Bullying has found its way into the workplace. This behavior is an ongoing problem that creates feelings of defenselessness in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity at work. This abuse or misuse of power includes behavior that intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates a worker. It often happens in front of others.

What can an employer do about this problem?

1. Create a zero tolerance anti-bullying policy.

2. When brought to your attention, address the bullying behavior immediately.

Reporting it should be strongly encouraged; complaints need to be taken seriously.

1. Hold awareness and prevention sessions for everyone on what bullying is.

2. Ensure that managers play an active role in what goes on within their departments.

3. Encourage open-door policies.

4. Clearly demonstrate commitment from the top about what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

Employees should do/know the following:

1. Identify what is going on. Recognize that you are being bullied and are not the source of the problem.

2. Understand that bullying is about control and power, not performance.

3. Document in detail occurrences with dates, times, places, what was said or done, and who was present at the time.

4. Work with your employer or trusted advocate to solve the problem.

No one needs to put up with a bully’s behavior. If you or someone you work with is being bullied, do something about it both for yourself and for those around you. Everyone should have the benefit of a healthy workplace.

Mallary Tytel President and Founder Healthy Workplaces Sioux Falls, S.D.

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