Stand Your Ground Against Workplace Bullying

Workplace BullyingWhen most people think of bullying, they picture the high school football player stuffing the lonely computer geek in a locker or the elementary school tormenter forcing the new kid at the playground to give him some lunch money. What most don’t want to admit is that bullying goes beyond schoolyard antics. Workplace bullying is very real and can greatly increase stress levels, panic attacks, and even depression.

In a study in the Journal of Occupational Health  Psychology, 71% of respondents reported experiencing workplace bullying during the past five years. It’s easy to believe bullying in the workplace doesn’t exist because grown adults should be above those types of childish antics, but it happens more than you think. It happens in the form of aggressive communication like insults or threats, manipulation like withholding paid time off, sabotaging others, and avoiding contact, or acts of humiliation like spreading false rumors, playing harsh practical jokes, or talking bad about someone to make others look good to management.

If you’ve been bullied at work, you may feel like you have no means of defending yourself or have no idea where to go for help. It seems all too real that you receive punishment while the bully goes unpunished or without reprimand. But fear no more! Here are ways you can make a stand to overcome bullying in the workplace.

Check Policies and Procedures
It’s best to take your bullying issues to counselors or organizations that are trained in dealing with these types of issues. It’s important not to make claims or allegations about someone bullying you to those who are not involved with handling these types of situations. Depending on your industry, you might have a Contact, Grievance, or Human Resources Officer or Union Official. They should be able to handle your issue as quickly as possible in a no-blame, confidential manner.

It’s also a good idea to keep a written record of incidents involving the bully that includes date, time, persons involved and present, and what was said or done. The records shouldn’t be used as leverage against the bully, but may be useful later if more formal steps need to be taken.

You can also check whether your employer has a policy and complaint resolution procedure for workplace bullying. It may be available in your employer’s induction package, included in the in-house newsletters, or displayed on notice boards. Depending on your field, there may also be grievance procedures in your industrial award or employment agreement.

Mind Your Mentor
If you want to deal with the situation before it has to result in a formal complaint, you can always seek the advice from a trusted mentor or supervisor who has dealt with being bullied or managed employees who were bullies. Avoid using names when talking to your mentors so they don’t get involved with the situation. You should also avoid talking about it to fellow co-workers or recruiting them to your side. The way you handle the situation professionally and maturely will allow them to make their own judgment.

Confront With Care
If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, you can make it clear to the bully, in a professional manner, that the behavior is unacceptable and unwanted, and will not be tolerated. Sometimes not saying anything only fuels the continued torment and could possible get worse if you stay silent.

Don’t sink to a bully’s level – stay as calm as possible and refrain from yelling or threatening. This type of confrontation is what many bullies look for and it will encourage them to come back for more. Just because you avoid using the same tactics a bully uses doesn’t mean you should show weakness. Be confident and stern but also professional and courteous.

Spread the Word
Bullies are trying to tear you down for their personal gain. One way to fight that is to demonstrate how good of an employee you are. Let your managers know how your projects are going and share what you’ve accomplished in the past few months. Bullies often try to spread rumors about their victims underperforming, but will fall on deaf ears if your supervisors are aware of how much you’ve accomplished.

Your co-workers can also be a great support group. While you shouldn’t involve them in your conflict or rally them to your side, it’s important to foster and grow your workplace relationships so the bully can’t isolate your or make you feel isolated.

The days of schoolyard torment are over. You shouldn’t have to go to work in fear of other co-workers. It is a problem in many workplaces, but depending on your area, it’s illegal and you don’t have to tolerate it with these guidelines. What kind of bullies have you stood up to? Tell us your stories in the comments below.

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64 Responses to “Stand Your Ground Against Workplace Bullying”

  1. Mabel #

    Sorry, but bullying in the workplace is not illegal in the U.S. At least, not at this time. Harassment of a legally protected class is, but that does NOT include bullying. Most incidents don’t include illegal harassment, because bullies go for weaker prey, not necessarily those in a legally protected group.

    You are right about one thing. Grown people should not be acting this way. Whether bullying is against the law or not, companies should not tolerate it and should enact policies against it. The behavior is immature, destructive, and just plain unethical.

