Bullied at Work? Know What to Do.

Bullying takes many shapes and forms, it can be verbal or non-verbal abuse.  Intimidation, relentless teasing and disrespectful actions are among these abuse.  And most of the time, their actions are always covert and not all victims are brave enough to conceal it.  Of course this is not an isolated case between boss-employee relationship but also, peer-to-peer bullying is the most common situation in workplace bullying.

If you are in a tough situation like this at work, would you know what to do?

According to an AARP jobs expert, Kerry Hannon, 1 in 3 workers are really having a tough time at work because of workplace bullies, and in her article, she wrote ways you can to do protect yourself from these disrespectful people.

Once you are able to identify the situation as bullying, think thoroughly what is really happening.  Would you consider that you may also be triggering the bully’s bad behavior?  He might really have a very bad attitude even outside the workplace?  Consider that, you may also have a responsibility in his actions.  Are you the only one receiving such treatment?  There are a lot of factors to consider to size up the situation.  Identify all points of actions to be sure that it really is workplace bullying.

Upon identifying, make sure to document what’s happening.  All unfavorable situations should be recorded.

You can also talk to the bully.  Make sure that you are confident enough to face the person who is always giving you a hard time at work.  A good one-on-one talk without any physical violence.

If a good hearty talk didn’t work, time to consider telling your situation to the department who handles all employees welfare.  That will be the Human Resource department.  They should take action after their own thorough investigation.

All four steps are included in you Plan A.  Now, if this Plan A doesn’t work out well, time to think of your Plan B.  If Plan A’s result if unfavorable to you and searching for another workplace is your Plan B, that is entirely up to you.  Be a professional in leaving your current workplace though, don’t spread that you’ll be leaving your post.

For more elaborate explanation of Kerry Hannon’s article, simply click here.


Handling Workplace Bully in Five Steps

The case of bullying is not isolated in the school grounds, it can also be found in the workplace.  It may not be that obvious but it is certainly present, with the same destructive effect to their victims.  According to Chrissy Scivicque, a career coach, corporate trainer, and public speaker there are five ways in handling a bully in your workplace.

The steps Chrissy Scivicque recommended includes evaluating the whole picture of the situation, be brave to oppose what is wrong,  record important details of the bullying incident, have your superiors and/or the HR department know what’s happening, and lastly, if all these steps fail, simply move forward with your life.

As you evaluate what’s happening with you in your workplace, make sure that the bullying incident is not just how his attitude really works.  A workplace isn’t like your home, it doesn’t need to be a pleasant place to always go to, so don’t go mistaking his civil work attitude as a bullying attitude.  Just like any other workplace bully victims, it needs a lot of courage to stand up for yourself.  It doesn’t mean you’ll be retaliating with your bully, but simply make him see how is the right way to treat people, if not nicely, then professionally.

These are just a couple of steps you will need to do to according to Chrissy Scivicque’s 5 Steps for Handling Workplace Bully the right way.  Read more of her article.

Dolphin Management Style Approach to Workplace Bullying

School-based bullying attracts more attention over the years but adults also bully and get bullied all the time in surprising places. Universities, hospitals, schools, corporations, and even the police stations are all settings where the real, common, and shockingly workplace bullying happens. A new study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada called: “Workplace Bullying Primer: What It Is and How to Deal With” clearly describes the rapidly increasing problem of workplace bullying. “Top Down” bullying is the most common form of workplace bullying in which a superior bullies his subordinates. Other forms include what we call “Lateral” or peer to peer and “Bottom Up” or employee bullies superior can also occur regularly. It was found out that email is the major method of workplace bullying. Email is considered as ubiquitous but it can be a feeding ground for nastiness around the workplace. Office rumors and innuendo can spread like wildfire in an instant behind the anonymity of a computer screen. When it comes to forms of bullying, women more often report about bullying from men in the workplace. Men on the other hand, direct their bullying behavior towards the work of victims. According to Shimi Kang, M.D., as a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, she can see the adverse effects of all kinds of workplace bullying on all types of people in her practice. Notable common effects experienced of workplace bullying includes symptoms of stress, mental health issues, disability leave, frequent absences, employee turnover, less productivity, lower job satisfaction, and increased legal fees for the company. How to solve workplace bullying? The problem is definitely real and there is a corresponding solution. The most effective leadership approach to workplace bullying is the Dolphin Management Style. You can read more of Shimi Kang, M.D.’s article as published in Psychology Today.

