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ISSUE THREE, 2013

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Person being pushed down by giant thumb.

Bullying is aggressive, inappropriate, and unreasonable behavior. Workplace bullying:

  • Is fuelled by the bully’s need to control others
  • Can affect the whole office – the personal interests of the bully become more important than the work that needs to get done
  • Slowly exhale as you mentally release feelings of stress and anxiety from the body.
  • Has repeated behavior – the bullying becomes a pattern of interaction
  • Includes behavior that escalates to involve others who will side with the bully
  • Has many of the same characteristics of domestic violence – the abuser uses intimidation and manipulation to get what he or she wants

Some typical bullying behaviors in the workplace include:

  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Humiliation
  • Exclusion from your peer group
  • Harassment

Evaluate your situation

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you being singled out? Or, does this person treat everyone poorly?
  • Is it that the person has a difficult personality, but is otherwise reasonable?

Document your experience

If you are being bullied, get in the habit of recording the details of when you are bullied. Be sure to document:

  • Are you being singled out? Or, does this person treat everyone poorly?
  • Dates and times
  • Actions and details (for example, the sequence of events)
  • If any of your coworkers were present to witness the bullying
  • Whether or not the person who did the bullying treats any of your coworkers the same way

Working it out yourself

If you are being bullied and you don’t feel physically threatened, you can assert yourself by:

  • Telling the person how their behavior is negatively impacting your work
  • Setting boundaries – telling the person what types of behavior you will no longer tolerate
  • Warning the person that there will be consequences if his or her inappropriate behavior continues

Getting your supervisor involved

If you feel that you need assistance dealing with bullying, contact your immediate supervisor for help, and, when you talk to him or her, provide the following information:

  • Describe what is happening in detail, and provide evidence, if possible, of the bullying
  • Explain how the situation is impacting your ability to do your work
  • Stress that you want to find a constructive way of addressing the situation

Getting professional help

Remember, bullying is not your fault. It is someone else’s inappropriate behavior. If you are experiencing bullying and the effects have become overwhelming, contact your EAP. Help is available all day, all week, all year: 1-800-222-0364, TTY: 1-888-262-7848.