Workplace bullying is a pervasive problem that affects many employees all over the world. It can happen in any industry or any company, and it can take many forms, including verbal abuse, exclusion, humiliation, threats, intimidation, and more. Unfortunately, many people who are bullied feel powerless and do not know how to deal with the situation. If you are being bullied by your manager, you may feel especially powerless, as your manager is in a position of authority over you. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and put an end to the bullying. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of what to do if your manager is bullying you.
Recognize the Signs of Bullying
The first step in dealing with workplace bullying is recognizing that it is happening to you. Bullying behavior can come from anyone – a coworker, a subordinate, or a supervisor – but when it is coming from your manager, it can be particularly damaging. Bullying can take many forms, including:
- Insults and name-calling
- Exclusion from meetings or other work activities
- Excessive workload or impossible deadlines
- Threats or intimidation
- Public humiliation or embarrassment
- Physical or verbal abuse
If you are experiencing any of these behaviors from your manager or supervisor, you may be the victim of workplace bullying.
Document the Bullying
Once you have recognized that you are being bullied, it is important to document the behavior. This can help you build a case if you want to take further action, but it can also help you to clarify your own thoughts and feelings about the situation. Make sure to record the date, time, location, and nature of each incident of bullying, as well as the names of any witnesses who were present.
Tips for Documenting the Bullying
- Write down the facts as objectively as possible
- Use specific language to describe the behavior
- Include any emails, texts, or other written evidence of the behavior
- Do not exaggerate or embellish the facts
- Be consistent in your documentation
Confront Your Manager
Although it may be difficult, confronting your manager about the bullying may be the best way to stop it. When you confront your manager, be clear and specific about the behavior that is causing you problems. Do not make accusations or judgements, but instead focus on how the behavior is affecting you and your work performance.
Tips for Confronting Your Manager
- Choose a private, neutral location to have the conversation
- Be calm and professional
- Use “I” statements to express your feelings
- Be specific about the details of the behavior
- Listen to your manager’s response without interrupting
Talk to HR
If confronting your manager does not solve the problem, or if you do not feel comfortable doing so, you may want to reach out to your company’s HR department. This can be a difficult step to take, as you may worry about retaliation or negative consequences. However, it is important to remember that HR is there to help you and to ensure that the company is following appropriate policies and procedures.
Tips for Talking to HR
- Be clear and specific about the behavior that is causing you problems
- Bring any documentation that you have gathered
- Ask for guidance on the company’s policies and procedures around bullying
- Express your concerns about retaliation or negative consequences
- Ask for a follow-up plan to address the problem
Consider Legal Action
If you have taken steps to address the bullying and it is still continuing, you may want to consider legal action. This can be a difficult and expensive option, but it may be necessary if the behavior is affecting your health, safety, or ability to do your job.
Tips for Considering Legal Action
- Consult with a lawyer who specializes in employment law
- Bring any documentation that you have gathered
- Be prepared for a long and difficult process
- Consider the potential consequences for your career and your life
- Weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of taking legal action
Take Care of Yourself
Dealing with workplace bullying can be a stressful and difficult experience. It is important to take care of yourself throughout the process. This may include:
- Talking to a therapist or counselor
- Seeking support from family and friends
- Practicing self-care activities such as exercise or meditation
- Taking time off work if needed
- Considering a job change if the situation does not improve
If you are being bullied by your manager at work, you may feel powerless and unsure of what to do. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and put an end to the bullying. Recognize the signs of bullying, document the behavior, confront your manager, talk to HR, consider legal action, and take care of yourself throughout the process. By doing so, you can regain control of your work life and protect your health and well-being.
Q: How do I know if I am being bullied by my manager?
A: Workplace bullying can take many forms, including insults, threats, exclusion, and more. If you are experiencing any of these behaviors from your manager or supervisor, you may be the victim of workplace bullying.
Q: What should I do if I am being bullied by my manager?
A: If you are being bullied by your manager, you should document the behavior, confront your manager, talk to HR, and consider legal action if necessary. It is also important to take care of yourself throughout the process.
Q: What are some examples of workplace bullying?
A: Workplace bullying can take many forms, including insults, name-calling, exclusion, excessive workload, threats, intimidation, public humiliation, and physical or verbal abuse.
Q: What should I do if my company does not have policies in place to deal with workplace bullying?
A: If your company does not have policies in place to deal with workplace bullying, you may want to consult with an employment lawyer. They can help you navigate the legal options available to you and ensure that your rights are protected.
Q: What should I do if I am experiencing negative health effects as a result of workplace bullying?
A: If you are experiencing negative health effects as a result of workplace bullying, you should seek medical attention and consider taking time off work to recover. You may also want to consider legal action if the situation does not improve.
Q: How can I protect myself from retaliation if I report workplace bullying?
A: It is illegal for a company to retaliate against an employee who reports workplace bullying. However, if you are concerned about retaliation, you may want to consult with an employment lawyer or seek guidance from HR about your options.
1. WorkplaceBullying.org. (n.d.). What is Workplace Bullying? http://www.workplacebullying.org/
2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2019). Harassment. https://www.eeoc.gov/harassment
3. Society for Human Resource Management. (2019). Workplace Bullying: A Deeper Dive. https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/global-and-cultural-effectiveness/Pages/Workplace-Bullying-A-Deeper-Dive.aspx