Bullying in the workplace
Bullying doesn’t discriminate – it can happen to anyone, in any workplace environment. You could just as easily experience workplace bullying in an office, as you could on the factory floor or in a classroom. Managers, employees, teachers, and contractors can all be targets of bullying. And it’s harmful: hostile behaviour that affects an employee’s dignity and health creates a toxic working environment. You have a right to a safe and respectful working environment. If you are being bullied, the important thing is to do something about it. Identify the behaviour. Learn about ways to deal with it. Put a stop to it.
What is workplace bullying?
At Centennial we define bullying as personal harassment under our Violence Prevention Policy:“Any vexatious behaviour, in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures, that affects an employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity.”
- Psychological or personal harassment
- Deliberate hostility
- Need for control that negates legitimate business purposes.
- Workplace aggression
- Constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential.
- Aggressive misuse or abuse of power.
Workplace bullying is deliberate, repeated, hostile behaviour directed to you or your group that creates a risk to workplace safety.
- Unwarranted punishment
- Offensive jokes
- Withholding information or resources in an attempt sabotage someone’s work or damage a person’s reputation.
- Verbal attacks, yelling, profanity
- Angry when others don’t meet their expectations.
- Openly or indirectly threatening
- Excluding people or giving them the silent treatment.
- Intentionally embarrassing, demeaning or irritating people with words or gestures.
- Physical attacks
Bullying is not:
- Being tough and insisting on high standards.
- Management activities that include discipline.
- A personality clash, misunderstanding or miscommunication.
- Disagreeing or having different points of view.
- Normal work-related stress due to any number of things, like cutbacks or adapting to a new technology or work process/environment.
If you are being bullied in the workplace
What NOT to do:
- Don’t retaliate
- Don’t try to ‘win over’ other people to your side. The way in which you handle the situation will allow those people to make their own judgements.
- Don’t ignore the issue
- Raise the issue. Clearly and firmly communicate to the bully that the behaviour is wrong and must stop.
- Keep a factual journal of incidents with dates and times.
- Take note of anything that ‘doesn’t feel right’, from casual comments to inappropriate jokes or eye contact
- Include descriptive details such as body language, comments by bystanders, non-verbal actions and anything that was said
- Keep documents: emails and memos showing the number and frequency.
- Seek medical assistance and /or make use of Centennial College’s Employee Assistance Program if your health is being impacted.
Who are can be targets and why?
Bullying can happen between two managers, two colleagues, a group against a person, staff member bullying the manager and the reverse. There really is no such thing as a general victim personality profile, but the following is a list of traits that are common among people who are targeted:
- Someone who is capable and productive at work
- Someone who is dedicated to their work
- Someone with anon-confrontational and co-operative interpersonal style.
- Someone who is respected by their peers
- Someone who is well liked by those around them.
Bullies tend to be insecure and consider the capability of others a threat. They often target someone because of their competence or perceived success. This is why bullies ‘bring others down’ by doing or saying something that negates their capability.
Cost of workplace aggressions and bullying
An organization’s leadership plays an important role in preventing workplace bullying, and for good reason. The negative impact of bullying in the workplace results in:
- Absenteeism and sick time
- Staff turnover
- Risk for accidents or incidents
- Productivity and motivation
- Level of customer service and customer confidence
Leadership plays an important role in preventing workplace bullying.
Where to get support
- Employees may seek advise/support from Security, their Supervisor or Manager, Union Representative or Human Resources Consultant.
- File a complaint under the Violence Prevention Policy with Security or your supervisor
- For more details, go to Get Help Now.