Bullying doesn't only happen to children, it happens to adults, too. Bullying can happen in workplaces. They are often spiteful, offensive, mocking, or intimidating, as they follow a pattern. It often is tended to be directed at one person or a few people. Examples of bullying includes targeted practical jokes, not being clear about work duties, continued denial of requests for break times without deadlines, threats, humiliations, verbal abuse, overly harsh or unjust criticism. Existing federal or state laws currently only protect workers from physical harm or when the target is in a group of minorities. Bullying in the workplace is often verbal or psychological in nature, and is often not visible to others.
- Verbal behaviors include mockery, humiliation, jokes, gossip, or spoken abuse.
- Intimidation includes threatening behaviors, social exclusion, invasions of privacy, or spying.
- Work performance related bullying includes wrongful blame, work sabotage, or interference, stealing or taking credit for ideas.
- Institutional bullying happens when the targeted worker is in a situation where the workplace encourages bullying behavior to take place. this bullying may include unrealistic production goals, forced overtime, or singling out workers that aren't able to keep up.
Signs of Bullying Behavior
Some tangible evidence that your coworkers are bullying you include
- Co-workers becoming quiet when you are in the room, or leaving the room when you enter.
- Being left out of office culture, such as chitchat, parties, or team lunches.
- Supervisor or manager being overly attentive to you, and asking for a one to one meet up.
- Asked to do tasks outside of what is normally requested, to the point where you begin doubting yourself.
- Asked to do difficult or seemingly pointless tasks or ridiculed when they can't be done.
- Missing files, documents, personal belongings.
Common Generalities of Bullying in the Workplace
The "bullies" of the workplace are often more common to be a non-minority status male. Both female and male bullies are more likely to target women, and sixty one percent of bullying comes from the bosses or the supervisors whereas thirty three percent comes from co-workers. Abuse of power is frequent from managers who bully through gossip, work sabotage, or criticism. Bullying can occur between people working closely together but it also happens across departments as well. Often, bullying occurs more frequently in work environments that involve frequent change, have stressful workloads, unclear policies about employee behavior, have poor communication and relationships, or have employees who are bored or worried about job security.
Like all other types of bullying, there are physical and mental health effects to those that have experienced this bullying. This is not only limited to the victim, or the bully, but to the bystanders and the supporters of bullying as well. Bullied kids may feel sick or anxious before work or when they think about work. They may have physical symptoms such as digestive issues of high blood pressure. Some develop high risk for type 2 diabetes, have insomnia, or have somatic symptoms such as headaches and decreased appetite. The mental health effects include thinking and worrying about work constantly, dreading work and wanting to stay home, losing interest in activities. Additionally, increased risk for depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and self doubt may occur if the situation is prolonged.
Hostility to Asian Americans in the Workplace
As incidents of violence and discrimination against the members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are on the rise, this trend is pervading the workplace as well. The IBV, or the Institute for Business Value found that the U.S. work environment for Asian American professionals is uncomfortably challenging. Responses from the 1455 Asian American professionals surveyed were reported to be:
- 80 percent of Asian Americans found discriminations based on ethnicity or race
- 60 percent or more feel that they need to work harder than the non-Asian counterparts to succeed because of their identity
- 74 percent of White respondents felt empowered and supported professionally compared to 50 percent of the Asian Americans.
The IBM study finds that proactive action should be taken by the businesses and the HR leaders to improve the equality and the inclusions of Asian Americans of the workplace. Some recommended actions include the intentional building of the leadership pipelines of Asian Americans and reducing the implicit bias in managers. The discrimination in the workplace is systemic, and the strengthening of relationships should take place in supportive relationships.
Most workplace bullying can be characterized as emotional bullying. Legal jurisdictions have defined emotional abuse as "causing fear through specific traits, such as causing fear through intimidation, threatening physical harm to oneself or others, destruction of property, and forced isolation from family and friends. Therefore, please do not dismiss workplace bullying as a minimal problem, as it is a form of abuse that can cause massive psychological and physical damage if left unresolved.
How To Stand Against Bullying in the Workplace
Bullying is never to be blamed on the victim, as no one deserves to be targeted as a victim. It is common to feel powerless and unable to take any action to stop it. However, one must not be discouraged to take action against bullying. These are some steps that one can use when they feel or are being bullied in their workplaces.
1. Document the Bullying.
2. Save physical evidence.
3. Report the Bullying
4. Confront the Bully
5. Review Work Policies
6. Seek Legal Guidance
7. Reach out to others.