Bullies in the Workplace: How to Cope

Sep 19, 2012, 07:00 ET from RANDSTAD CANADA

Randstad Canada offers advice for those dealing with bullies in the workplace.

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In today's competitive workplace, dealing with bullies in the workplace can be an unfortunately reality for some. So what should you do if you find yourself to be a victim of bullying in the workplace? Randstad Canada, the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services, offers helpful advice to workers dealing with workplace bullying.

According to the results of a recent study by CareerBuilder.ca, 45 per cent of Canadian workers say they have felt bullied at work. One-third of these workers report suffering health-related problems as a result of workplace bullying and 26 per cent say they decided to quit their jobs outright in order to escape the situation.

"Bullying can take various forms, like constant criticism, being yelled at in front of other people, or even physical abuse. Before it escalates and creates real damage to your mental and physical health, you need to assess the situation and to take appropriate measures to find a resolution", says Hanna Vineberg, Vice President Central Region, Randstad Canada.

If you are currently dealing with workplace bullying Vineberg suggests following the steps below:

Speak up for yourself:
Don't let it slide. If someone in your office verbally abuses you or one of your co-workers, speak up. Saying, "I'm sorry. I don't think I understood what you meant," will force the person to explain why a hurtful joke was funny, making everyone around understand that the comment was out of line. If a bully yells at you or tries to intimidate you in any way, respond firmly, directly and concisely: "Please don't speak to me that way," or "That's inappropriate," will do the trick.

Keep a factual record of what transpires. Be sure to write down:

  • The date, time and what happened in as much detail as possible;
  • The names of witnesses;
  • And the outcome of the event.

Remember, it is not just the character of the incidents, but the number, frequency, and especially the pattern that can reveal the bullying or harassment.

When the direct approach does not resolve the issue, mediation or discussion with a third party may be required. Report the harassment to the person identified in your workplace policy, your supervisor, or a delegated manager. A neutral and independent person can assist resolution through discussion of the issues.

According to Vineberg, to ensure reprehensible behaviour is not tolerated, it needs to be openly talked about. "Leaders need to be accountable, vigilant, and make sure they clearly set the example, promote corporate values and communicate internal policies in a clear way in order to foster a positive and open working environment.''

About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit randstad.ca