OSEA Safety Blog

Workplace Bullying: When has it Gone too far?

Sunday, October 20, 2019 Julia Costa

There’s a large grey area between playful mocking and workplace bullying. Workplace bullying is defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute as, “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the worksite”. This mistreatment comes in the form of:

  • verbal abuse, swearing
  • threats, psychological trauma
  • humiliation
  • sabotage
  • pranks
  • violent acts, anger related issues
  • homicide or active shooter
  • Property damage

Unfortunately, many of these cases go unreported because of victims who feel as though they need to stay silent; whether it be to keep their job or because they’re afraid to speak out. Another reason is that most customer service employees don’t realize it counts as bullying if it comes from a customer or client. If employers see such behavior, they should take the proper steps to ensure the behavior stops with a no tolerance policy. Policies should be clearly outlined in an employee handbook, human resources manual or a safety and health program.

Some potential indicators of a workplace bully include:

  • Disruptive behaviors to the workplace
  • Handles Criticism poorly
  • Makes Inappropriate statements
  • Inability to focus
  • The insistence that he or she is always right
  • Social isolation
  • Holds grudges, especially against his or her supervisor.
  • Talking about the same problems repeatedly without resolving

If you ever notice these indicators, you should report the concerning behavior to a supervisor. You should also document the behavior, to ensure you have all the facts when you report it. If the behavior becomes violent, call 911 if you or someone else is in danger and report it to a supervisor or HR immediately. Regardless, always ensure your own personal safety.




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