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Steps to take if you are bullied at work

It sounds like a high school problem, but bullying never goes away. Even when you make your way into the working world, you'll find that some people don't treat you with the respect you deserve. And in many cases, they cross the line into "bullying territory."

If you're bullied at work, you have two options:

  • Put up with it and hope that it goes away
  • Take immediate action to ensure that it doesn't remain a problem

Even though you don't want to cause a stir, don't lose sight of the fact that you did nothing wrong. You have the right to stand up for yourself, and, in most cases, it's the best thing you can do.

Here are some simple steps to take if you're dealing with a workplace bully:

  • Don't ignore it: If you do this, there's a chance the bully will remain aggressive with the hope of getting a rise out of you. Instead of sitting back, tell the person you know what they are doing and you're not going to stand for it any longer. Sometimes this is all it takes for them to leave you alone.
  • Read your employee handbook: There's no guarantee, but there's a good chance your handbook will include some language on workplace bullying, such as a formal process for handling the issue. Scour your handbook the second you feel that you're a victim of bullying.
  • File a report with your HR department: Even though you may consider it a last resort, it's a critical step to take. Make it clear to your HR department that you want the issue taken care of and that you will be following up with them. When you put the ball in their court, you're doing everything you can at the company-level to solve your problem.

It's your hope that taking these steps will result in your bully leaving you (and everyone else) alone for good. But if that doesn't happen, you may need to take legal action to protect yourself. This is particularly true in the event that your company takes action against you, the victim, such as by terminating your employment or taking away job responsibilities.

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