Employees deserve a work environment that’s free from hostility and harassment. Sadly, workplace bullying is commonplace, especially in the manufacturing industry, where shop floor talk can quickly go from light teasing to outright harassment.
While manufacturing employers deal with physical injury liabilities, they still have a legal duty of care to provide their employees with a professional work environment. However, dealing with a bully may not always be their top priority.
Defining a workplace bully
Even though bullying is most prevalent in grade school, it can still happen in the workplace. In many cases, workplace bullies are often insecure about their standing within an organization and may lash out at others they see as a threat to their status. They may do this by yelling at, insulting and putting down their coworkers. In some cases, they may even go out of their way to badmouth them in front of their boss or blame them for technical malfunctions they didn’t cause.
Dealing with a workplace bully
Even as an adult, there is nothing more frightening than standing up to a bully; emotions may run high when dealing with them. However, it’s still important to remain calm and collected, as mimicking their actions may only exacerbate tensions. Here are some steps workers can take:
- Address the issue: When approached by the bully, workers should just simply describe what they see without injecting their opinion.
- State the impact: To shift the attention to a commonly shared goal, workers may want to tell the bully how their behavior is preventing them from performing their job.
- Use professional confrontation: If their harassment persists despite previous efforts, workers should state how they feel about the bully’s actions and tell them they are not welcome in their space unless they say otherwise.
Confronting a workplace bully is never easy and if the employer doesn’t do anything to put a stop to the behavior, it can have a long-lasting impact on employees and the company as a whole. If it continues for too long, employees may want to contact an attorney. They can help address any questions or concerns workers may have.