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Know Your Rights-Bullying at Work
by Casey. January 17th 2009, 04:47 PM

Know Your Rights - Bullying at Work
Written by: Casey, Katrina, Jessie, and Shaz

We have all heard about students being bullied at school, but many of us do not realize that bullying is also quite common in the "real world". We assume adults would put a stop to bullying, right? What if they were the ones bullying? What if they were encouraging others to bully, leading by example? What can you do?

Bullying can happen anywhere, not only in the form of physical assault but also as verbal attacks; teasing, taunting, name-calling, and degrading are all forms of bullying. Bullying, even in the workplace, does not have to be taken in silence.
Bullying of any kind should not be tolerated in the workplace, but if you are being bullied or harassed it can be difficult to know what to do about it. This guide to bullying at work, hopes to give you information on what bullying at work is, the effects of it on the victim it is happening to, and what to do in cases where you are being bullied at work.

What is bullying at work?

Bullying at work is when someone tries to intimidate another worker, often in front of colleagues. It's usually, though not always, done to someone in a less senior position.

It's similar to harassment, which is where someone's behavior is offensive - for example, making sexual comments, or abusing someone's race, religion or sexual orientation.

It's not possible to make a legal claim directly about bullying, but complaints can be made under laws covering discrimination and harassment. If you're forced to resign due to bullying you can make a constructive dismissal claim.

Bullying may be characterized as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behavior, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, belittle or injure the recipient. Bullying or harassment may be by an individual against another (perhaps by someone in a position of authority such as a manager or supervisor) or involve groups of people. It may be obvious or it may be subtle. Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.

The cost of bullying to you

Stress and ill-health can become part of the daily life of those being bullied.

Symptoms can include:
anxiety, headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, skin rashes, high blood pressure, tearfulness, loss of self-confidence, and in some cases: thoughts of suicide.

The cost of bullying to your boss

Bullying is recognized as a major cause of stress in the workplace and by law, stress must be dealt with in the same way as any other health and safety hazard.
Employers who fail to tackle bullying can pay a high price:
  • in lost time – because staff are affected by stress and ill-health
  • reduced work output and quality of service
  • and lost resources – because people who are trained, and experienced, leave the organisation
Most importantly, employers who fail to tackle bullying are breaking the law. That’s why it is in everyone’s interest to take workplace bullying seriously. If you are being bullied in work, don't suffer in silence. This isn't something that you should have to put with, and there are things you can try to do to stop it.

What to do if another employee bullies you:

Rather than taking matters into your own hands, you should probably involve a boss of supervisor in the situation. However , if you are uncomfortable involving others, there are a few things that you can do.

Don't fight back. If you can, walk away. If not, yell for your boss or for another employee. Yelling for help will draw attention to the situation, and hopefully, the bully will stop.

If the bully begins to laugh, laughing along with him or her may help to lessen the seriousness of the situation. Never sink to your bully's level.

Because bullies typically have lower self esteem, they aim to hurt others, ultimately making themselves feel better. Although being called degrading names may upset you, it is imperative that you act like you don't care; like it doesn't bother you. Smile and calmly say, "I'm sorry you feel that way". Eventually, the bully will see that you don't care and lose interest in both you and the situation. If they see that they can't hurt you, they will hopefully leave you alone. Once they realize that they are not hurting you, they have no reason to keep trying.

If the bullying ever turns physically threatening, tell your supervisor or boss immediately-- you do not have to handle this alone. Some people are too shy to get help for just 'teasing', but teasing can become dangerous, and there is a point where teasing becomes harmful. Seeking immediate help is the best option for any sort of bullying.

What to do if a customer bothers or insults you:

No one should harass or otherwise make you feel too uncomfortable. If someone makes an offhand comment, you might want to let it slide. However, if someone is purposefully insulting you, tell whoever is in charge. Do not insult them, cuss them out, or show any negative emotions.Tell your manager what happened immediately.

Why should you tell your manager about these incidents? Hopefully, it will help prevent future incidents and will keep you from getting into too much trouble if there was a way you could've handle the situation more appropriately.

What to do if a manager, supervisor, or store manager bullies you:

Do not try to handle this alone.
If a manager or supervisor is bullying you, talk to them first. Tell them you don't appreciate their actions or comments. If that does not work, or if they are threatening you or your job, seek out their employer. Be honest with everything and prepared to answer some uncomfortable questions.

If the store manager is bullying you, talk to them first, before going above their head to their supervisor. Your managers may not realize that their comments are upsetting you.

If neither of the above works, your workplace should have a phone number for the company's human resource department. Call and talk to your human resource representative. Tell them what has been going on and be honest with them. Hopefully, they will try to make working more pleasant for you. They might even move you to another shift or store if there are no other options.

To sum things up, if someone at work is bullying you, tell someone. Tell a manager, a trusted adviser or your parents. Again, you do not have to go through this alone; talking about bullying is the best way to end it. Tell someone-- because even teasing can go too far.



Last edited by TeenHelp; July 2nd 2018 at 05:15 AM.
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