Workplace bullying and harassment are common, but are often pronounced to be occasional and incidental. It may go unnoticed due to a variety of reasons. Especially, when the accused is the victim’s supervisor or an administrator.
It is important to know if you are being harassed at work. Workplace harassment is a sensitive issue with many grey areas. If you see crime or harassment at work, it is your responsibility to report it. If you are worried about losing your job because of retaliation, remember that you are protected by workplace harassment laws.
Verbal Bullying and Harassment
In the workplace, bullying and harassment can be a source of ongoing negative conflict that threatens the health and performance of the employees. It contains demotivating speech, irritating touch, and senseless criticism. It can include swearing, unwanted jokes and hurtful comments.
Verbal aggression can be hard to detect and often darken, for it is a form of violence that does not manifest itself.
Sometimes making inappropriate remarks or jokes about a workmate is seen as a personal conflict and not as harassment, although such behaviour can have a psychological impact on the victim and lead to consequences such as depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety.
Psychological Bullying and Harassment
Psychological bullying and harassment are similar to verbal bullying and harassment, but it is subtle and incorporates exclusionary strategies, such as withholding information. The actions are intended to psychologically break the victim, deprive him of his self-esteem and demean him.
Behaviours such as gaining fame for one’s achievements, making unrealistic demands, setting the wrong deadline for an employee, constantly requiring an employee to perform degrading tasks outside of his or her work value, or insisting on and contradicting everything someone says may not seem like harassment, but this can be intentional psychological harassment.
Digital harassment is also known as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is conducted online, but it can be just as harmful. Workplace bullying and harassment is a very new phenomenon and occurs in many organisations.
Posting intimidating threats or offensive comments on social media, and creating a fake personality to bully someone online are examples of digital bullying. Social media has become the centre of harassing others digitally in the name of free speech.
As evidence, it is important to take screenshots, save emails on your computer and keep a file of everything that made you uncomfortable.
School students and working professionals are equally a victim of digital harassment due to the wide growing use of social media and hence parents need to keep monitoring the behaviour of their children and their use of social media to avoid situations getting worse.
Physical Bullying and Harassment
Physical harassment at work can vary in degrees. Mooney said this could include unwanted minor touches such as touching staff clothing, hair, face, or skin, or strong touches such as physical assault, threats of violence, and personal property damage.
Because of the variety of levels of physical Bullying and Harassment, it can be hard to notice. When no physical damage is done by a victim of bullying or harassment, it can be overlooked as a joke.
Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual behaviour, such as inappropriate contact, sexual jokes, sexually explicit material, sexually explicit messages, or solicitations for promotions or security in the workplace.
This creates a grey area that makes it easier for perpetrators to escape their behaviour. Some occasions, victims do not want to draw attention to themselves. Do not inform anyone, and keep it to themselves, thinking it will get better, and will go away. Reporting a bullying or harassment incident at work may increase the victim’s concerns about revenge, including losing their jobs.
Reporting harassment at work is important, as there may be other victims who have reported similar cases to the same person, and the employer may wait for further evidence to take appropriate action.
Responding to Workplace Bullying and Harassment
When a victim is faced with bullying or harassment, the steps below can help.
ASK to STOP. You should try to calmly resolve workplace bullying and harassment. Ask them, preferably in a private place, to stop directing this behaviour toward you. However, if the Bullying and Harassment are physical, do not approach your Bullying and Harassment.
GET HELP. Consider taking the matter to your nearest supervisor unless, of course, your supervisor is a criminal. Inform your Human Resources department if your attempts to resolve it fails. If you can, provide evidence such as screenshots, texts, messages, and personal accounts.
REPORT. Don’t keep quiet about Bullying and Harassment. Keeping quiet will not make the wrongdoer go astray. All incidents of harassment should be reported, and all complaints should be properly investigated.
CONTACT. If you can’t receive any help or want external help, you have a few options
- Fairwork Commission – Stop Bullying and Harassment or Stop Sexual Harassment at Work Order.
- State or Territory WHS Regulator
- Australian Human Rights Commission
All employees have a right to feel safe and respected at work.
Employees may not feel good when companies make a sudden change in corporate policies and procedures. All companies must ensure staff are attending effective training programs that will assist them to participate productively in workplace policies and procedures.
Do you think some important training programs are missing and limiting employees participation efficiently? Have you observed that your workplace incidents are increasing? Look into companies with the best corporate training programs to assist your workforce in moving forward efficiently!
Contact WHS and Training Compliance Solutions Pty Ltd now, to equip your teams with knowledge and skills to make your workplace environment friendlier, more engaging, more responsive and more motivated at the same time. Check out our Sexual Harassment Prevention training, we deliver this course online and face to face.