    More info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_bullying#United_States

    January 2, 2013 at 9:33 am Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Thanks for the input, Mabel. Express Employment Professionals is an international organization and we have to cover topics for countries other than the U.S. Advice in the blog posts should be taken according to what works best for you and your location. Thanks again for the comment!

      January 2, 2013 at 9:44 am Reply
      • Patricia #

        I have been bullied by a new supervisor for the last 9 months. Her superior does not consider anything wrong in that and actually said I was causing trouble when I told him. For 5 & 1/2 years my work was considered perfectly acceptable, but from the moment she arrived I was subjected to bullying by her to the point of victimization and she has exaggerated anything and everything. I am 59 so for me to find another job at the payscale I’m on is virtually impossible. I just have to wait until I’m let go and hope that I can get my debts down to a managable amount. I’m on my own so I don’t have anyone to fall back on for financial help. Today was employee evaluation for me, I was the only person who did not get a raise.

        January 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm Reply
        • Jared Cole #

          Patricia,
          Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing such a heart-felt story. It’s greatly appreciated, our best in resolving the situation.

          January 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm Reply
      • Dody #

        I had two bosses in a row that were severe bullies – really abusive. It would be helpful to see how to deal with that as well. I had a terrible time trying to figure out what to do.

        January 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm Reply
    • jan #

      I was bullied in the work place and my immediate supervisors (ALL of them) were aware of it! Her immediate supers were afraid to confront her. I was unable to prove that I was doing my best because they all believed her, for whatever reason. Long story short, they wanted to put me on probation. I ended up terminating.

      January 3, 2013 at 1:16 am Reply
      • Jared Cole #

        Jan,
        Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article sharing how you handled the situation. It’s greatly appreciated.

        January 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm Reply
    • Shannon #

      Actually, bullying is illegal. It falls under harrassment laws as creating a hostile work environment. It does depend on certain criteria, but if it falls under protected classes & disrupts your work performance it is legally considered harrassment. For detailed info go to http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/2011-workplace-harassment.htm#.UPeIj4jgGZc

      January 16, 2013 at 11:17 pm Reply
    • City worker #

      I agree with Mable.
      I have been told many times that since I am not in a protected class, because I am younger, it is not harassment.
      However, I have found that a bully gets so caught up in their games, that they dont have time or don’t finish their work- and that’s where management can step in and take it over.

      January 31, 2013 at 9:00 am Reply
  2. nisha patel #

    I have been sexually harrassed at work several times, stalked by co-workers, fired because I don’t date them, and report it to human resources, gossipped about, accused of all kinds of nonsense, and no evidence to back it up. Accused of wearing flip flops in a government office, when i was not wearing flip flops, don’t they have cameras in government offices. Nobody bothers to investigate anything, it is just swept under the carpet. They still have their jobs, but i was the one getting fired. They are not working or following the rules and regulations, but they still have their jobs. They take long lunch hours, come in to work late, always taking sick days, but they get promoted and still have their jobs. I want JUSTICE. And I think that a lot of them are doing things that good people are not doing, I will give you one guess.

    January 2, 2013 at 9:38 am Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      It sounds like that wasn’t the best of work environments you were involved with. Not all workplaces are like that, and once you find a job that better fits you, I’m sure you’ll be able to see what you’ve learned from the poor experience.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:56 am Reply
      • Kelly #

        Jared:

        Not all workplaces are like that, but a very high number of them are! I’ve been working in the office environment over 20 years and there is ALWAYS office politics going on. It’s just like Nisha said, the people who are too sleazy and too lazy to earn their brownie points the honest way will seek the spotlight and admiration any way necessary. I don’t know what problems guys might have with other guys, but women are notorious gossips and a little bit of jealousy is all it takes to find trouble from a bully. I have always just tried to be friends with everybody and do a good job, but it never fails that there is always at least one poison apple. People just need to grow up & mind their own business! Thanks anyway for the article!

        January 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply
        • Jared Cole #

          Kelly,
          Thank you for offering a different opinion. Each workplace is different, and we’re glad you have found a solution that works best for you. Thanks for reading the article, and best of luck on your career path.

          January 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm Reply
    • shonda s #

      Similar things have happened to me on the job too, including my car being tampered with because I was a new employee with a higher position. How I handled it: I let my senior supervisor know and put it in writing, AND KEPT MY OWN DATED COPY. There is a chain of command on every job, and even beyond the job, for example congressmen and women. don’t know if you are religious, but lots of prayer helped also. I kept coming to work and didn’t back down. Good luck!

