Workplace bullying refers to mistreatment from colleagues in the workplace. Bullying is often thought of as a childhood phenomenon—one that is grown out of with the maturity of adulthood. The reality, however, is that some unhappy folks remain bullies even after moving beyond high school and puberty and the other stresses of maturation. These people are often suffering from painful experiences themselves, and are taking their unvoiced frustrations out on others. No matter the genesis of this behavior, however, it cannot be tolerated—particularly in a professional setting.
Bullying in the workplace has the potential to create more than just a bad day for all involved. When co-workers assert themselves in an unhealthy and unprofessional manner, they are effectively undermining the efficiency and safety of the workplace. This can reflect poorly on you as a member of the company, and can even endanger your life in certain situations (particularly in industrial settings). When this type of behavior is encountered, it must be dealt with immediately.
As with childhood, adult and workplace bullies can be intimidating, and victims are often afraid to take action to resolve the problem. Unlike schoolyard terrors, however, workplace bullies are adults and subject to adult discipline. Any truly violent or threatening behavior is subject to legal recourse, and victims must keep this in mind when they are being frightened and dominated into tolerating bullying. Ultimately, bullies are typically weak people who prey on those that they perceive to be weaker than themselves in order to artificially boost their lost self-image. The best way to end bullying is to stand up to the aggressor—not through violence, but through thought-out proactive steps that may require the involvement of the law. Start by enlisting the support of your co-workers and employers. Then, if further action is required, consider seeking legal counsel.
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