How to spot workplace bullying

Have you ever noticed how little in life is black and white?

Much of day to day life is opinion. It is your own unique interpretation of what you are taking in through your senses.

The thorny subject of bullying is one such issue.

What some people may see as a laugh, a bit of banter, as some describe it, may be seen as a cruel form of victimisation by another.

Thankfully, though we live in an era where, in some part due to the web, we can debate such matters and find information about things that we couldn’t have done in the past – it has taken the lid off the toxic subject of bullying.

The bully used to be seen as the thug in the playground, but the overbearing boss now has the title just as much, and rightly so, as workplace bullying is harmful, targeted behaviour, which can wreck lives.

It might be offensive, mocking, or intimidating, but it is more than a one-off. It forms a pattern, and it tends to be directed at one person or a group of people.

Good examples include targeted practical jokes, being deliberately misled about work duties, such as incorrect deadlines, continued denial of requests for time off or even threats, humiliation, and other verbal abuse.

Bullying can also include being micromanaged and being on the end of harsh criticism.

However, you have to take a step back and work out if is justified. After all, some management monitoring or criticism may be justified.

For example, objective and constructive criticism and disciplinary action related to workplace behaviour or job performance would not be considered bullying.

It is worth adding also that bullying can be subtle.

We at Dale and Newbery always say a way to identify it is to consider how others watching on might view what’s happening. Simply, if most people would see a specific behaviour as unreasonable, it’s generally classed as bullying.

So we say to people, seek the views of those around you at work, if you can, to work out if you are being bullied.

Also, if you see bullying don’t turn a blind eye either.

Bullying leads to health problems and in extreme cases some people have even ended their lives because of it.

It is up to us all to ensure that the toxic workplace bully cannot thrive.

If you are a victim of workplace bullying or wish to know more about any employment issues, we at Dale and Newbery are here to help. Contact our employment law team today.

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