Since most of us spend many hours per day at our workplace, it is essential for our wellbeing that it is a healthy and positive environment to work in. Most jobs require interaction with other workers in some capacity and on various levels such as peers or supervisors. Normal and positive interactions with coworkers occur regularly, but there are such things as negative interactions that can eventually turn into workplace bullying. Workplace bullying occurs when one or more people become the target of abusive behavior that can take many forms. The bully may intimidate, threaten, sabotage, or verbally and physically abuse their target. Bullying in the workplace is often thought of as doing something to a coworker, but it can also consist of preventing the coworker from doing their job. Workplace bullying is mistreatment that occurs regularly, consists of increasing aggression, harassment, intension to cause harm, and is often carried out by someone who has power over the target.
What Motivates Workplace Bullying?
The cause of workplace bullying differs from one person to the next. Some bullies target people they consider weak and who they think are not likely to fight back whereas others may focus on people they consider a threat in the workplace. Most bullies are manipulative and act this way in order to make themselves feel more powerful or important. This can also put a damper on other coworker relationships as it can lead to them having to side with either the target or the bully or create a hostile workplace environment amongst everyone.
What to do if you’re being bullied in the Workplace
The first step in handling bullying in the workplace is to go to either your supervisor (or their supervisor if your supervisor is the problem) or Human Resources. Make sure you have specific examples of the bullying behaviour and harassment and, if possible, a diary of incidents.
There is an obligation on your employer to handle the issue as effectively and efficiently as possible, but there can be instances when they do not.
Sometimes the workplace bullying may not be addressed or, if the bully doesn’t feel there will be significant consequence it will continue or may increase. In some cases, your employer may allow their relationship with the bully to influence their behavior and not take your concerns seriously or even make you feel as though you are reporting something false.
This is where it can be helpful for you to engage an experienced employment lawyer to help you resolve the bullying problem. A legal professional with specific experience in the area of employment law can give you the advice you need to successfully resolve the problem one way or another. You should start with an initial consultation to determine whether you and the employment lawyer will be a good fit and for them to understand how they can help you.
If you are experiencing bullying at work and would like to talk to an experienced employment lawyer, call Amanda at Cairns Employment Lawyers on 07 4052 0700.