The Bully Behind the Desk

 Here’s some eye-opening news. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. A Yale University study found that victims of bullying are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than those who are not being bullied. The National Education Associations reports 160,000 children miss school each day for fear of being

Much has been written in recent years about bullying; many schools have developed a no-bully policy. However, that doesn’t stop the behavior any more than a no smoking signoutside a building stops people from smoking.

Let’s move past the tender school years and jump into the workforce. A 2014 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI,) reports that twenty-seven percent of workers “have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work.”  Not surprisingly, managers are the majority of offenders.

Now, let’s connect the dots. If students are missing school and contemplating suicide, how does that translate to working adults? Students can and should report all incidents of bullying to school authorities. But what does a worker do if the consequences are professional retaliation or job loss? Not everyone is in a positon where he or she can just get another job.

First, it’s important to recognize and define workplace bullying behavior. WBI defines it as conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating and includes actions that lead to work sabotage. This can come through verbal abuse or written text or emails.

If you think that these behaviors walk the line between bad actors and legal actions, you’re right

  • Document the activities, names, dates, events, and witnesses if applicable
  • Report activities to human resources or the highest authority above the person who is the bully
  • Seek the advice of an attorney
  • In extreme cases, call the police

Most of all, realize that you are not alone. The schoolyard bully does grow up, yet unfortunately, may not outgrow his or her reprehensible behavior. No one has the right to abuse another person on the playground or at work.

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