Bullying isn’t limited to the schoolyard. It can be experienced in multiple environments throughout your life. When it happens in personal situations, such as with a stranger or even a family member, you may be willing to aggressively stand up for yourself.
But what do you do if it happens in the workplace? What if a supervisor in a professional setting bullies you? Simply because you are younger, have less experience, and are in a subordinate position does not mean that you should be subjected to mistreatment in the office.
You should not dread going to work because you are worried about what kind of torments your manager is planning for you. Everyone is entitled to a safe workplace that is free from bullying and harassment.
Read below for steps to help you handle a workplace bully.
Look at the situation objectively
Take a step back and examine the situation from an objective perspective. Is this person harassing everybody or does it seem limited to you? Are you being overly sensitive? Maybe your supervisor just has a bad attitude and it has nothing to do with you personally.
Working in a professional environment puts you in contact with many different people with many different personality types. You will not be friends with everyone in the workplace, which is completely acceptable.
Don’t confuse harassment with what could simply be a personality clash.
Take a stand
If it is indeed bullying that is going on, don’t let yourself be an easy target. Take a stand and make it clear how you expect to be treated. Be polite and professional, but stay firm. Prepare a response phrase or two for future situations and practice them a few times. When confronted by the bully, keep your response straight and simple so that there is no doubt about your expectations.
When you notice that your manager or a coworker is bullying or harassing you, document it. Keep track of what she or he says and does as well as what you say and do. List any witnesses to the encounter along with the time, date and location.
Alert a higher-up
Alert your immediate supervisor if a coworker is bullying you. If you are being harassed or bullied by your immediate supervisor, or if your supervisor fails to take action, talk to the next person on the ladder or the Human Resources department. Be ready to provide your documentation of the occurrences. The HR department will usually handle situations like this and try to take steps to keep it from escalating.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace is unacceptable in any situation, but more so if you are being mistreated by your supervisor or manager. If you have been a victim of harassment, contact a local Kansas City attorney with experience in employment law for advice about what you can do and to take action.