Bullying

Bullying is no longer confined to the playground. It can happen at any time, anywhere, by anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religion. While there is increased media and public involvement to stop bullying in schools, and the recognition of or Pink Shirt Day and International Day of Pink,26 very little is said about the bullying of adults, especially in the workplace.

Being the victim of a bully can be a devastating experience and can affect every aspect of one’s life; the emotional and psychological impacts can result in reduced job performance, anxiety, depression and even suicide.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, over one-third of people have experienced workplace bullying, and a boss, supervisor or superior instigates 72% of these incidents. In Canada, 40% of workers experience bullying on a weekly basis.27 Adult bullies can be sly, subtle and difficult to expose; but they have one thing in common: they want to hurt someone.28

Bullying can be:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Verbal. This type of bullying is very common and can be so subtle. Verbal abuse is very difficult to document and
    usually occurs when there is no one else around. Verbal bullying includes sarcasm or demeaning comments, false
    allegations, cruelty, humiliation, spreading rumors, ongoing harassment, intimidation, isolation from others,
    and threats about job security. The bullying is deliberate;

the goal is to gain power and control over the person and to show him or her who’s boss.29

If you are being bullied:

  • Any inappropriate physical or sexual behaviour must be reported to the police.
  • Document all incidents in detail.
  • Try to minimise contact with bully.
  • Do not meet the bully alone; try to ensure other people are within earshot.
  • If called to meet with the bully, ask the union representative or a trusted work colleague to accompany you.
  • If the behaviour is escalating and impacting your personal and professional life, report it to your supervisor.
  • If your supervisor is the bully, report it to upper management.
  • If your employer has a ‘whistleblower’ policy, report the person immediately.
  • Contact a union representative for support.
  • Follow up with your physician.
  • Talk with family and trusted friends.
  • Seek counselling or psychological support.

26 International Day of Pink is held every second Wednesday in April and Pink Shirt Day is held in February.
27 Lee and Brotheridge, 2006
28 Scheff, 2014
29 www.bullyingstatisitcs.org.

Related Articles

Self-Injury In Children By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Catherine’s elementary school teacher noticed cuts on Catherine’s arm and asked what had happened. Catherine responded that she had fallen off her bike into some thorns. The teacher did not think any more about it. But later, she noted that Catherine always wore long-sleeved shirts and long pants even when

Read More »

Living Well with Dementia

Dementia Aware: what people with dementia need to know to live well with dementia   Dementia is not a life sentence; it is just another detour in your life’s journey, and you can continue to live a full and happy life. As the dementia changes, you will have to compensate

Read More »