Employees who were bullied may find less sympathy from other bullied victims

Typically, people may think that the best person to approach about a problem or a traumatic situation would be someone who went through a similar experience.  Individuals going through a rough break up or divorce would usually go to a person who also experienced it.  The same goes for employees who were bullied at work.  The premise is, since they’ve been through a similar situation, then they would be more sympathetic and offer advice on how to deal with the matter.

However, a research conducted by Ruttan, Loran Nordgren, an associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg, and Mary-Hunter McDonnell of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that people who endured a similar experience would be less likely to show compassion and empathize with others with the same hardship.

The team conducted a series of experiential experiments to look at how people reacted to certain situations.  One of the studies they did was on how previous employees who experienced workplace bullying reacted or felt towards a person who has been having a hard time dealing with bullying.  The Kellogg study also explored whether people who were previously unemployed felt compassion towards individuals who are currently unemployed.  Both studies showed that those who experienced the situation, be it bullying or work challenges, are less likely to empathize with people who are going through a similar hardship.

This is very interesting and can be used as a guiding principle when building programs to support bullying victims or even training or mentoring activities.

To learn more about the research findings, click here to read the full article.

Celebrities Join Bully Victim Lizzie Velasquez in Campaign against Bullying

October is considered the National Bullying Prevention month in the U.S., wherein several anti-bullying programs and activities are scheduled to happen.  Although the activities lean more towards bullying in schools, some of the messages behind the campaigns are also applicable for employees bullied at work or how it may eventually affect the emergence of bullies in the workplace.  One campaign that has gained the support of celebrities and other people is Lizzie Velasquez’s call for a Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Lizzie Velasquez, a bully victim who suffers from a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, took inspiration from her heartbreaking experience after seeing herself as a subject of a Youtube video nearly 10 years ago that labelled her as the “World’s Ugliest Woman.”  Today, she has become a motivational speaker, activist and a star in her own right.  She was also the subject of a recent documentary titled “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” which chronicled her life and her journey to get Congress to approve a Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Now, celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Sara Bareilles, Michelle Phan, Octavia Spencer, Katie Couric, Tori Kelly, Kacey Musgraves, Derek Hough, Dr. Oz and Zachary Levi have pledged in a video, that they are “with Lizzie.”

Hopefully with the Safe Schools Improvement Act, school officials and parents will take better notice of the bullying behavior of some children and address it early on.  It would definitely help to limit the number of bullies entering the work place in the future.

To read more about Velasquez’s proposed Safe Schools Improvement Act and to watch her anti-bullying video on People, click here.


Workplace Bullying Hurts Both the Employee and Company


There’s a saying that bullies in the workplace are the same bullies one would have encountered at school, only much older.  In today’s competitive job market and working environment, more and more employees have become victims of work place bullies.  A nationwide survey sponsored by the Workplace Bullying Institute indicated that 27 percent of workplace respondents said that they were bullied at work, while another 21 percent reported to having witnessed a co-worker being abused or bullied in the workplace.

Needless to say, workplace bullying is painful for employees who became a victim of a work place bully.   Being subjected to humiliating situations and abusive bully behaviors are also detrimental to a person’s mental health.  In worst cases, it can even lead to suicide.

Addressing the issue of workplace bullying is not an easy task.  However, it is imperative for companies to learn how to deal with bullying and avoid such instances from happening in their organizations.  Turning a blind eye to such negative behaviors and not imposing policies covering bullying or having programs on anti-bullying, will eventually affect the company’s bottomline, productivity and employee retention.

What’s critical is for the organization’s leaders to accept accountability and have ownership over the issue, in order to combat workplace bullying.

To read more about the subject, click here.

South Africa teachers experienced the most bullying among professional groups

A study conducted by North-West University academics indicated that South Africa teachers are one of the professional groups in the country that experienced the most bullying in the workplace. The research completed by the School of Education Studies titled “The Nature Of Workplace Bullying Experienced By Teachers and the Biopsychosocial Health Effects,” cited that the bullies that teachers encountered were mostly male school principals.

What’s alarming is that the research also indicated that principals looked for reasons to threaten or file grievances against bullied victims. One can only imagine how scary these teacher’s working environment can be.  It also suggests that organization’s culture is not a healthy and positive one, which would have given the victim’s the courage to speak up without fear of retaliation or further harassment.

The experience definitely has a negative effect on individuals who were bullied at work.  Not only does it affect a victim’s mental and emotional health, it also manifests into various physical sickness and conditions.  Bullying can also sometimes lead to depression and thoughts of suicide.

