Workplace Bullying – Is it happening to you?
We spend most of our time at work, not everybody loves their job, but we all deserve to feel comfortable and at ease in the workplace. Your working environment should be a supportive one, where everyone can work towards their goals without undue pressure or attention. There is a perception that bullying is something that only happens at school and that when you leave education you will never meet a bully again. Unfortunately, some people never grow up. Bullying is a problem across all ages and environments. Its by no means restricted to school. In fact, bullying in the workplace is more common than you think. Here are some signs to look out for:
Purposefully being ignored by your boss or colleagues. This includes being excluded at lunch time, people not paying attention to you or showing any interest in you. Colleagues selectively greeting certain staff members but not you and people ‘forgetting ‘to pass on important information.
Intentionally excluding someone and making them feel socially or physically isolated from a group is bullying. Purposely excluding you from decisions, conversations and work-related events is not acceptable.
Being made to feel guilty
Colleagues or your boss making you feel ashamed or guilty is not acceptable. Making an employee constantly feel that they are the problem, shaming them for no real wrongdoing, or making them feel inadequate and unworthy is definitely bullying.
If you feel colleagues or your boss are deliberatively blocking your progress on a project or promising you assignments and then giving them to others is undermining you and making you look incapable. This is a common form of bullying.
Being pitted against colleagues
Unnecessary comparing or pitting employees against one another to drive completion, create conflict or establish winners or losers is not right. Encouraging employees to turn against one another is wrong and definitely bullying.
Being subject to other people’s mood swings
We are all moody, somedays are good days for us, other are bad, but employees should not be subject to other people’s moods and emotions. People come to work to earn a living and develop a career not to be subject to other people’s issues. This is bullying when it effects how you perform.
Being subject to aggression
Neither your boss or your colleagues should ever yell or shout at you. Anyone in the workplace exhibiting anger or aggression verbally, or even non-verbally, for instance banging a desk is out of order. This behaviour is not acceptable.
Being spyed on
If anyone in the workplace tampers with your personal belongings, checks your desk drawers when you are not around or lurks around your desk when you are trying to work is out of order. This is invasive behaviour and not acceptable. Neither is people spying on you or pestering you.
Being coerced to do something
Aggressively forcing or persuading you to do something against your will or better judgement is coercion. Colleagues or your boss encouraging you to do something you do not agree with is not right and is definitely bullying.
Being punished unfairly
Any boss who undeservedly punishes an employee, either directly or psychologically through passive aggression or emotionally through isolation is a bully. Being reprimanded if you have done something wrong is acceptable being dealt with unfairly is not.
If anyone in the workplace persistently disparages someone else and belittles their opinions, ideas, work or personal circumstances in an undeserving manner is being a bully and should be exposed as one.
Colleagues or your boss who try to embarrass, degrade or humiliate you publicly in front of others are being bullies. Anyone who tries to belittle someone else is cruel and unpleasant so beware of them.
If you are threatened with unwarranted punishment, discipline or the sack or you are being subjected to emotional or psychological abuse, this is bullying. No-one in the workplace should ever threaten you.
Being subject to offensive communication
If anyone in your office communicates with you in a way your find offensive this is not right. Using bad language, telling sexist jokes, spreading untrue rumours, gossiping or verbally harassment is not acceptable behaviour in the workplace.
Being held back
If you feel you are being held back and your progression, growth or advancement in the organisation is being unfairly held back then it could be because your boss has favourites and you are not one of them, this makes you a victim of bullying.
Being the subject of rumours
If colleagues’ gossip about you or spread rumours, then you are being bullied. Maybe you have confided something confidential to a work colleague and they have decided to share this information with others this can be viewed as bullying.
So, to summarise bullying is not in your job description. You do not have to put up with anything that makes you feel unhappy or uncomfortable. Often if you are being bullied you may not recognize it as bullying. Not everyone plays nice and fair at work so if you feel uncomfortable in the workplace, dread going into work some days or feel you are being unfairly treated there is a good chance you are being bullied. You don’t have to be subject to this and you should contact ACAS they will advise you and support you. Don’t be afraid to speak up, you do not deserve this, it’s not your fault.