There is never a good reason to feel intimidated or threatened at work. Harassment, or workplace bullying, is a real problem that requires proper handling by your superiors and human resources. Unfortunately, it isn't always taken seriously. The following tips can help you combat bullying while ensuring you remain on the right side of the law.
Tip #1: Assess the Behavior
First, you need to determine that this is actual bullying. Chances are, if you feel threatened then it is bullying. Does the person single you out or are they bullying others as well? If there are others, make note of their names, as they could prove to be allies if you have to bring the issue to HR. Still, don't be tempted to ignore the problem if it is only you that is the target.
Tip #2: Begin Documenting the Problem
Grab a notebook and a pen. Each time you feel threatened, write down the date, time, location, and the behavior that occurred. Record as much information as possible, since this log will be your main form of evidence. If bullying occurs in a written medium, such as email, print out and save each offending email. You should also save any voicemails or text messages that contain harassment. Also, only give copies of any of your logs to your supervisor or HR department. You must always keep the originals.
Tip #3: Confront Wisely
When the bully acts out of line, such as by calling you a name, do not call them a name in retaliation. Instead, set clear limits by telling them that you find their behavior offensive and that it won't be tolerated. If it continues, seek out the help of a supervisor or human resources. You can then, with this other party present, outline the offensive behavior to the bully and voice the changes you expect. Do not get angry; remain calm, otherwise you may lose the upper hand in this situation.
Tip #4: Take the Next Step
If wise confrontation and bringing upper management into the situation hasn't yielded any results, or if the tables were turned and you were disciplined for reporting the bully, it is time to take further action. Meet with an employment lawyer, like one from GSJones Law Group, P.S., to discuss your case. Bring with you your harassment documentation along with any documents you received when you brought the situation to management. The attorney can help you navigate the situation and ensure your employer and the bully are held responsible for their actions.