How to Handle Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is difficult to address. We’ve all been in bullying situations growing up and we think that upon entering adulthood and getting a real job, we will be able to avoid bullies and situations that leave us vulnerable. It isn’t the case, it’s just as hard in the workplace as it was in junior high. Bullying is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination, and unlike both, it is not illegal. Here are some tips that may help you stop workplace bullying.

Put a name to the actions of the bully: harassment, manipulation, emotional abuse, naming the actions stops the internalizing and defeatist attitude. This is not something you brought upon yourself, take the first step and name this persons actions.

Take some time off to decide on an approach to this situation. Will you stay and fight to end it or will you begin looking for another job? You need a clear head to make a solid decision, make the decision and stick with it, confidently.

If you choose to stay and confront the bully, you are exposing them to management. There are things to say to help prove your case. According to Workplacebullying.org there are four steps to take:

1.) Make the business case that the bully is “too expensive to keep.” Present data showing that turnover, lost opportunity cost, absenteeism and presenteeism, litigation and settlements, workers comp and disability claims, when added up, cost the company time and money. This person will cost the company greatly if kept on payroll.

2.) Stick to the bottom line, do not wax emotional on this, you will lose creditability and your claim will be discounted.

3.) Your employer has one chance to make this right. If they make excuses for this employee or they are not strong enough to handle the situation, you need to look for another job immediately. This situation will not rectify itself and your supervisor/company owner will not help their company by ridding it of this cancerous employee. Move on.

4.) In the departure process, you are facing a fork in the road. You can hold your head high, take that high road and gloss over reasons for leaving. This prideful exit may help you in your search for a new job – that optimism may carry through and help you get new employment. However, you could also leave knowing that everyone in the company knows that your bully is in fact a bully. Their behaviors have forced you to look for employment elsewhere and you are now leaving a job you once loved, because of them. It’s your choice how you leave, you will have to of course live with the repercussions of either decision. Choose the path that’s best for you and your personality.

Bullying is something we can all empathize with, in the end, you must do what is best for you, your physical and mental health is at stake and honestly, that is invaluable.