      January 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm Reply
      • Jared Cole #

        Thanks for sharing the advice, Shonda.

        January 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm Reply
    • Shannon #

      Sounds a lot like a government contractor I worked for. If it’s any consolation, it’s because of those aweful jobs that I truly now appreciate the environment I work in now. I’ve felt your anger and frustration. Keep your chin up. Be clear in your mind the exact job you want, including the environment. Even if

      January 16, 2013 at 11:22 pm Reply
  3. Jackie #

    You failed to mention the boss that is the bully. I worked in one office for 13 years, of which the last 3 were with the bully-boss. Up to that time, my performance appraisals were great. The new boxx was responsible for earning my salary, and couldn’t seem to make enough profit to do that. Within a few weeks she was calling HR to see how demote me and/or write me up and/or make my life so miserable I would leave. I had a new baby at home and she would call me at home at 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. to tell me some little thing that could wait, and once even to ask me to pick up her materials for a meeting that she had forgotten to get herself! She routinely assigned more work than one person could possibly do, she had me doing the work of two people, never said anything nice to me or about me….I could go on and on. Eventually I did quit (after 3 years), but it was after many many stressful days and sleepless nights. Performance appraisal time was horrible! She would drag out every little thing that went wrong. Let’s face it, if someone is looking for fault they will eventually find it. I did research and just about the only way to combat a boss that is a bully is to get away from them. You’re not going to change them, and unless your company HR dept. will step in with some type of official reprimand (and many won’t touch the manager-employee relationship), you’re basically stuck.

    January 2, 2013 at 10:50 am Reply
  4. Auntie Em #

    I worked for a small outfit, whose pecking order was well established. I was not a favorite and did a lion’s share of the work. When I complained to upper management about unfair practices they were spineless and did nothing. Eventually I was fired for a small error that they waited until I made and out I went. I never cried a tear after and my blood pressure went down. It would have been a good job, and but the powers in play were mafia like… Could not win. Was glad to be out of there since hardly anyone was nice. I took 5 months to find another job, and since a fire was on my record. Probably should have sued. Had enough written confirmation. New job is only some better.

    January 2, 2013 at 10:58 am Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Thanks for sharing your story, Auntie Em.

      January 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm Reply
  5. Mary Jayne #

    If you witness bullying in the workplace, it is important to speak up about it. Remaining silent makes you a bystander who is contributing to a dysfunctional work environment. There are several ways to speak up: You can let the bully know directly that you have witnessed their treatment of the bullied co-worker and that their behavior is not okay or if the behavior continues, you can document what you see over time and report it to HR. Adding another voice for justice stregthens the community workplace sends a message that bullying will not be tolerated.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:23 am Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Mary Jayne,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing your advice. It’s greatly appreciated.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm Reply
  6. Kate Sheldon #

    I was bullied by a boss’s fiance at a restaurant where I was working. One day she picked on me when nobody was around. She made angry accusations and began yelling and calling me names. She was completely out of control. I told her to stop treating me like this; that she had no right to do so. I couldn’t work with her standing over me and yelling like that. I stopped work, got my things and left. I just walked out. I couldn’t think what to do; I just wanted to get away from the situation.

    There was no mentor or anyone I could talk to. This was in a restaurant. I think the food industry has a lot of incidents like this. The boss never called me to find out my side. I’ve never spoken to either of them since. Because I was only there about 4 months, I decided not to put this job on my resume.

    It was a bad experience and I’m just trying to go on.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Kate,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing such a heart-felt story. It’s greatly appreciated, and we wish you the best of luck on your future career endeavors.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm Reply
  7. CP #

    I was bullied at a law firm which started 2 months after I became permanent and lasted 2 years. Once my supervisor decided she didn’t like me, she started taking all of my responsibilites away and being nasty in hopes that I would quit (I was told that this was her usual MO) I PRAYED about it and decided that they (supervisor AND her best friend) were not chasing me out. I was prompt, courteous and did exactly as I was told. Finally they let me go with the excuse that they were going in a different direction. I tried hard not to dance to the parking lot but it was the happiest day of my life. It was an extrememly hostile work environment and ALL the employees looking for other jobs, but I stuck it out and now work in a REALLY WONDERFUL work environment with REALLY GREAT people.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      CP,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing such a heart-felt story. It’s greatly appreciated, and are glad you are in a job you enjoy.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm Reply
  8. Sheldon #

