Women are too often made the butt of the joke, the targets of unwanted contact and the victims of a toxic workplace environment. Workplace bullies take all forms and, if we let them, prevent us from reaching our ultimate potential as heroes of our careers. Are you being bullied at work? If you are, do you know your rights?
Is it really bullying?
Sometimes emotional abuse can be veiled in jokes or unrealistic demands and expectations. Workplace bullying can take the form of arbitrary deadlines, off-hand remarks, sexual harassment or unsolicited evaluations of your work quality. A boss may schedule meetings you don’t know about, demand work be completed in an unrealistic time frame or make snide jokes about your appearance. Don’t let your boss or coworker control you in this way, and don’t let the emotional strain of workplace bullying bleed into your non-working life. Take control of the situation, forget any notion that you’re complicit in mistreatment and call the situation for what it is: workplace bullying and a pathetic attempt to suppress your success. By standing up to bullies, women like Gretchen Carlson became their own champions in hostile environments by sharing their stories and outing their bullies.
Should I tell someone?
Once you recognize you’re being bullied, you should find someone you respect and trust to confide in. Not only can a trusted accomplice validate your unfair treatment, but they can also help you navigate the next steps. If possible, a good support system will include at least one coworker in addition to friends and family.
Some workplaces have a Contact Officer to address workplace harassment, bullying or discrimination. If your workplace has designated a Contact Officer, he or she will be an objective observer who understands your office environment’s protocol for dealing with bullying issues. You might also tell your supervisor. You can’t assume your supervisor is privy to the nuances of workplace politics. Once your supervisor is aware of the situation, he or she can intervene on your behalf.
If your bully is your supervisor, you may have to contact an external organization or upper levels of management with your issue. Traditionally, you would report to your supervisor’s immediate supervisor. If your workplace has a human resources department, they can handle your complaints privately and discretely. You may also choose to enlist the help of a lawyer.
WorkSafe ACT is an oversight organization to ensure your workplace handles your complaint fairly.
You have a right to have support from your workplace!
You also have the right to the emotional and psychological support you deserve while you navigate the red tape of your complaint. Workplace EAP programs can offer counselors and therapists. If you have to go outside your workplace for help, you should be reimbursed for mental health services. You also have the right to discretion and privacy.
Take control of your circumstances and your career by acknowledging you are being bullied, reporting appropriately and accessing the support you deserve!
Click Here to learn more about workplace bullying.
Be Confident, Be Bold, Be You!
Dr. Christi Monk is the founder of the Workplace Survival Institute which helps organizations build a culture of “connectedness”. She is also the founder of The Confidence Suite which teaches women how to tap into their core value system so they are more effective, confident and productive contributors in the workplace and their communities. She received her doctoral degree in Management of Organizational Leadership Studies and is certified in Conflict Resolution and Workplace Mediation. Her published work is entitled Workplace Bullying – In Search of a Clearer Definition. Dr. Monk is a certified trainer from the Workplace Bullying Institute.