely response from management.
Speak to the “bully”
If you feel you can safely speak to the person bullying you and you think you might be able to achieve a positive outcome, you could talk to them and explain how what they are doing is affecting you. In some cases, the person may not realise the effect their behaviour is having on you. You can always ask a third party to help facilitate this and human resources are usually well-placed to escalate if needed.
Report the behaviour
Your employer can’t help you if they don’t know about the bullying, so it is always advisable to report the matter as soon as possible.
You can make a report of workplace bullying verbally or in writing by:
- Following the company reporting procedure,
- Reporting it to your supervisor or manager,
- Reporting it to your health and safety or union representative, to make a report on your behalf.