Updated 4/9/2020

The air in the office is thick with the uncomfortable silence or tenseness you feel.  You just witnessed one of your coworkers being bullied. 

Maybe it was the department manager. Maybe it was a co-worker in a meeting. 

Maybe the bullied worker was you.

“(To the haters) You are not extinguishing the bright
of mankind, you’re simply burying yourself in an unmarked grave.”

~ Stefan Molyneux

Below are several curated articles highlighting the prevalence of workplace bullying behaviors with suggested actions for the targeted worker.

  1. Removing areas of responsibilities without cause.
  2. Constantly changing work guidelines.
  3. Work interference that prevents work from being completed
  4. Giving impossible workloads with difficult to meet deadlines
  5. Assigning unreasonable duties or workload which are unfavorable to one person causing unnecessary work-related stress.
  6. Deliberate Underutilization – creating a feeling of uselessness or lack of value to the workplace.

4 Lessons I Learned From Being Bullied At Work, by Luisa Zhou

This article highlights several key lessons that the bullied worker should remember, despite the difficult working environment:

  1. Acknowledge to yourself that you are not responsible for the bully’s behavior.
  2. Be aware that the bullied worker is a valued employee and the bully may feel threatened.
  3. Turn to trusted friends or family, yet maintain confidentiality at work.
  4. Plan your exit strategy, just in case. Take control of your future.

The Cold Hard Facts about Workplace Bullying and How to Handle It, by Amy Blackburn

This article highlights some key points in a 2014 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute, which indicates that 69 percent of workplace bullies are men, while 60 percent of bullying targets are women. Suggested actions to address workplace bullying include:

  1. Maintain confidentiality
  2. Keep detailed records

How to Stop Workplace Bullying, by David Maxfield

What can a bullied employee do?   This article suggests that 20% of targeted workers indicated that coping with a bully costs them 6+ hours of extra work per week. according to the VitalSmarts survey. Calculate 6 hours x average of 48 work weeks x average hourly wage and the organization costs are expensive for a single employee in a year. Now calculate times 50 to 60 percent of your organization’s workforce.  Suggested actions include:

  1. Keep a detailed record of bullying episodes, including dates, times, witnesses and detailed actions, along with the resulting impact of such behavior.
  2. Stick to the facts.
  3. Articulate your viewpoint in your own words, but keep it simple and again – stick to the facts.
  4. Be as specific regarding the impact the behavior has on performance – yours, your peers and teammates. Again – state the facts.
  5. If you do speak with the workplace bully, ask for a commitment to cease the bullying behavior. Discuss the possibility that it will take time to change behavior, but it is expected. Explain how slip-ups will be handled in the future.

When Bosses are Bullies, Fight Back, by Sandy Smith

Should all bullied employees fight back?   This article highlights the results of a study that indicates that employees who address their workplace bullies and the associated behavior report more job satisfaction than those who are unable to fight back. The article suggests that the respect coworkers who observe the brave employees who fight back provide a supportive work environment for the targeted employees.