    Thought this is good information I think it is unrealistic. The workplace nowadays is a very hostile, non-supportive environment where most people are out to get one another. This seems to be perpetuated OR condoned by management, HR and co-workers. So for the people who have been harrased OR bullied OR lied-on…..You are basically on your own. I’ll been there and had no one to turn to.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Sheldon,
      Thank you for offering a different opinion. Not all work environments are the same, and you should always use your best judgment before following any advice. Thanks for reading the article.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm Reply
  9. Kate #

    How do you handle it when not only a coworker is doing the bullying but HR and company owners are too? I have been accused by a coworker of saying and doing things that were not true. Human Resources took their word and did not listen to me, therefore reprimanding me. When I tried to explain my side, HR would shut me up and say the coworker said it so it must be true. Also the owners would call the employees stupid if you did not fully understand and ask for clarification of the unclear and vague instructions given to you for a task. Employees are always being threatened and written up for minuscule things or going to the restroom too many times during work hours. I have been in the work place many years and have never experience like this before. I am now unemployed – voluntarily.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Kate,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and asking a great question. The answer will be too long to include in the comments section, so we will email you a more detailed response within the next two or three business days. Thank you again for the question.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm Reply
  10. Dave #

    As odd as it seems the company I now work for has a high level female manager who, on several occasions, hires or promotes women over men. This is not an idle complaint because it happened to me as well as others. One would have thought women would be above this because of how they have been treated in the past. Very frustrating and there is nothing one can do. Reverse gender discrimination.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Dave,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your story. It’s greatly appreciated.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm Reply
  11. Barry #

    Most times the bullying or the harrassment is not the co workers;it’s the shift supervisors or the lead person.That’s the experience i had in the past.The supervisors can make your job miserable and then telling the upper mngmt.about you work performance,the upper mgmt will beleave them before you and eventually losing your job.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Barry,
      Thank you for offering a different opinion. Each workplace is different, and you should always use your best judgment before following any advice. Thanks for reading the article.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm Reply
  12. Amelia #

    I recently went to work for a supervisor who told me no other manager in the organization would work with me. I purchased a fish tank for her, as a gift, when I joined her team, and so that the employees may enjoy it in our career center, and she screamed at me. I found a less time consuming and error free method of obtaining information through reports, and she called me in her office to yell at me. Prior to that, I attended a meeting with our Area Managers, where I was presented with a job description printout from an internet job site, an external opportunity, outside our company. I was ignored by my manager for three days. My manager took the two other employees in my office out to lunch, but did not invite me. I used my personal time off to be out of the office that morning so I would not have to interact with her and make it an awkward setting. I overheard my manager tell other employees in my work group, of my same title, that she was sending another manager to fire me. My manager also had a meeting about me, behind closed doors, right in our office, while I sat right outside – 10 feet away. In that meeting, sat my former manager, an employee of my same title, and another co-worker, (not part of management) who was also a union steward. In an effort to mend our relationship, I slipped a note under my manager’s door and also sent her a message of apology and copied the union, my former boss and her boss on it. It was the worst week of my life. I was approached by two union stewards to see if I wanted to file a grievance, but I did not. I was fearful of her retaliation. As my Area Managers put it, she was too well-connected. I have no hope left here – unfortunately, because I work for a very large telecom company with a wide scope, but I am looking to move on. I have a college degree, more than 10 years business experience and many skills and feel I can certainly contribute to an organization that sees me as an asset and not a threat. Thank you for the opportunity to explain and please let me know if you have any recommendations. Thank you.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Amelia,
      Thank you for sharing. Our response to your inquiry is too long to include in the comments section, so we will email you a more detailed response within the next two or three business days. Thank you again for the comment.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm Reply
  13. Yolanda #

    It’s good to know they are finally acknowledging this problem in the workplace. I’ve struggled with abuse from co-workers in 2005 and again in 2009. In both experiences, there was atleast 4 women who would negatively speak indirectly about me in front of others and in front of me.

