Never showered with love, poor upbringing, family issues, personal issues, obsession about power, easily intimidated. Those are just a few reasons why people harass and bully their colleagues at work. No matter what, bullying will always surface in various ways, some even unknown to the victims and offenders.
In this post I am going to expound a little more about the types of harassment and how to deal with them. Now some of you might say “Oh I have never harassed or bullied anyone!”, think again. Take Munnee for instance, he came to visit a sick colleague in good faith and he left with an impression that she liked him.
Like they say, what happened next is history. You could have done it out of ignorance. Yes you could have done it unknowingly. Chances are that you have harassed your colleague before but you just did not know.
Basically workplace harassment includes unwanted physical or verbal behavior regarding these issues:
- Gender Identity
- Race / Skin Colour
- Physical or mental disability
All these above are very sensitive issues, should you insult someone in relation to the above mentioned, it will be considered workplace harassment. Some people have the illusion that demand for sex at workplaces is the only form of workplace harassment. No. That is not the case.
However, should you be caught up in workplace harassment moments, you can act like this:
- Keep records of every workplace harassment moment. It is advisable to take detailed records that is to say who was harassing you, type of harassment, time and date, whereabouts, be sure to have witnesses. These will later on help you build a case against the harasser.
- Talk to your supervisor or line manager. The whole idea is to have someone superior informed and involved. Not everyone in the company is pro-workplace harassment, there will be some who do not support it at all.
- If your line manager or supervisor is the bully, please proceed to their superiors. Like mentioned above, the whole idea is to have someone more superior informed and involved.
- If you feel that nothing has been done about your harassment, then you can proceed to other organs of the company such as management, Human Resource (HR). These have higher authority and mind about the employee’s wellbeing. So they will do something about it.
- Inform your parents and relatives about your workplace harassment situation. They can provide help and support.
- Be careful because these bullies are very cunning. They could make you look like you are the bad person.
- Should the harassment continue despite efforts from the company organs, seek legal assistance. The bully might be a notorious one so it’s best you let the law act on him/her.
- For those nasty and derogatory statements the bully launches at you, the best thing is to ignore or even better to just walk away.
- If things get really bad, do not be afraid to go seek help from your doctor as well. The doctor could even provide you with a sick leave to help you get back on your feet.
- Never retaliate! This will turn things around and make you look like you are the bad guy. In fact by law, you will be charged as well.
- Whatever the case, it’s best to have a witness. Otherwise, it will be your word against the bully who could at times hold a high office with big responsibilities. (I know I repeated this several time, so that you keep this in mind)
- If you realise that you are being harassed, there and then inform the bully that you are not comfortable with their actions. Demand them to stop but not in an aggressive manner.
Never ever take a bullies words serious, you will end up demoralised hence loss of self esteem and confidence.
Do not believe in sayings like “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” These sayings are lies because those insults from the bully will make you lose self confidence and you will probably not be able to open up at work or even interact with your colleagues.
Over to you. What it is your take on workplace harassment and how can it be stomped out of the system?