Week 35 -- "Bullying in the workplace" -- Grade 12

Week 35 -- "Bullying in the workplace" -- Grade 12

Suite360 Student Lesson Name: Bullying in the workplace.

Brief Summary: Seventy-five percent of employees have been affected by workplace bullying, whether as a target or a witness, according to new research conducted of 1,000 workers across the U.S. by researchers at the University of Phoenix.  Although someone might think of playgrounds and school cafeterias as common places for bullying, workplace bullying is occurring with growing frequency.  A key difference between schoolyard bullying and workplace bullying is that workplace bullying tends to be less physically harmful and more psychological and verbal in nature. In fact, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), bullying is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination on the job,  Because of this, it is important to address the growing trend of “bullying” with your child before they enter the workplace so they know how to work through it if it happens to them. 

Shared vocabulary: None

Key Takeaways:

  • Workplace bullying is defined as repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees). 
  • Bullying is intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine; bullying can create a risk to the health and safety of the employee(s).
  • For any behavior to be considered bullying, there must be repeated attacks against the target that creates a pattern of behavior.  Aggression, on the other hand, is simply a single act.  
  • Examples of behavior that would be considered workplace bullying:
    • Unwarranted or invalid criticism
    • Blame without factual justification
    • Exclusion or social isolation
    • Being shouted at, humiliated, or sworn at
    • Excessive monitoring or micro-managing
    • Being given unrealistic responsibilities and deadlines
  • Few people like to admit they are being bullied for fear of being accused of not being a team player, seen as causing trouble, or worried about retaliation from the bully, but it is important to recognize that you are being bullied.  
  • The following are things that you can help your child navigate how to address bullying behavior:
    • Size-up the situation and consider whether or not your own behavior is contributing to the situation.
    • If you are comfortable doing so, talk to the aggressor. Have a witness with you. The person may deny it or they may not even realize that their behavior is bullying.
    • Talk to a trusted person in the workplace who can advise you on what to do.
    • Write down what's happening: time, dates, and locations and include copies of any harassing evidence (paper trail)
      Report the behavior to a higher power.
    • If the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, consider moving to another department or organization.  Sometimes it is not worth jeopardizing your mental health and physical well-being to remain in a situation that is stressful.

Continue the Conversation:

  • Why is bullying behavior unacceptable regardless of the environment?
  • How do you recognize the differences between bullying and aggression? 
  • Why is it important to address the issue?  
  • What are the potential impacts of not doing anything vs. addressing the issue?

Additional resources/suggested reading: