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Workplace bullying: how to recognize it and how to deal with it

Bullying is a serious problem and should not be tolerated anywhere or in any form, including the workplace.

Workplace bullying can be defined as “repeated unhealthy abuse by one or more employees,” according to the website of the Workplace Bullying Institute, based in Clarkston, Washington.

This can also be defined as “abusive behavior that takes the form of verbal abuse” or behavior that is “perceived as threatening, intimidating or degrading” and includes “work sabotage” or a combination of the above, they note.

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“Abuse in the workplace is the only form of abuse in America that is not yet taboo,” the website continues. “All other forms have been condemned — child, spousal, partner abuse — while workplace bullying is still considered normal, inevitable, or even necessary business practice.”

There are specific things to do for those who believe they are being bullied.

sad employee

Workplace bullying can be defined as “repeated unhealthy abuse by one or more employees,” according to the Workplace Bullying Institute website. (iStock / iStock)

Here are steps to take.

Start documenting cases of bullying

If you think you’re being bullied at work, you should start creating a written trail to record the abuse, experts advise.

“If you’ve experienced workplace harassment or bullying, a good record is critical to reporting it and ensuring your complaint is taken seriously,” John Joy, principal attorney at FTI Law in New York, told FOX Business.

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FTI Law specializes in representing whistleblowers who report violations to the SEC.

If workplace harassment or bullying has occurred via email, be sure to keep it and print a copy.

“It doesn’t matter if you sign up [your information] Within your organization or with local authorities, having a record is what separates successful applications from those that don’t, Joy said.

Know the laws and restrictions in the documentation

“While you may have suffered harassment or bullying, there may be state laws that prohibit you from bringing recording devices into work or even recording phone or Zoom calls with other people without their permission,” he said.

Man hiding under laptop

“Workplace abuse is the only form of abuse in America that is not outlawed,” according to the Washington State Workplace Bullying Institute. (iStock / iStock)

If you feel the need to tape a conversation, Joy said, make sure you get local legal advice first, or be sure to let the person you’re speaking to know you want to tape the conversation.

Keep written records when incidents happen

Because recording a conversation isn’t always an available option, it’s safest to simultaneously create a written record of all workplace bullying incidents, Joy recommended.

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“That means you write down what happened as soon as it happens — not the next day or weeks later,” he said.

“If your employer finds out your true intentions, they could take action against you before you are sufficiently prepared to make your move.”

According to Joy, a simultaneous recording can sometimes be used as evidence in court cases.

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However, a record you make later, after an event has taken place, carries much less weight – or may not even be accepted as evidence.

Print evidence of workplace bullying

If workplace harassment or bullying has occurred via email, keep it and keep a printed copy, Joy advised.

tired and upset man on laptop

It’s important to keep a written record of all workplace bullying incidents at the same time, one expert said. (iStock / iStock)

You can email such correspondence to a private email account, he noted.

If you’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement, there may be certain prohibitions on taking company email home or forwarding it to a personal account, Joy said.

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Those rules vary by state and by company, so getting legal advice early in the process is a smart move, he added.

If you can’t get legal counsel, if you have a good faith belief that the emails are evidence of harassment, and if you intend to use them in court, then you can probably safely keep a personal copy, he said.

Chronicle of every healthh Consequences of bullying

It’s important to “diligently capture a paper trail” detailing the “emotional and physical distress” you’re suffering and any other personal events related to workplace bullying, said Danielle Clark, an economics professor at Hillsborough Community College and at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

nurse working on patient chart

Write down the “emotional and physical distress” you’re experiencing — and any other relevant personal events — related to workplace bullying, said Danielle Clark of the University of South Florida. (iStock / iStock)

“Examples of things you should document are visits to the doctor related to bullying, e.g. B. If you’ve had a stress headache and have sought help,” she said.

“Word gets around – and not everyone you work with is your friend.”

Clark added that people should document “visits to therapists where you explore your feelings about bullying” and social events they missed out of fear, like “no longer having the motivation and energy to keep spinning.” course to go”.

meet colleagues

Whenever possible, it’s good to get legal input about your workplace bullying experiences, one attorney said. (iStock / iStock)

While it can be exhausting to document everything, it helps when your workplace takes action against you.

It is also helpful if you can assert legal claims.

Proceed with caution

Think carefully before sharing your experiences at your workplace about bullying or abuse you experience, experts advise.

“Word gets around — and not everyone you work with is your friend,” Jeff Caesar Chukwuma, founder and senior partner at Chukwuma Law Group, with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Fla., told FOX Business.

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He said as long as you are discreet you have the advantage because you have the element of surprise.

“But if your employer finds out your true intentions, [the employer] move against you before you are sufficiently prepared to make your move,” Chukwuma said.

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