Nobody deserves to work in an environment where they are subject to bullying or harassment at any time. Just as it is in schools, bullying is unacceptable for adults in the workplace, and your employer has an obligation to protect you against this and deal with it swiftly.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the employer either doesn’t know about the bullying or doesn’t know how to best deal with it to protect their employees. As a result, it can go on for some time and severely affect a person’s quality of life.
Sometimes, it’s advisable to speak to an employment lawyer to help you decide the best course of action against the bully or the employer.
If you are being bullied or harassed at work, you might want to consider carrying out the following steps:
1. Speak Up
First and foremost, tell somebody what has been going on. To enable your employer to protect you, they need to know the facts of the situation. Speak to your supervisor, HR rep, or employer.
Alongside this, tell a friend or family member who can offer you support to deal with the situation. If the bullying or harassment gets worse and is not being dealt with, speak to a lawyer about your rights.
During a tough time, such as being the victim of bullying or harassment, it’s crucial that you take good care of yourself. It’s likely that your emotional well-being is already at an all-time low, and so you may have adopted bad habits that negatively affect your physical health, such as drinking or smoking to deal with the stress of it all.
Look at coping mechanisms that may help you feel better and more secure, whether that be a hobby or surrounding yourself with supportive loved ones. If you ever feel that you are unable to withstand the stress, speak to your doctor; therapy could benefit you.
3. Keep a Record
Although this seems hard as you likely don’t want to remember the unkind behaviour towards you, you should keep a record of when the bullying occurs and what exactly happens. This will enable you to present a solid case when the employer needs to know the details of the situation. A diary can also help you express the emotions you have been feeling and can be a way of offloading and lessening the internal stress.
4. Investigate the Process
If you are to make a case against the bully, it’s best that you understand the process of what will happen when you report this to the employer. Look at the policies that your workplace has set out for dealing with such issues.
You may want to take legal advice when looking at this process because, in some scenarios where the employer has not protected you, you will need help in exiting your job and claiming monetary compensation to help you get by while you secure a fresh start elsewhere.
5. Accept That Colleagues May Not Be Supportive
Part of dealing with emotional turmoil is the concept of acceptance. Try to accept that this may be a lonely battle, and although some work friends may be supportive at first, they may be reluctant to stand up and support you or give evidence against another colleague because they rely on their jobs and income. Don’t take this personally. Accept that you can and will get through this on your own and with the help of an employment lawyer.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace can be difficult to cope with as most adults spend considerable time at work. You also rely on your income and cannot easily escape the perpetrator. However, remember that you do not have to deal with this alone and there are steps you can take to achieve a better future and lawyers you can contact.