You may be working with a bully if: You regularly feel victimized by and fear to work with a particular coworker. Common traits workplace bullies exhibit includes yelling, teasing, name-calling, putting coworkers down, subjecting coworkers to unfair criticism or threats, talking over coworkers, and taking credit for others work.  If any of this behavior sounds familiar, then you are one of the over 60 million American workers who are affected by workplace bullying.  Although bullies seem intimidating, there are several approaches to counter workplace bullying.  Continue reading to equip yourself with the knowledge necessary to tame your workplace bully!

Start Documenting the Bully at Work

Keep a log of every interaction with the bully at work.  Write down an entry each time you experience bullying.  Make sure each entry includes what happened, the time and date of the incident, all people involved, – including witnesses who might have seen or heard anything – and why the conduct constitutes abuse.  The log will not only provide a timeline of the workplace bullying but also ensures that you will not forget critical details later on.

Make sure to emphasize any interaction that includes bullying based on a legally protected characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, national origin, marital status, or pregnancy. This type of conduct is not merely workplace bullying but also constitutes workplace harassment.  Click here to learn more about workplace harassment.

Report the Workplace Bully to Your Supervisor or HR

Often, individuals are not comfortable speaking directly to the workplace bully.  Do not remain silent!  The bullying will continue if you do.  

Instead of directly communicating with the workplace bully, consider reporting the bullying to your supervisor or human resources department.  Make sure to report the complaint in writing, and indicate that the workplace bully is impacting your productivity, health, and morale.  Remember to keep a copy of your complaint for your records. 

Employers are required to address complaints of bullies at work, or they will face exposure to legal claims.  You may even consider providing practical suggestions as to how the employer can address workplace bullying.

Form a Workplace Bully Victim Group

If the bully at work targets other coworkers, get in contact with them and group together to address the problem.  Ask your coworkers also to document the bully’s behavior.  After building a collective case, file a complaint to HR as a group.  This unified action will give your employer solid ground to take action against the workplace bully, and make it very difficult for them to ignore the problem.

Request a Transfer

If the bullying at work persists despite reporting it to your employer, you may consider requesting a transfer either to a different department or branch.  Your employer should work with you to mitigate the bully, and if honoring the transfer request is the only way to address the problem, then they should honor it. 

Consider Leaving Your Employment

Your health and well-being are most important, and compromising either for a job is not worth it. If you have done everything possible to eliminate workplace bullying, and your employer has either ignored you or refused to help, then it may be time to explore other options.  

Be sure to speak with an attorney before leaving your current employment.  Leaving employment is a severe and life-altering decision befitting of a consultation with an attorney.  Further, you may have legal rights entitling you to damages for having to deal with the bully at work.  If you are considering departing from your current employment, Contact Astanehe Law for your free consultation.

Generally, workplace bullying is not illegal in California.  However, your employer must take action to address hostile acts, including workplace bullying by coworkers and supervisors. Specific forms of workplace bullying may be illegal.  Your employer cannot allow harassment or retaliation to occur.  Additionally, your employer may have an anti-bullying policy.  If you are the victim of workplace bullying, contact Astanehe Law for your free consultation.  Astanehe Law has experience in protecting California employees from workplace bullies and will help you obtain justice!