Are you a member of the workforce in Queensland affected by workplace bullying?
If so, there is a chance that over the stretch of your career you will experience further bullying in the workplace.
Bullying is, of course, never okay and is for this reason prevented by the laws of Queensland.
Bullying in the workplace can lead to unmanageable work environments and mental health issues.
Workplace bullying can appear in many different forms and to different effects, which is why it is so important that you are aware of what it is and how you can identify it.
This article will discuss workplace bullying and how you can identify and manage it to avoid it from continuing or reappearing in the future.
What is Workplace Bullying?
So, you may be wondering, what exactly is workplace bullying?
Workplace bullying is defined by the Queensland government as “repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.”
In simpler terms, this means that a person or a group of people is consistently causing you to feel unsafe or unhappy in the work environment.
There are several key terms in this definition that can help you to define whether or not what you are experiencing is considered bullying.
Firstly, for it to be considered bullying it must be repeated. This term in the definition describes whether or not it was simply a difficult encounter or a case of bullying.
The behaviour is repeated if simply has occurred on multiple occasions. It does not have to be single behaviour repeated, however, but can be a multitude.
Other terms discussed in this section of the Queensland Government site include what is considered unreasonable, to which it states:
“Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is:
Types of Bullying in the Workplace
As discussed, bullying in the workplace can come in several types, all of which affect people in different ways. These types may include:
Verbal: Verbal bullying takes place when an individual is subjected to mean comments or practically any behaviour related to the spoken word.
This can include comments, mockery, teasing, gossiping, exclusion through spoken behaviours, or any other abusive speech.
Intimidation: Intimidation is another type of bullying that can take place in the work environment and can be very damaging to an individual’s mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Intimidation encompasses a range of behaviours one can display that make a co-worker feel unsafe in their workspace.
These may include threats, social exclusion, spying or watching, or the general invasion of a worker’s privacy.
Physical: Physical bullying is another type of bullying that may take place in the work environment.
Physical bullying may also be displayed in several different behaviours, so it is again essential that you can identify what they may be.
Physical bullying may be hitting, kicking, hair pulling, or any other action that causes physical harm with the intention to do so.
This form of bullying is not as common in a work environment as it may be in others but can still occur!
Institutional: Institutional bullying is another type of bullying that may occur in a work environment.
Institutional bullying takes place when the owners or managers (or any individual in a position of power) allow or may even encourage bullying to take place.
How to Identify Bullying in the Workplace
Now that you know what workplace bullying is, how can you go about identifying it both in current situations and down the track?
This process can be quite difficult due to the previously discussed range of forms that it can present itself in.
It is important, however, for your self-preservation and the protection of other co-workers that you can effectively identify when bullying is taking place.
Identifying bullying can be a challenge, however. Say, as an example, what if the person bullying me is just joking around or has a sense of humour like this?
One way to identify bullying is to put yourself in the shoes of another person. Say you were witnessing this person treat another person the way you are being treated.
Would you consider it bullying? Would you see it as unreasonable and something that needs to be stopped?
If so, you may be experiencing bullying and should work towards managing it!
How to Manage Bullying at Work
Now that I have identified that I am being bullied at work, how can I manage it so that it comes to an end and doesn’t start again?
Some co-workers, as terrible as it is, will target other people to either reflect insecurities, make themselves look better, or to simply have some fun being mean to others.
Some others may cause some serious harm to the well-being of their co-workers without even realising it.
When you are mentally prepared to take action against this person, you may want to have some steps so that you know how to go about it.
For starters, approach this person and ask them to stop with the behaviours. You can simply just walk up to them and politely address the issue and tell them to stop it.
Some people may not even be aware that their behaviours are hurting others, so this is a great place to start.
If this doesn’t work, you may then approach your boss, manager, or higher authority at your place of work and report the issue.
If this individual has been sending you offensive or aggressive emails, letters, or phone messages, make sure you are keeping these on hand so you can present this as evidence to your higher-ups.
Once you have done this, your HR department or whoever is responsible for employee issues will likely need to investigate.
During this time, keep away from this person to avoid further unpleasant encounters.
Thriving in a work environment can be difficult.
Having a co-worker, a group of co-workers or even a boss engaging in bullying behaviours towards you can make it so much more of a challenge.
This is why it is so important that you know how to identify and manage bullying in the workplace so that you and all of your co-workers can come to work without fear or sadness in the future!
Experienced workplace bullying? Be referred to the best employment lawyers on the Sunshine Coast