    It effected my work performance and I suffered with excessive stress which began to effect me physically. At one of the positons, I was forced to leave due to harassment from co-workers. Unfortunately due to the nature of the attack, it was subtle and indirect which was extremely hard to prove or file a complaint with human resources. I’m very surprised to actually come across this article at this time which is very much needed and brings awareness to the reality of problems in the workplace.

    January 2, 2013 at 2:11 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Yolanda,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing such a heart-felt story. It’s greatly appreciated.

      January 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm Reply
  14. Kim #

    Who can help you when the bullying comes from your supervisor and those higher than him?

    January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Kim,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and asking a great question. The answer will be too long to include in the comments section, so we will email you a more detailed response within the next two or three business days. Thank you again for the question.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm Reply
  15. Lisa #

    What if the key player in the bullying is the HR Rep- and there is no one else to go to in your company? This is the situation in our office.

    January 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Lisa,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and asking a great question. The answer will be too long to include in the comments section, so we will email you a more detailed response within the next two or three business days. Thank you again for the question.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm Reply
  16. Randall #

    I once was in a situation in which I was transferred from one office to another office in a smaller town, and came almost immediately into conflict with a woman who, though not in any official position of authority, wielded considerable influence in the company due to her years of seniority. She was so entrenched in her position in the office that she was able to virtually dictate terms to the local office manager, even though nominally he was the boss. In fact, in the space of about five years, four different managers came and went in that office without unseating her from her position of dominance, and other employees came to believe that, regardless of job titles, she was the real boss in that office. I, however, didn’t “buy it”; I knew my job, and I did it without kowtowing to her … which meant, of course, that I became the target of her enmity, and she went on a campaign to get me fired. The local manager didn’t have the authority within the company hierarchy to fire either of us (which is the main reason she had no fear of local managers), and the regional manager was satisfied with my job performance, so she tried going over the regional manager’s head; but the corporate office didn’t want to be involved in what they perceived as a “local squabble”, and wouldn’t direct the regional manager to fire me. The regional manager was one of the wisest and most decent bosses I’ve ever had in my working life, and he knew that, because of this woman’s long years of service to the company (she even had seniority over him), simply firing her instead would have severe repercussions among many of the employees under his direction. So privately he told me to just keep on doing my job as I saw fit, and not let the “Queen Bee” (as he referred to her) intimidate me. The situation ultimately came to a head one day when ‘the Queen Bee’ attempted to assign a load of work to me which would have distracted me from my main duties; it wasn’t that the work she was trying to push onto me fell outside of my job description, but only that I didn’t see it as a priority over what I was already doing. So I immediately consulted with the local manager, asking first whether she had the authority to assign me work, and second, whether he agreed with me as to what my work priorities should be. To the first question he answered “No” and to the second he said “Yes”. So, in sight of the entire local staff, I put the pile of paperwork she had placed on my desk back on hers, and told her, calmly and clearly, that I wasn’t going to accept her attempting to direct my work. When she responded by threatening to call the regional manager, I picked up the phone on her desk and called him myself, asking him if it was okay for me to put him on speaker-phone so that the whole office could hear what he had to say. To his credit, he said “Go ahead” … then I asked him essentially the same things I had asked the local manager. He gave me exactly the same answers, with the local manager, the ‘Queen Bee’, and everybody else in the office hearing him loud and clear. That put an end to her threats and attempts to intimidate me, but not to her attempts to convince the corporate office to fire me. Years later, the ‘Queen Bee’ was forced to take an early retirement, long before I left the company. When she left, I ended up becoming the one remaining in the office with the most seniority, until my own departure. The bottom line here is that, if you do a good job and have a good boss whom you can trust, the office bully is unlikely to be successful in pushing you around.

    January 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Randall,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and giving us your own experience. It’s greatly appreciated.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm Reply
  17. Jonathan #

    In my workplace, there’s often a lot of women bullying men. This may seem a little far-fetched, but there are reasons it’s so common (increasingly so these days). Women who engage in bullying face a far lower risk of a reprimand or more serious consequences. Women also often feel they are discriminated against, so their bullying or harassment is justified or deserved – sometimes when the victim of the bullying didn’t do anything to deserve it.

