Do you remember a time in your life when you either witnessed a bully in action or were a victim of an assault by a bully? I'm sure we can all think of a time at the playground in elementary school when we witnessed a bully in action. Unfortunately some bullies just haven't grown up and we may also hear about or witness bullying or harassment in the workplace. Since October is National Bullying Prevention awareness month, it's a good time for us to consider how we might combat this type of behavior in the workplace.
Just what constitutes bullying in the workplace?
Workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one person or persons by one or more perpetrators. Workplace bullying is abusive conduct by an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer's business interests.
Bullying or harassing conduct includes:
- Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating behavior towards a person or persons
- Work interference, which prevents work from getting done (sabotage or undermining of a person's work performance)
- Repeated infliction of verbal abuse including the use of derogatory remarks, insults, words, expressions, or a phrase used invectively as a term of abuse or contempt to express hostility.
Workplace bullying often goes unnoticed because it is a slow process of emotional and psychological manipulation that is generally hard to detect and prove. In some states, such as California, workplace bullying is protected under law; in other states workplace bullying isn't protected under law. Either way, it is important to have a policy in place. Surveys indicate that most targets and witnesses are reluctant to report when they experience or witness bullying. Because of this, it is important to have a plan in place for preventing workplace bullying.
Taking our Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace course will help you to develop a plan to prevent workplace bullying. This course provides helpful information and techniques to combat bullying and harassment. Topics include:
- definitions of harassment, sensitivities and awareness,
- how to handle complaints from possible victims,
- harassment training for managers,
- as well as training on how to deal with Bullying in the Workplace.
You may not even know about a situation where bullying or harassment has occurred in your workplace; it's likely that the victim hasn't spoken up. A victim might feel more empowered to stand up for themselves if they know that the workplace will not tolerate such activities. If you'd like more information on preventing or managing workplace bullying please reach out to HCP for assistance.