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How to Overcome Being Bullied in the Workplace

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Category: Blog, Bullying

WorkplaceWho would have imagined that as you grew up and went to work that you might get bullied but it happens. Sometimes that bullying is very intentional and sometimes it may just be an overly enthusiastic person trying to raise productivity or standards and not really thinking through the consequences of their strategies.

So, what can you do if you are being bullied at work?

1. Check company policies and legal options.

Some workplaces have policies around what may be considered acceptable or overly aggressive behaviour. They may be common policy guidelines in certain cases, and in some countries there may be various anti-discrimination laws that allow you to bring cases in the courts or tribunals.

2. Seek mediation.

Most bullying cases do not get to court. A process called mediation is generally offered by companies, governments departments, or tribunals and courts to see if the matter can be settled and resolved before courts have their time taken up with such cases.

Mediation can actually be very successful in many cases. When the person bullying realises that the complaint may be serious, they may reconsider their behaviour and offer an apology or agree to some changes so you will be more protected in future.

Companies and institutions are generally keen to resolve the situation. If a bullying case goes to court it can be very expensive, time consuming and damaging to employers so they tend to try and get the parties to settle the matter before it gets to that stage. There is also the added problem that, if a case was successful and proved you had been bullied on the employer’s time, you could also sue the employer for compensation for letting it happen. No company wants that reputation, the loss of income defending the case or to have to pay out compensation.

3. Get help and advice from your union or professional body.

Perhaps you may be in a union or professional body that could intervene on your behalf should you find yourself being bullied. Having someone advocate on your behalf can take out some of the stress of the situation.

4. Put it in writing.

If you are complaining about being bullied directly to your employers, put it in writing and get a read receipt if you send it by email so you have proof that the complaint has been received and read. Having read your complaint, your employer may have a legal obligation to investigate and try to resolve the bullying situation. If they ignore the written complaint, it looks bad for them should you begin any legal proceedings at a later stage.

Bullying in the work place is a common problem. It is also rewarded in the commercial world as it can be seen as increasing productivity and driving the workers harder. But no one wants to experience a poor work environment.

Hopefully in your country you have a legal right to be protected in the work place. If that is not the case, you may consider that the only thing to do is move jobs or change where you are working if possible. If that is your only option, take it if you can, because continual exposure to physical and mental stress through bullying can seriously damage to your physical and mental health.

Try to find an ally – whether a friend, family member or work colleague, or enlist the help of a professional therapist to help you cope with any emotional stress.

The important things to do are:

Take action
Make yourself safe
Do what you can to make the workplace safe for all

For more help with overcoming bullying, see my Bullying Recovery Hypnosis downloadable program.

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