Unfortunately for a lot of people bullying doesn’t end when they leave school. It can often carry into their adult life and into their workplace. In a lot of instances, workplace bullying can go unreported or misunderstood. For a person who is being bullied, it can be very hard for them to know where to turn. TopResume surveyed more than 1,000 working professionals. 96% of respondents said that have felt bullied at work.

Here are some helpful ways to recognize if you or any work colleague is being subjected to bullying in the workplace and how to deal with it.

Are you being bullied at work?

First of all, you need to be sure that you are actually being bullied. Making an accusation of bullying against someone is a serious accusation to make so you have to be sure. Getting a telling off over poor performance may be hard to take. However, once it is done in a professional manner it can’t really be classified as bullying. Trying to tell the difference between bullying and discussing your performance can be hard to distinguish especially if you work in sales which is target driven. Nonetheless, it is vital you can tell the difference between both before going forward with any case.

Generally, bullying occurs on a regular basis so it is important to determine whether your situation is because of an isolated incident or an extended spell of bullying.

What is classified as bullying at work?

According to Citizens Information Ireland, bullying in the workplace is repeated inappropriate behaviour that undermines your right to dignity at work. It can be done by one or more persons. It is aimed at an individual or a group to make them feel inferior to other people. Bullying can be verbal bullying, physical bullying or cyberbullying. It can take many different forms such as:

  • Social exclusion and isolation
  • Damaging someone’s reputation by gossip or rumours
  • Intimidation
  • Aggressive or obscene language
  • Repeated requests with impossible tasks or targets

How to put a stop to it?

Have a chat with the bully

First and foremost talk to the person that is treating you badly. They might not have realised how badly they have been treating you and their might not be any need to bring it to attention to any higher authority. If you don’t feel up to talking to them on your own ask a work colleague to come with you to be a mediator. This may not sort out the issue but there can be cases when workplace issues can be resolved amongst the staff members in question.

Talk to the right people

If talking to the bully didn’t work or is a non-runner then go about finding the right people to bring your case to. Enquire about speaking to your line manager or somebody from the HR department. Mention how it is affecting your work and making your workday very unpleasant. Speaking to people about it might not only mean the issue will get resolved more quickly but it will also be good for the person to just talk about it.

Pursue formal help

If it comes to the stage where no one will listen then it is time to take the matter further by looking for external support. A good place to contact is the Workplace Contact unit at the HAS. You could also get in touch with the Labour Relations Commission who deals with the vast majority of issues around bullying.

Always Keep calm and professional

Whatever way you go about handling the situation it is imperative that you keep calm. This is easier said than done but you don’t want to show any sign of weakness to the bully. Try to remain as rational and professional as possible and go through the right channels to find a solution. If you think you are being bullied, don’t suffer in silence and don’t leave it too long to speak up. Nobody should be a victim of bullying.

bullying being bullied at work