Earlier this week, we began a discussion about bullying in the workplace. While schoolyards are full of bullies, some of those bullies grow up to continue their behavior in the workplace. A government study claims that employees are bullied in 25 percent of US workplaces.
A recent article in the Miami Herald adds that bullying is everywhere, including here in Florida. However, unlike sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviors, bullying is not actually illegal.
The worst-case scenario is when a boss or manager is the bully. It is difficult to report their behavior without the fear of losing your own job.
Some bosses also hide behind the excuse that they are just being a tough motivator. But there is a difference between a bully and a tough boss, according to one expert in Human Resources. She says: "A bully makes it personal and vindictive. With a tough boss, most employees said he's not a nice person, but his motives were right - to make the organization profitable and strong."
No matter who the bully is, the consequences are the same: lower productivity and high employee turnover. Both of these cost the company money and destroy office morale.
Therefore, experts try to coach employees on the best way to deal with a workplace bully. They say you should document every incident and try to include witnesses whenever possible. When reporting to management, try to show exactly how the bullying is hurting both you and the company.
If you have to report a bullying boss, try to find an even higher authority who you think will be objective. Documentation and evidence are especially important in these cases.
Bullying may not be illegal, but neither should it be tolerated in the workplace. No matter what you do, you have the right to expect respect at the office.
Source: miamiherald.com, "Workplace bullying a growing problem," Cindy Krischer Goodman, 28 June 2011