Bullying in the workplace has become an all too common problem. A number of studies show that up to 80% of the victims in bullying are teenagers or children who are usually found within the premises of their workplace. The most common targets are teachers, but other people like recruitment agencies, human resource personnel and managers are also targets. Bullying can have a very severe negative impact on the productivity and self-esteem of those being bullied, especially if the victim is someone who has special or prolonged challenges at work.
Unfortunately bullying in the workplace is becoming more widespread, as many employees feel it is not very funny to joke about someone's appearance or other form of teasing. Bullying can be very hurtful for the people who are being targeted and can have a lasting affect on them, even if the person bullying them has not been formally dismissed in the past. Many employers now have no-takeout policies in place for this type of behaviour and have established immediate dismissal for those who engage in such practices.
One of the main forms of bullying in the work place is sexual harassment. This is when one individual in a position of authority repeatedly asks another individual either directly or indirectly, that they "go down there" or have sex with them. This is a clear example of sexual harassment and is illegal in almost every country in the world. It is also likely to have a significant impact on a co-worker's morale and productivity.
Bullying in the workplace can also come in the form of psychological bullying. This is when a bullying victim develops a pattern of worrying about what their colleagues think or are thinking behind their back. For example, a junior colleague might make comments to their colleagues about a particular person, or about the person in general, in order to try and make themselves look good. They may discuss someone's outfit or hair colour or comment on a mistake they have made. Psychological bullying can be far more intrusive than physical bullying as it can cause significant psychological distress to the target individual.
Workplace bullying can have other ramifications apart from actual physical violence. A victim can develop low self esteem and this can impact on their work performance. They may become afraid to ask for assistance at work and could start to dread meetings and tasks altogether. If a victim has been the subject of workplace bullying they may feel reluctant to express negative opinions in public, and this could have a serious impact on their work performance. In extreme cases, the victim's performance could be so poor that they may be replaced.
In order to prevent the occurrence of psychological and physical bullying in the workplace, bosses and managers need to take a number of steps. It is important that the employer has a zero tolerance policy for bullying, as any form of bullying is illegal. The employer must also have clear rules and regulations in place to tackle any complaints of sexual harassment. If a member of staff complains about any forms of bullying or sexual harassment in the workplace, they should be able to lodge a complaint with the Employment Tribunal within a reasonable time period.
Another key strategy that bosses need to employ when dealing with workplace bullying is to take action against the bully. It may be a difficult decision to take, but if a boss believes that the bully is taking advantage of their position or co-worker, they should remove them from their post or give them their walking off penalty. Removing a bully from their job will generally improve the victim's employment situation. In some cases, the victim may even find that they are more appreciated at work by their colleague who has taken action to end workplace bullying.
Although bullying is no reflection on the employers or the business as a whole, it is still a workplace safety hazard which can cause long term effects on employees if not addressed properly. The best solution for dealing with this kind of problem is for an employer to address the issue when it arises rather than waiting until it becomes severe enough to be a danger to both the worker and other staff. By taking action straight away, any possible consequences will also be addressed.
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