Unfortunately, bullying isn’t one of those things that you can put behind yourself when you become an adult (unlike gawky yearbook photos and questionable fashion choices). The truth is that workplace bullying is an everyday occurrence and surveys have found that over 19 per cent of adults have experienced workplace bullying, while another 20 per cent said they had seen it happen to a colleague or co-worker.
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If you have found yourself a witness to a workplace bullying situation, what you should do next may be a somewhat conflicting and complicated predicament, and that is why we’re here today to give you guidance on how you can react when you see another employee being bullied at work. So, if you’re ready to say no to bullying, then read on to find out more.
Address The Situation With The Impacted Party
Before you go straight to the HR department or start searching for workplace bullying lawyers, it is incredibly important that you address the situation with your fellow employee who is on the receiving end of said bullying. Be sure to approach the topic gingerly as this may be an incredibly sensitive topic for the victim to talk about. Asking questions and listening intently to your colleague is vital in order to get to the bottom of why workplace bullying is occuring and to find out if the impacted party has taken any steps or measures to bring the issue up to higher management. In certain situations, you may find that your colleague would rather not discuss the matter due to fears of being further ostracised, and if you find yourself in such a predicament, we highly recommend reading into the next few steps that this article entails.
A lot of the time, people who are bullied are targeted simply because they are non-threatening and in most cases refrain from speaking up or standing up for themselves. If you find that your colleague who is being bullied falls into this category, you can always take it upon yourself to speak up against workplace bullies if you feel safe and comfortable doing so. In many situations, “bullies” don’t realise how much of an impact their actions or words can have on others and your feedback may give them an opportunity to rectify their actions.
Report Incident/s To Upper Management
If confronting the bully isn’t an option or doesn’t seem to have much of an impact, it may be time to report the bullying to upper management. Most workplaces will have a code of conduct or policies that outline base expectations of how employees should conduct themselves in the workplace. Generally, national anti-bullying laws cover most workplaces and work with employers to prevent bullying and/or address any existing bullying claims at the office.
Your supervisor, manager or HR representative should be able to tell you if there are relevant policies in place and you may be required to provide information or evidence to upper management to back up your claim. It is important to note that if your manager or supervisor is the person whose behaviour concerns you, you will still be able to report the matter to your HSR.
Seek Advice From A Lawyer
Last but no least, seeking advice from a workplace bullying lawyer can be incredibly beneficial even if you are not the victim in the situation. Of course, if you choose to go this route, do remember to tread lightly and seek permission from the victim in order to not step on their toes or overexert your role in the matter. A lawyer will be able to give you sound advice based on years of experience and will be able to handle the matter with utmost discretion.
Being witness to another employee being bullied at work can be an incredibly complicated and challenging scenario to find yourself in. We hope that this article has given you the guidance and information you need to navigate your way through any workplace bullying scenarios that may be occurring to a colleague or coworker that you care for.