Workplace Rights

Weekly (10/10/22)

Topic of the Week  Workplace Bullying

Employees should be treated with dignity and respect. In a respectful workplace, employees and employers communicate openly and fairly with one another, without harassment or discrimination, and attempt to prevent a hostile work environment. There is, however, a fine line between workplace bullying and tough management. Therefore, while evaluating your workplace environment, it is best to keep in mind that all unfavorable actions may not cross the line into workplace bullying. It is enough for your boss or other employers to simply be hard in you or unkind.

Workplace bullying typically involves continuous or repeated malicious behavior such as deliberate insults, threats, demeaning comments, constant criticism, overbearing supervision, and profane outburst. It may also include blatant exclusion, being overworked, or simply not communicating with colleagues.

1. What is the difference between bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment are sometimes used as synonyms and treated was words that mean the same thing. It is true that both words are similar and involve intentional actions or words that harm another person, it is also true that there is an important difference is the definitions. 

 2. Is it illegal for my boss to bully or harass me?

Generally, no. It is not illegal for your boss to harass you unless it is done for an illegal reason. The law does not require that your boss be nice, kind or fair, only that your boss does not treat you differently because of your age, sex, race, religion, national origin, or disability.

3. How can an employer protect employees from bullying in the workplace?

To discourage and eliminate bullying, it is necessary that direction comes from the top. The most effective strategy employers can pursue is to treat bullying as though it is already illegal. Create a workplace culture wherein bullying is not tolerated. 

Thought of the Week

"Every individual who has been a target of a bully or bullies has unique, individual experiences specific to their situation. When appropriate, we recommend an employee utilize the chain of command in their area to address the situation, but we realize that’s not always possible. And depending on the circumstances – for instance, if a supervisor/manager is the one demonstrating behaviors of a bully – Human Resources Business Partners can assist employees and work to help them by providing resources, options and alternatives or navigating what next steps they’d like to make."


Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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