Bullying in the workplace

A simple model to guide your actions at work.

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You see one of the supervisors giving another apprentice a hard time, it seems to happen every morning when they arrive on-site – they are too late, or too early, or have brought the wrong tools, worn the wrong clothes – nothing they do seems right. You know this is actual bullying, rather than normal behaviour, because it has been going on for a few months, repeatedly targeting one person, and you can see how it is upsetting the apprentice.

Do you…

Step Forwards?

Before you decide, consider the supervisor and how he will respond to an upfront approach. Some people like “being told how it is” and are open to honest communication, in which case you could confront the supervisor, asking him to stop. You will need to explain how you have watched this happen over the last few months and give examples. If you think that the supervisor is not good at listening or taking criticism, and you still confront them, there is a risk that they may start attacking you in turn. 

Step Sideways?

If you are uncomfortable talking directly with the supervisor, have a look around to see if there is someone else in the organisation you can tell. This might be another supervisor or a colleague, or perhaps there is someone who looks after human resources. You can choose to report anonymously or perhaps confidentially. Depending on the organisation, this kind of approach may not result in any actions and the bullying may continue. 

Step Back?

Doing nothing will probably mean that the bullying continues and in fact, may get worse. It may start to spread around the workplace and start to impact work morale overall.

Are you a

Supervisor or Manager?Young Employee?