Bullies in the Workplace One of the common issues that workers have to deal with is workplace bullying. There is a difference between workplace bullying and harassment. “Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm. It can include such tactics a verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse, and humiliation (Wikipedia, 2016)”. Bullies intimidate people whom they perceive as being weak; in fact, they believe that they are better than their victim.
In contrast, harassment victims experience discrimination ecause of the following: sex, age, race, disability, religion, color of their skin, and gender. Markedly, there are laws and policies in place for workplace harassment, but not for workplace bullying. Bully victims experience repeated acts against them. In fact, bullies want to control their victims. Bullying victims can experience abuse from coworkers or supervisors, maybe even from a group of coworkers. In reality, workplace bullying can occur in small businesses as well as large corporations.
Most bullies are in positions of power, such as high and middle managers, but subordinates have been known to bully their anagers. To point out, domestic violence victims and bullying victims have similar abusive experiences. For instance, victims of workplace bullying may experience the following: cruel comments, verbal and nonverbal intimidation, physical attack, deliberate exclusion or isolation, excessive micro-managing, criticism, belittlement, etc. The perpetrator may go as far as to yell and curse at the victim, meddle with the victim’s belongings, and spy on and stalk the victim.
Bullying supervisors misuse their power by constantly humiliating and verbally abusing their subordinates in front of others. They love to micromanage and practice unnecessary monitoring, as a result, they love to demand the impossible from those whom they manage. Particularly, they may even set unworkable deadlines and do whatever they can to sabotage their victim’s success. Co- workers can be bullies also. Bullying co-workers may express anger toward their victim by yelling, cursing, name-calling, and physically attacking them. In addition, they may even attempt to get other co-workers to join in and participate in the bullying.
Bullies love to exclude and socially isolate the victim. It does not atter how the victim tries to negotiate or show empathy to the bully, they will not accept it and believe that it is a show of weakness. Consequently, bullying in the workplace will affect the victims physically, mentally, and emotionally state. Bullying victim’s home life suffers because it will cause them to obsess about it all the time and this will create family tension and stress. A bullying victim will experience shock, resentment, and feelings of frustration.
An overwhelming feeling of helplessness can overtake the victim and they will not know where to get help. Not to mention, it can affect a person’s self-esteem. Significant sleep and digestive problems can be a major issue for a bullying target. Bullying victims have the tendency to miss a lot of work because of the sleep and digestive problems that is caused by the bullying. Frequent absenteeism will cause financial problems for the bullying target. In like manner, traumatic workplace bullying can cause generalized anxiety disorder, depression, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder.
These problems can cause physical problems such as migraine headaches, ypertension, cardiovascular issues, sexual dysfunction, and musculoskeletal problems. Equally important, workplace bullying has a major negative effect on employers. It affects the employee’s health which can cause the company to have a low productivity and a high turnover rate. “Stress, depression, and physical health problems result in time away from work that is costly in terms of workers’ compensation and lost productivity” (Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, 2011).
Significantly, it is expensive to hire and train a new employee. If a company has a bullying environment eputation, it will be difficult to hire people and this will affect the company’s bottom line. They will not be able to be a productive company if they do not have enough employees to fulfill the company’s goals. “Employers have been found liable for the bullying that takes place within their organizations. Many employers have paid damages to an employee for physical or mental health issues, stress, lost wages and other issues associated with workplace bullying”(Fowler, 2016).
Therefore, employers can incur high legal costs in the millions because of extreme cases of bullying. Important to realize, there are ways to handle a bully in the workplace. The target must make the proper steps to stop the bullying. First, the victim must evaluate the situation to make sure that they are not partially responsible for the situation and it is not a form of discrimination due to race, age, gender, etc. It is good to get advice from a trusted individual. Second, document the time, date, location, and specifics about the encounter in a notebook.
This notebook is to be retained in a safe place to prevent theft of this important information. If the victim have to save on a omputer, do not save on a work computer. Third, have a one- on-one talk with the bully about their actions. Explain in a polite and kind manner that their actions are not acceptable and try to stay calm during this encounter. Moreover, if the one-on-one meeting does not stop the abuse, the victim should report the incidents to their manager or human resources. In the case of retaliation situations, the victim should talk with an employment lawyer or the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The National Labor Relations Board will help a victim if the ompany retaliates against them because they filed a complaint. If all you do fails, it is a good idea to update your resume and start looking for a new job. By the same token, employers should observe the workplace to make sure that employees are not getting bullied. Office gossip can indicate that bullying is in the workplace. Employers should inform employees that gossiping is not tolerated in the workplace and how damaging it can be for the victim. Managers need to be trained on how to recognize bullying and the how to conduct the investigation.
Managers need to have an open-door policy so that employees an feel comfortable talking about any type of issues. Likewise, employers can adopt an employee assistance program which can provide confidential counseling and assist the victim by reporting the bullying incident to the employer. In conclusion, any type of workplace bullying should not be tolerated in the workplace. According to McGrory-Dixon (2012), “If an employer were to allow workplace bullying to continue, it could expect to see lower productivity, higher absenteeism, and poor morale. ” Workplace bullying can exist in any type of business.
It is common issue that many employers have to deal with, specially managers bullying their subordinates. Bullying victims can experience mental, physical, and emotional problems, therefore, it must be addressed immediately. A lot of bullying victims are afraid to report the bully, because the majority of bullies in the workplace are managers. Under these circumstances, victims are afraid to file a complaint because the bully may decide to retaliate. Lawmakers have not passed any laws to protect bullying victims, therefore, employers should do everything they can to prevent bullying in the workplace and provide help for bullying victims.