Workplace bullying has become too common. It is a serious issue that can impact an employee’s mental and physical health. 

 But the good news is that if it happens to you then there are steps you can take to deal with bullying in workplace and protect yourself from it.

In this article, we’ll learn what workplace bullying is, how to identify if you’re being bullied, and some steps you can take to stand up to your bullies and get back to a healthy work environment. 

 What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated, unreasonable behavior directed at an employee or group of employees that creates a hostile and bitter work environment. 

 If behaviour or action of a coworker is threatening to health or safety of other coworker then it is also defined as workplace bullying.  It might come in verbal, physical, or emotional abuse, and it can happen to anyone in workplace.  

In 2017, The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute (US) has conducted a survey to dig deeper into this problem. The survey revealed that 19% of Americans are bullied at workplace and other 19% witness bullying in workplace.  60% employers are bullies and around 70% of affected by bullying are women. Almost 40% affected by bullying experienced mental health issues such as anxiety, clinical depression, stress and panic attacks. 

Types of Bullying in Workplace

The main three types of workplace bullying are:

1. Verbal bullying:  It has various forms like if someone swears and shouts at his/her coworker and makes personal remarks, makes fun, embarrassing remarks in front of others, or threatens coworkers. 

2. Physical bullying: It involves pushing or shoving, spitting, tripping on someone or any other act that physically harms or injures a person

3. Emotional bullying: It includes spreading rumors about coworkers, humiliating them public, silent treatment or intimidation. Emotionally bullying is damaging someone’s self-esteem or reputation

Effects of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can have a number of negative effects on employees, including: 

Physical health problems, such as headaches, stomach problems and heart disease

Mental health problems i.e clinical depression, anxiety, stress 

Reduced productivity

Low morale

Job insecurity

Exit from the workforce

How to Deal with Bullying in Workplace?

The above-cited survey also found out that 29% of target of bullying in workplace remain silent. 

If you’re being bullied, don’t suffer in silence. There are a number of things you can do to deal with workplace bullying, including:

1. Don’t ignore the problem.

The first step in dealing with workplace bullying is to acknowledge that you’re being bulling.

You need to believe that it is not your fault. The bully is responsible for their own actions, and you should not feel guilty or ashamed. 

2. Talk to your boss 

If you’re being bullied by a coworker, the best step is to talk to your boss or supervisor about the situation. They may not be aware that there’s a problem and may be able to help resolve the situation.

If bullying is coming from your boss or someone in a position of authority, it can be difficult to know what to do. However, it’s important to speak up and let someone know what’s going on. 

3. Know your rights 

Its important is to know your rights and what you can do for yourself. You must understand what your rights are as an employee. You know that you have the right to a safe and harassment-free workplace.

You must know what types of behavior and action constitute bullying. There are organizational laws in place to protect workers from bullying. Some organizations have zero-tolerance policy on workplace bullying.

If laws and policies are there then you must know what is process to claim your right and hold bullies accountable. 

4. Stand up for yourself

Don’t be afraid to stand up to the bully and tell them that their behavior is unacceptable. There are a few things you can do to stand up for yourself when you’re being bullied at workplace.

Make it clear to your bully that you won’t tolerate his/her behavior. Set boundaries because someone is bigger or louder than you, doesn’t mean they can bully or harass you. If the bully is invading your personal space, tell them firmly to stop. Speak up and be assertive bullies are often cowards, and they may back down.

5. Document evidence

If you’re being bullied, it’s important to document everything that’s happening. Keep a record of the events that have taken place, as well as any conversations or interactions you’ve had with the bully. 

You need to save threatening emails, make screenshots of disturbing messages and make video of incident happening. Don’t forget to document date, time and location and name of witnesses who were present at the time of specific incident. 

This information can be incredibly helpful if you decide to take legal action later on.

6. Talk to colleagues, friends and family members 

Stay connected with friends and family. Talk to your friends and colleagues about what’s going on. 

They may be able to provide support, or may have gone through something similar themselves. You may also find it helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor about the situation.

7. Seek professional help

If the bullying is getting too intense or you’re struggling to cope on your own, consider seeking professional help. There are many qualified therapists who can assist with workplace bullying issues

Professional help can be an incredibly valuable resource when it comes to dealing with bullying in workplace. If you’re struggling to cope with the situation on your own, speaking to a counselor can help give you the support you need to stand up to the bully and protect yourself from further harm.

8. Have a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from workplace bullying is to have a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude. This means eating well, getting enough exercise, and maintaining good mental health. When you’re feeling good physically and mentally, it’s much easier to deal with difficult situations.

Try to stay positive and focus on your strengths.  It can be tough to stay positive when you’re dealing with a bully, but it’s important to keep your head up. Remember that you’re not alone in this, and there are people who care about you and want to help.

Take Home Points 

  • Bullying in workplace is a serious issue which affects mental and physical health of anyone who is experiencing it. 
  • Bullying can be verbal, physical and emotional and it has negative effects not only on victim but work environment suffers badly as well. 
  • First step to deal with bullying in workplace is to accept it as a problem. 
  • You can talk to and discuss with your supervisor or employer.
  • You should be aware of organizational and governmental laws and policies which give protection against bullying in workplace. 
  • You must speak up and tell bully that his/her behaviour is unacceptable. 
  • You should keep record of all evidences which would be helpful in case you take legal action. 
  • Discuss your experience with friends and family members 
  • Take professional help from therapists and counsellor to handle the situation. 
  • Manage your stress and stay strong to deal with a bully.