How to Handle Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

Bullying is not simply a phenomenon that abounds in playgrounds. It is not the reserve of children and it does not necessarily consist of name calling and pig tail pulling. Adults are often the victim of bullying and harassment and one such environment in which this can flourish is the workplace. Working environments are hives of activity uniting numerous individuals of different genders, races, backgrounds, sexualities, lifestyle choices and personalities. Due to this hot bed of difference, conflicts can often arise, but if you feel you or a member of your professional body are the victim of bullying or harassment in the work place, how should you proceed? The Maguire Bullying and Harassment Course is designed to identify bullying and harassment and help sufferers incorporate strategies for rectifying such issues as and when they arise.


  • Be sure that you are dealing with a bully

The difference is subtle and slight but there is a key difference between a bully and a matter that has escalated beyond what was intended. For example, if your employer has a somewhat risqu - sense of humour and makes an offensive joke, it is quite probable that you may take offence but it doesn't necessarily mean that you are dealing with a work place bully. If you or others feel singled out for rough treatment, particularly on the basis of something personal about yourself, such as your gender, race or approach to working, then you are most likely dealing with a bully. It is however important to note that even if you aren't dealing with a bully, it is still perfectly acceptable to feel slighted and handle the issue.


  • Recognise what constitutes bullying behaviour

Sometimes bullying is outright and bullish. Other time it's subtle and insidious. Bullying can be directed at you from other employees or your boss. It may take the form of behaviour that makes you feel belittled, humiliated, verbally assaulted, singled out, harassed, overloaded with work and can include name calling, excessive surveillance, shouting or even physical assault. Take note whenever a bullying behaviour occurs, whether it happens once or a 100 times, it's important to have it on record.


  • Talk to the offender

The first port of call is to talk to your bully. Sometimes this is all it takes to get the behaviour to stop. Some people exhibit behaviours without really realising that they are doing so whilst others do so with intent but do not expect you to stand up to them. If you are getting nowhere, there is no need to continue trying.


  • See if you can get any witnesses

Depending on the nature of your workplace and work force, witnesses may have witnessed situations where you were the victim of a bully. As valuable allies, witnesses can confirm to higher parties that you are indeed being bullied in the workplace.



  • Accept that this is not your fault

Oftentimes adults feel that they should not be the victims of bullies. Feeling unable to deal with the problem themselves can make many feel insecure and incapable. It's important to remember that being the target of a bully says nothing about you and everything about the perpetrator. Work on your confidence and self-esteem. Remember that no-one deserves to be bullied or harassed, especially at work.


  • Speak to HR

Schedule a meeting with an HR representative, supervisor or manager to discuss the events that have taken place. It may be necessary for you to provide written evidence and witnesses. Every business should have strategies in place to counteract workplace bullying so your higher up can suggest a course of action to take.


The programme includes a comprehensive introduction to the Harassment Law of 1997, and runs the gamut of what workplace bullying includes and how to rectify it. Worth 6 CPD points, it is a highly useful course to implement to understand how to make your working environment more professional, hospitable and an all round nicer place to work.

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