    Thankfully I haven’t been a target of this form of bullying, but I have watched it happen over and over to others, and the management usually does nothing even when it’s reported. I think they’re afraid the women in question will try to blame the management of discriminating against them, but whatever the motive, it’s allowed to thrive.

    In the most serious case, a middle-aged woman I worked with would almost daily yell and scream and sometimes throw things at an elderly man – usually for something very small and unintentional; for example, when he would arrange things in our department in a way she thought wasn’t ideal. He never retaliated, but she tried to get him fired several times. The rest of us in the department reported it to our supervisor and the store manager many times, but this woman never saw any consequences. She has since been transferred to another department, but still works there.

    January 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Jonathan,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing your observations. It’s greatly appreciated.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm Reply
  18. JaneMarie Torgerson #

    What advice do you have when the bullying is directly from your manager/supervisor? My situation was so bad that he would come beat on the door of the bathroom and demand I come out if a customer called asking for me and I was ‘relieving myself’. I did go to the owner of the company to ask for help and was told that I had to deal with it as this person was in control of the office.

    January 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      JaneMarie,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and asking a great question. The answer will be too long to include in the comments section, so we will email you a more detailed response within the next two or three business days. Thank you again for the question.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm Reply
  19. Mari #

    How do you handle the bully if the bully is the boss? I thought I did my due diligence on the work environment, etc. During the interview process, he couldn’t have been nicer. Once he got his hooks into you, the story changed. The boss had temper tantrums, berated everyone in the office and was demeaning, His partner did not take any responsibility and would throw you under the bus to save his skin.

    No training was given and it was implied that you were just too stupid to “get it”. I left a good job to take this one. I hung in there and he finally got so fed up with me, he fired me. The one good thing to happen out of this was unemployment, even though he requested I submit a letter of resignation. He said he didn’t want a mark on my record.

    I booked it out of there so fast, and went straight to the unemployment office. Live and learn, but what do you do?

    January 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Mari,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and sharing your story.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm Reply
    • Laurie #

      Mari: Your story makes me wonder if we worked for the same tyrant…..the person I worked for told evertone else that my work was ‘the best in a long time’ (he has serious turnover in this position) but treated me the identical way yours did. I am collecting Workers’ Comp benefits and since he is a REPEAT OFFENDER am hoping that his insurer raises his premiums thru the roof or drops him altogether. I’d like to chat with you and see how you’re doing.

      March 16, 2013 at 6:10 am Reply
  20. Karen Schaefer #

    In 2011, I was bullied and harassed on my job at a small court reporting firm. The owner of the firm was an elderly woman who worked from her home. After the first incident, I brought the matter to her attention and asked her to address and rectify the matter, but she blamed me. The person who originally began tormenting me was a terrible employee (late, absent, avoiding tasks, gossiping, bad-mouthing everyone including the owner, etc.), but our immediate supervisor, for some reason (they covered for each other, I believe) loved her and took her side completely. After 5 months of being bullied and harassed on the job, and suffering tremendous stress because of it, after one final incident of bullying, I experienced a panic attack on the job and was fired. When I applied for unemployment benefits, the owner of the company objected and blocked me from getting any benefits. I appealed twice; the owner of the company, and my co-worker and the supervisior ganged up on me and lied under oath at the hearing. It was awful. No other employees in the small company would come forth and testify on my behalf for fear of being fired (everyone was afraid of the owner, because she would fire people at will and at whim). So there. I went to the Civil Rights Commission, to no avail. I suffered tremendous emotional pain and suffering, and went without any income for 4 months before I was able to get another job and start digging out financially, which I am still doing. After being in the professional work force for over 35 years, this was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced and they got away with it.

    January 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Karen,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing your personal experience.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm Reply
  21. Sean #

    I have a daughter in grade school. When I go to pick her up there are all kinds of anit-bullying posters on the walls of her school. It’s perplexing, however. I want to instill the values in my child that correspond with the anit-bullying movement in the school. Treat people with kindness. Don’t exclude others. Etc. But, I live in the real world. The guy who is the best bully becomes the boss. Creditors don’t get paid by being nice, they get paid by intimidating and threatening. Instead of a friendly phone call from my landlord when I’ve let my grass get too long, I get a threatening letter.
    I want my daughter to grow up and be a good and decent person, but I also want her to be able to survive and succeed in this world. Facts are facts. We can hope for a Utopian world where all people are treated fairly and with respect. We don’t live there. The bullies make the rules, so it’s better to be the bully than the bullied.

