When experiencing workplace bullying on the job, please remember that you’re not alone and that you’re not at fault. The fault remains with the bully. Many coworkers and loved ones wonder why you just don’t stand up for yourself. But it’s not that simple. If it was that simple, you would already have confronted the bully. Here are several reasons why most employees remain silent:
- Economic Reasons. Perhaps you’re the only breadwinner. Or loss of salary would produce devastating results like plunging you into serious debt. How would you pay the rent, put food on the table, or pay for your kid’s tuition?
- Employee Termination. Perhaps your boss intends to fire you or is looking for an excuse to do so. No one likes to be in this untenable situation because it erodes emotional and mental stability. How can you function on the job when you’re worried about losing it?
- No Prospects. Perhaps you have yet to complete your college degree, and obtaining different or similar employment is not an option. Many employees begin and complete a college degree while working. The issue comes back to: “Who’s going to put bread on the table?”
- Victim Blaming. Perhaps others are blaming you for the predicament. If so, you may need to surround yourself with more positive people. Although you cannot choose your family, you can educate them about your plight. At the very least you could ask for suggestions for assistance.
- Legally Beneficial. For now, bullying is not illegal. But it represents more than the uproarious school yard. It represents power and satisfaction for the bully.
Silence provides power for bullies. Their antics or wrath jeopardizes your job, career, relationships and mental, emotional and physical health. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, you should combat workplace bullying by doing the following:
- Recognize there’s a problem. Recognize you’re being harassed either sexually or psychologically.
- Take some time off work. This may or may not be easy, but you must put some distance between yourself and the bully so that you can mount your own attack.
- Check your health. Go see your family doctor or mental health provider. There’s no shame in seeking help.
- Seek legal help from Fair Employment Practices Agencies like the EEOC. This may appear daunting. But it actually helps because you’re acknowledging there’s a problem. And you’re attacking the problem in a legal way.
- Expose the bully. Because you’ve been targeted, you have nothing to lose by exposing the bully to Human Resources or to the EEOC.
The above represents but a few steps you can take to counter attack the bully. It is noted that Doctors Gary and Ruth Namie represents leading consultants on workplace bullying. Their website provides crucial information for combatting workplace bullying, including sexual harassment.
 Dr. Gary Namie, “The WBI 3-Step Target Action Plan,” Workplace Bullying Institute,