How to Deal with Workplace Bullying

We tend to spend many hours of our day at work, and while nobody loves their job, we all need to feel comfortable doing it and at ease during what we do. Work environments need to be supportive and organised in such a way as to promote teamwork and working toward goals without overwhelming pressure.

Whether you’re dealing with a critical supervisor focusing on a single employee or a group of employees pulling pranks on a single colleague, or ignoring their contributions to the project, workplace bullying not only exists but is seen in many workplaces.

What to do if you’re being bullied

The Trades Union Congress or TUC mentions that every organisation must have a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy. This means that no one should be placed in a position where they fear returning to work. There are a few steps that can be taken to improve that and make it possible:

Get to Know the Company Policy

The employer must have a policy on behaviour in the workplace, which includes bullying. You need to find the details you can. Then how does the process of informing supervisors work, and what steps can be expected to happen when you make a report?

Start Through Informal Channels

If it’s safe enough, the best thing you can do is to talk to the person who is bullying you. In some cases, they may not be aware of the effect this has on your psyche. Talking to them may help them reflect on how they’re affecting you, but if they don’t listen, you can move on to formal channels.

Inform HR or Management

In many cases, it may not be possible to deal with the person perpetrating the bullying up front. You must inform the proper people and use formal channels regarding the situation. Whether this means management or HR, they can take action when you can’t.

Keep the Evidence

Gather a record of the times, dates, places and more, such as names of witnesses of bullying, and this will provide the necessary data to substantiate your claims. Save any emails and documents and the times you were left out of relevant meetings or any bullying attempt.

Find Someone to Talk To

Bullying is very stressful, so you shouldn’t handle it alone. Having a confidante to talk to about it minimises the risks for your psyche.

Make an Official Complaint

If you feel like the problem wasn’t taken seriously by those you contacted at work, or the bullying didn’t stop, then you need to seek an official complaint through the usual grievance procedures.

What to Do if a Manager is Doing the Bullying

That is an unfortunate possibility, so you must consider the options. Those who experience the unpleasantness of having a bad boss know how much it affects you daily. Although bullying may happen at all levels of the workplace, the most common source of the practice are managers. This type of bullying happens due to the balance of power between managers and employees, so some managers like to use coercion to control their workforce.

Just because you work for the company and they are your managers doesn’t mean the manager gets a free pass. The policy of any good company will mean a designated colleague will be there for you to share your worries without fear of punishment for side-stepping a manager. You can show them the list of events and discuss if the behavior is acceptable, then choose where to go.

©Tell Jane



Tell Jane is an HR consultancy specialising in harassment, discrimination and bullying in the workplace.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tell Jane

Tell Jane is an HR consultancy specialising in harassment, discrimination and bullying in the workplace.