To learn more about the study and the devastating effect of bullying on teachers, click here.

A Case of Unfriending in Facebook Constituted to Workplace Bullying

Who would have thought that unfriending someone from Facebook is considered a form of workplace bullying?  This was a finding that the Australia Fair Work Commission discovered in a case filed by an employee.

Real estate agent Rachel Roberts has been working for VIEW Launceston, a Tasmania-based real estate agency, since November 2012.  However, Roberts went to the Fair Work Commission claiming that she experienced being bullied at work.  The alleged bully? Roberts claimed that it was the Sales Administrator and wife of the agency’s principal, Lisa Bird.

It all started when Roberts reportedly complained to the agency principal, James Bird, on how her property listings were not getting fair representation on the agency’s front window.  After she voiced out her concern, Lisa Bird accused her of being a “naughty little school girl running to the teacher” and later on deleted Roberts as a Facebook friend.  This was one of the incidents which Roberts used to add to her case.  The Fair Work Commission reportedly found Bird’s action as “indicative of unreasonable behavior” and that it “showed a lack of emotional maturity.”

Aside from the Facebook unfriending incident, Roberts also stated other instances when she was treated unfairly by Bird.  The complainant even told the tribunal that she lost a real estate deal because of the Sales Administrator’s unreasonable behavior.   Interestingly, the company’s argument that they have already released policies, along with a manual, that covers workplace bullying was rejected by the Commission.  Instead, the employer and Roberts will hold a meeting to discuss the anti-bullying order that should be made to address the issue.

Interested to learn more about the case?  Click here to read the full article at Australia’s Financial Review.

Victims of Workplace Bullying More Likely to Contemplate Suicide

Suicide is such a strong and scary word.  Who would have thought that an unhealthy working environment would push an employee so much that he or she would contemplate doing this?  According a Norwegian study, victims of workplace bullying, or those exposed to such hostile working environments, have a higher risk of thinking suicidal thoughts.

Morten Birkeland Nielsen, professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen, as well as lead author of the research paper, said that the study was evidence that workplace environments has an impact on a person’s mental health.

The study, which ran from 2005 until 2010, followed a sample of 1,850 people all throughout the five year period.  One of the findings of the research indicated that less than 5 percent of the participants reported thoughts of suicide during the period, however, they were twice as likely to do so after becoming victims of work place bullies.

Another highlight of the research showed that the perception of being bullied at work is actually a precursor of suicidal thoughts and not a consequence, according to Professor Nielsen.

To other people, this situation may seem too extreme.  However, for a bullied employee to contemplate taking his or her own life means that the workplace abuse has been going on for some time.  Although, for some victims of workplace bullying, the period of abuse may not matter.  It is the gravity of the act, or that feeling of helplessness that they can’t stop the situation, that may push a victim to think about suicide as an alternative to end the bullying.

Experts are now calling on organizations and businesses to take a closer and harder look at the issue of workplace bullying.  Learning to spot it, implementing anti-bullying programs and cultivating a positive working environment will help to protect the employees, and ultimately create a more productive organization.

To learn more about the details of the study, click here.

Workplace Bullying: A Big Issue But Not Taken Seriously

Bullying in the workplace has become a big issue in today’s organization, although many business owners are not taking it seriously.  Such is the case in Brisbane’s workplaces, according to Jonathan Mamaril, principal and director of NB Lawyers, a Brisbane based employment law firm.

Although cases of workers being victims of work place bullies has reached the attention of the Fair Case Commission, legislations covering workplace bullying in the country still doesn’t hold compensatory benefits.  Apart from that, Mamaril also mentioned concerns over companies that considers anti-bullying policies as only a guideline list rather than a regulation that needs to be followed.  This is rather alarming as it gives the impression that workers are more liable to be victims of workplace bullying.  This also indicates that organizations are either not aware or afraid of the consequences of employees being bullied at the workplace.

Currently, the Commission requires business owners found to have breached anti-workplace bullying regulations to develop internal policies to address the issue.  These internal mandates and procedures are meant to either solve workplace bullying or avoid such instances to happen again.  Aside from internal policies, another typical add-on to an anti-bullying program is to set up workplace bullying prevention training.

However, these steps and programs are not sure fire ways to lessen instances of being a victim of bullying at work.  Although, a recent case of work related bullying and the Commission’s judgement for the company to reform its workplace, should serve as a good example to other businesses to keep a healthy organization and work environment for its workers.

Click here to read more about Jonathan Mamaril’s insights on workplace bullying published at Brisbane Legal.