    January 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Sean,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing your perspective and desire for your daughter.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm Reply
  22. Jane #

    Thanks for posting of real life situations Mabel and Nisha. The article doesn’t mention when it is your boss who is doing the bullying or the best way to handle bullying when you are sent to the position by a temporary employment agency. I found it to be an even more delicate situation to deal with and less stressful than a “regular” full-time, long term position only because it’s easier to leave.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Jane,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and commenting. Hopefully your temporary agency can assist you.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm Reply
  23. Scott McClellan #

    “It’s also a good idea to keep a written record of incidents involving the bully that includes date, time, persons involved and present, and what was said or done. The records shouldn’t be used as leverage against the bully, but may be useful later if more formal steps need to be taken.”

    Jared, your article is spot-on except for the above paragraph. If you are being picked-on, it’s usually in very passive-aggressive ways which cannot be documented very well and is very subjective. If you have something that can be documented, I think you should use that for the main purpose as leverage against the bully. Remember, the bully doesn’t think of you as a person and they’re only trying to validate their own insecurity through attempted domination in selfish and destructive ways. I agree you must handle bullying situations in legal and professional manner. But if you have anything that can put them on the defense and you in the offense, sieze the opportunity. It may be your only one!

    January 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Scott,
      Thank you for offering a different opinion. Each workplace is different, and you should always use your best judgment before following any advice. Thanks for reading the article.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm Reply
  24. Thank you for your article about workplace bullying. I am happy to read that I did everything possible with your steps in your article to approach this subject at work, but unfortunately, it is a growing problem with no laws or union contracts to cover this. I had to leave my job after 20 years because of a Manager who did exactly the things described in your article. I am SO glad to be moving on – it is DEFINITELY not worth your time wasting away in a job and atmosphere that is extremly toxic.

    She didn’t want me to get a promotion so all of a sudden out of nowhere, after exceeding every job performance for over 10 years, I went from exceeding in my job performance to not doing my job, in a matter of 2 mos. I tried everything, from going the extra mile at work to having one on one discussions with her about my concerns with her actions but the bullying only got worse. I would ask how I could improve my performance but my manager would not tell me. I would make suggestions on how we could operate more efficiently, and she stole a couple of my ideas and got the credit from upper Management for them. If your boss doesn’t like you, it doesn’t matter what you do, they will find ways to make you look bad – it was best that I leave and look for a healthier work environment.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:54 am Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Marie,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and sharing such a heart-felt story. It’s greatly appreciated, and we wish you the best of luck on your future career endeavors.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm Reply
  25. Thank you for your article about workplace bullying. I am happy to read that I did everything possible with your steps in your article to approach this subject at work, but unfortunately, it is a growing problem with no laws or union contracts to cover this. I had to leave my job after 20 years because of a Manager who did exactly the things described in your article. I am SO glad to be moving on – it is DEFINITELY not worth your time wasting away in a job and atmosphere that is extremly toxic.

    She didn’t want me to get a promotion so all of a sudden out of nowhere, after exceeding every job performance for over 10 years, I went from exceeding in my job performance to not doing my job, in a matter of 2 mos. I tried everything, from going the extra mile at work to having one on one discussions with her about my concerns with her actions but the bullying only got worse. I would ask how I could improve my performance but my manager would not tell me. I would make suggestions on how we could operate more efficiently, and she stole a couple of my ideas and got the credit from upper Management for them. If your boss doesn’t like you, it doesn’t matter what you do, they will find ways to make you look bad – it was best that I leave and look for a healthier work environment.

    Thanks again for a great article.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:54 am Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Marie. It was great to hear your story and how you handled the situation. Thanks again!

      January 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm Reply
  26. Sissi #

    Thank you for the valuable information. This has been an issue most recently that I am experiencing. I am doing what is right and following our companies policy on the proper submission of employee complaints to Human Resources. I hope that it is reviewed with fairness.

    Thanks again.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm Reply
    • Jared Cole #

      Thank you for the kind words, Sissi! I hope your situation gets resolved in a positive manner.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm Reply

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