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How workplace bullying affects mental health

How workplace bullying affects mental health

How workplace bullying affects mental health
April 07
11:00 2022

It seems like the issue of bullying is everywhere. It can happen at any time and at any place. We have all heard the bullying stories which take place at school or on social media. However, we don’t often hear about the bullying that happens in the workplace.

Workplace bullying happens more often than you think. One may ask, what is workplace bullying? Workplace bullying is defined as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment by one or more employees of an employer: abusive conduct that takes the form of verbal abuse or behaviors perceived as intimidating or humiliating,” according to Workplacebullying.org.

America has done a great job at normalizing workplace bullying and abuse. About 30 percent of adults in America are bullied at work. This means 76.3 million workers are affected by workplace bullying as well 43 percent of remote workers, according to the 2021 WBI U.S. workplace bullying survey.

Some examples of workplace bullying include assigning unreasonable duties or workload, establishing impossible deadlines, setting up an employee to purposely fail, blocking promotions or applications and even purposely giving wrong information or withholding information, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Work can be very stressful. Adding bullying into the equation makes the stress level even worse and causes a hostile working environment. Those being bullied at work may feel depressed, have symptoms of anxiety, difficulty sleeping and suicidal thoughts. 

Those whose mental health is affected due to workplace bullying may have a drastic change in their behavior. Some people become aggressive or anti-social. Others may turn to alcohol and other substances. Studies have shown a connection between workplace bullying and substance abuse.

Now that we know what workplace bullying is, let’s address how to come against it. Standing up against bullies isn’t always easy, especially if the bully is your boss or manager. However, there are ways that you can report workplace bullying. The following steps include:

One-on-one sit-down: Try to resolve the issue with the bully in a one-on-one setting. You can get your concerns out this way. During this meeting, ask them, in a calm manner, to stop the bullying act. If things get hostile, do not continue with the meeting. 

Review the company’s policy: Every company has policies and it has rules related to bullying and harassment. Read and review it and see if it tells you how to file a complaint against bullying. 

Documentation: Documentation in a workplace environment is important, especially when it comes to bullying in the workplace. Regarding the issue of bullying, it is important you let the person know that what they are doing is making you feel uncomfortable and is creating a hostile work environment. It is important to document this because this is your proof that the bully is aware they are making you feel bullied. 

Climb that ladder: If the issue of bullying persists, it is time to climb that ladder and take it up to management. If your manager is bullying you, take it up with their boss. Everyone has a boss to report back to. If there is no boss they report to, take it up with human resources. Meetings are great, but after the meeting, it is important to do a follow-up email listing the things you all discussed and addressed.

Final step: If management or HR fails to stop the bullying, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It will investigate and since you have all of the documentation, it will have all the information that is needed from you. 

During all these steps, it is always important to remember to stay calm and you can get through this. Bullying is not okay and being a victim of bullying is the worst. For more information about bullying and how to stop it, please visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/

Featured Illustration By Miranda Thomas

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Chelsie Burroughs

Chelsie Burroughs

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