Going to a workplace where you feel comfortable doing your job should never be in doubt. And yet, many workers in California and throughout the United States are not so fortunate, as many have attested to either witnessing an instance of workplace bullying or being the target of it. Whether it comes as verbal insults or malicious slights, being bullied by co-workers is an unfortunately common experience.
Recently, Forbes reported on a 2019 survey conducted by Monster.com. The results painted a picture of widespread bullying problems in American workplaces. Out of 2,081 employees surveyed, almost 94% of the respondents responded that they had experienced workplace bullying. And the majority of bullying did not come from a peer worker. 51.1% of employees reported bullying from a manager or superior.
The Monster.com survey found that the bullying took various forms. Sometimes it came in the form of hostile emails, with 23.3% responding that they were on the receiving end of such messages. 20.2% of workers reported that they were targets of negative gossip. 17.8% of those surveyed claimed they were yelled at.
The fact that so many people would report being bullied is startling, but there are reasons why it takes place. A lot of bullying is not done very openly, with only a small percentage in the Monster.com reporting fellow workers yelling at them. Sometimes bullying is hard to detect because it occurs within the structure of a company. Also, many bullies also happen to perform well for their parent companies and receive protection because of it.
Since bullying is not explicitly penalized by law, it is not something that can be easily litigated under current anti-harassment laws. Nonetheless, the Forbes piece explains that workers can take actions to deal with workplace bullies. Among the available options are to call attention to the bullying through the proper channels, provided that the bully is not the person you would have to report to. Also check to see if the employee handbook prohibits bullying behavior, as you may be able to prove a bullying co-worker is violating company policy.
If the bullying does not stop, consider writing down information about the bullying, including who did the bullying, when it happened, and where the bullying took place. This information may help you out if you need to prove an instance of bullying to a superior, but it might also assist you if you consult with an attorney. It is entirely possible for bullying to cross a legal line and documenting the abuse could be of help if the matter comes to litigation.