PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Many of us have had a bully for a boss or co-worker at one point or another in our careers.
They mess with you, insult you, humiliate you and nit-pick just about everything you do.
It is such a problem in the workplace that the stress of it all can lead to health problems and even forces some people to quit.
KDKA-TV’s Kimberly Gill spoke with one person who wished to remain anonymous about the strain of working in an environment where they were constantly bullied by their supervisors.
They said the abuse gave them anxiety attacks and high blood pressure.
“My supervisor was always interested in winning the argument and it didn’t matter who she was hurting in the process,” they said.
They claimed that while on the job, they were belittled, yelled at and made the focus of gossip.
All this happened while co-workers, who they claim were less educated and less qualified, were treated better.
They tried to report what was happening, but it had little effect.
“My bosses basically looked the other way,” they said.
Workplace bullying can take a number of forms.
- Needlessly harsh criticism.
- Being falsely accused of a mistake
- Having your comments or opinions dismissed or not acknowledged
- Being held to different standards and policies than co-workers in similar positions.
CMU’s Dr. Denise Rousseau said stories of workplace bullying are common, but we have been slow to do anything about it.
“There are very few labor laws that really interfere with what goes on inside the workplace in terms of what goes on and how people are treated within a normal range. But, I do think that doesn’t absent the organization from the moral responsibly to make the workplace a place where people can behave cooperatively and effectively,” Dr. Rousseau said.
Experts said if you think you’re being bullied in the workplace you need to take a stand.
You should start by documenting the behavior and then speak up to the harasser.
If that doesn’t work, contact your human resources department and/or the harasser’s boss.
Gill searched online and found the Facebook page for a non-profit group called Pennsylvanians for a Healthy Workplace.
It’s a small group of volunteer advocates working with Pennsylvania state senators to introduce workplace bullying legislation.
“They need to connect with their state senators. They need to write letters and they need to make phone calls. They need to set up an appointment and talk about the bullying problem. We need this to be on every senator’s radar in Pennsylvania. This is a serious problem and it’s through the roof,” Laurie Shannon Bailey said.
Most people put up with bullying because they feel like if they say something they might lose their job.
However, the deeper psychology behind what makes someone a victim is that the target is usually someone who doesn’t fight back or who will turn the other cheek.
We always thought that was a good way to be, but maybe not in the case of workplace bullying.