Workplace bullying is never OK. It’s also against the law in Tennessee. If you are being bullied or harassed by a supervisor or coworker, the Nashville employment attorneys at the Employee and Consumer Law Group can advise you of your legal options. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.
What Is Workplace Bullying?
Workplace bullying is an ongoing pattern of mistreatment that occurs in a work environment and results in physical, psychological, and emotional harm. There are many types of workplace bullying, including:
- Persistent criticism that isn’t constructive
- Excessive monitoring
- Making fun of an employee
- Sabotaging an employee’s work
- Other targeted mistreatment
One of the most common reasons a bully mistreats a coworker is to indirectly pressure the worker to leave the company of their own free will. Often, this is because the bully is emotionally insecure or feels threatened by their coworker’s success at the company.
Workplace Bullying Statistics
Workplace bullying affects workers of every gender and race. According to The Workplace Bullying Institute’s most recent report, 67 percent of workplace bullies are male. Around half of all bullying targets are also male. When it comes to women, 65 percent of female bullies choose other women as their targets.
The WBI also noted that 13 percent of all adults in the U.S. workforce are either currently experiencing workplace bullying or experienced it within the past year. Around 17 percent of working adults said they had experienced bullying at some point in the past.
What To Do If You Are Being Bullied
If you are being bullied in the workplace, follow these tips:
- Document the incident – Record every instance of bullying in a journal. Make a note of the date, time, location, and what transpired. Keep any emails or electronic communications that document the bully’s behavior. If there are any witnesses, make a note of it.
- Report the bullying – Alert your employer or human resources department by filing a report. The bully gets the power they crave if the victim stays silent. Be as detailed and thorough as possible when describing what occurred.
- Contact an experienced employment lawyer – If the bullying doesn’t stop, it could be time to take legal action. In Tennessee, the Healthy Workplace Act (HWA) prohibits “abusive conduct” at work, which includes verbal, nonverbal, and physical behaviors. The act allows employees to sue employers for emotional distress if the employer has not adopted an anti-bullying policy that meets specific standards. Even if the bullied worker does not belong to a protected class under federal anti-discrimination laws, they could still be protected under the HWA.
- Get help – Consider seeking professional help through therapy if necessary. By opening up to people who care about you, you’ll have the support you need to cope.