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Bullying in the workplace on the rise

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If you think that bullying only happens during elementary school through high school, you are wrong. Bullying is something that can happen to anyone at any time and at any age. Bullying is an increasingly alarming problem both for children and for adults. Children are bullied from a very young age and learn to fear being bullied by others. However, research today indicates that bullying is a problem that is becoming much more frequent in the workplace.

Bullying during the school years used to be in the form of name-calling, exclusion from games with other children, fights on the playground before, during and after school, and physical violence against another child. Now, in the technologically advanced world in which we live, the new way to bully someone else is to harass them on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Bullying can take the form of insults found on wall posts, disparaging comments made under someone’s photo or status update and so on. Years ago, people had to confront someone in person to bully them. Now, bullying can take place in cyber space, which is today’s “playground”.

Children and adolescents often keep the bullying to themselves and do not discuss it with their parents and teachers. They may feel embarrassed about what is happening to them, or fear that their parents may take their computer privileges away if the bullying happens online. Some victims of bullying think that eventually it will stop, but when it doesn’t they take drastic measures to alleviate their pain and it is often in the form of self-destructive behavior or suicide. Numerous children and adolescents have committed suicide in recent years after being viciously bullied online by peers.

Bullying in the workplace is on the rise. It can take the form of rumor transmission, gathering information on someone and using it against him or her in order to make them look bad to their bosses, or it can be in the form of excluding someone from the chat time in the office, or from the lunch hour in which everyone should go out together to eat. Purposefully leaving someone out in order to increase their feelings of inferiority and exclusion is not only mean, but it is also damaging to one’s self-esteem.

Being a victim of bullying in the workplace can change one’s outlook on their job or profession, and can change the way they work. This can affect job performance and productivity and it can also change the entire work environment in a negative fashion. Victims of bullying in the workplace often keep to themselves the troubles they endure at work because they fear losing their jobs.

If you are the victim of bullying in the workplace, you are not alone. Many victims sit in silence and hope the problem goes away. In most cases, bullies continue their behavior unless it is brought to the attention of supervisors and managers. If you are being bullied at work, document the instances and report it to your boss immediately. No one should have to endure bullying while trying to do their job. If the bullying is verbal, try to capture it on a hidden video camera or on an audio tape. You will most likely need evidence to bring formal charges against the person bullying you. Police often dismiss complaints unless you have hard evidence that cannot be ignored. Likewise, unless you can prove you are being bullied at work, bosses often do not take the necessary action to stop it until they see it themselves. Document any harassing behaviors that are taking place at work and report it as soon as it happens. If your boss or manager is unwilling to address the problem, then bring it to the attention of your local police department. Charges of harassment can be filed and in some cases, restraining orders can be issued- especially in situations in which the victim has been physically abused by the perpetrator.

The key to stopping the bullying right away is to report it immediately. Document all instances of bullying and bring it to your boss or supervisor’s attention. Make sure to not only verbally inform your boss of the bullying, but also put the situation in writing and give it to your boss. This will serve as proof that you informed your boss of the problem and intend to see it resolved immediately. If you don’t put it in writing, it is as if the behaviors the bully engaged in with you never occurred. You must have evidence of having reported it to your boss if you intend to pursue the matter in court at a later date.

If your boss does not take the appropriate action to alleviate the problem, filing charges is the next step. In no situation should you give up your job because of a bully’s behavior. That is just letting the bully win. Instead, stand up for yourself, report the problem, file charges and continue to work at your job. In most cases, bullies stop their behavior once they are sanctioned for it. Therefore, taking action is essential to having the abuse stop.

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