If you are feeling helpless, self-conscience, vulnerable, anxious, or angry at work, you may be the victim of workplace bullying without even knowing it. Sometimes the symptoms can be physical too, like insomnia, lack of appetite, tummy aches, or headaches. Whatever you’re experiencing repeatedly as a result of bullying clearly provides evidence that bullying is bad. Join us this February in our quest to mitigate workplace bullying and bring kindness into the workplace.

Bullying that involves hurtful physical or verbal attacks such as shoving, pushing, swearing, and/or belittling are obvious forms of bullying. We want to uncover and bring awareness to those subtle behaviours that contribute to decreased morale, absenteeism, presenteeism, reduced organizational image, and poor customer service. Obviously, these results are neither good for the company nor the employee.

Some subtle behaviours that contribute to workplace bullying include a pattern of rolling eyes, jokingly offending someone by calling them names, calling people out in front of others, speaking to people in a patronizing way, abuse of power, lying, inconsistent reprimands, capriciousness, and sarcasm. If someone at your workplace consistently displays any of the aforementioned behaviours—especially directed at one or two people—you can be fairly certain that the recipients of these behaviours are feeling bullied.

It is always good to understand where a bully is coming from, and quite frequently, it is from an unhappy place. Often times, a bully bullies to hide his or her shortfalls and weaknesses. Sometimes a bully bullies because of jealousy; and other times, because of an intense, power-hungry desire to rise in rank. Whatever the reason is that contributes to a bully’s unprofessional and inappropriate behaviour, you must know that—more often than not—his or her behaviour has nothing to do with you. Just think, when you are having a bad day and you take it out on your partner or a family member, is it really your partner’s or family member’s issue? Nope! It’s yours! Your partner or family member just happened to be in the crosshairs of your negativity scope.

Now, there are steps you can take to attempt to resolve the bullying issue. First of all, you must have a case. Write down anything you can remember that has happened in the past. Going back into your emails can be helpful if you have written proof of the bullying. Begin to compile your proof into a timeline. From the present day forward, document any new experiences you may encounter with your bully. After you have a decent case, you must be brave and tell the bully to stop. Bring with you an easy to understand definition of what bullying is, should you need to reference it. You must state the bully’s behaviour that is causing you angst and explain how it makes you feel. Because you have been documenting the behaviour, you will have some concrete examples, if asked for them. If the bully seems receptive to change, ask the bully for a plan of action and what you can expect moving forward. If the bully still does not change, take your evidence to the manager and ensure you are aware of, and are acting in accordance with, the company’s bullying and harassment policy. If the bully is your manager, or your manager sweeps the situation under the rug and there is nobody higher in rank to talk to, then you may want to seriously consider getting another job. Hopefully the situation will never get to this point.

If you feel like you, or others, are being bullied, here are some resources for you:

WorkSafeBC Safety at Work Bullying and Harassment Information –  http://bit.ly/1INso2c

WorkBC Understanding Workplace Rightshttp://bit.ly/1O1va2x

Canadian Labour Relations – http://bit.ly/1VCY0JD

OSH Answers About Bullying in the Workplacehttp://bit.ly/1QqM0f3

Globe and Mail How to Strike Back Against Workplace Bullyinghttp://bit.ly/1Jclcr2

People’s Law School Workplace Bullying and Harrassmenthttp://bit.ly/1moqryY

No Bully For Me Forumhttp://bit.ly/1m847Jo

Bad Bossology How to Deal with a Difficult Bosshttp://bit.ly/1RSlF8P

Book Recommendation: I Can’t Get Over Ithttp://amzn.to/1Rp3FDI

Civility at Work 20 Ways to Build a Kinder Workplacehttp://bit.ly/1ZcAnK5

JobLaw Wrongful Dismissal and Employment Lawhttp://joblaw.ca/

Mobbing  Group Workplace Bullyinghttp://bit.ly/1ZcFycV

Workplace Bullying Institute Bloghttp://bit.ly/1O6QVLh

On February 24th Pink Shirt Day is celebrated. Pink Shirt Day is a national awareness initiative created by two amazing high school students in Nova Scotia. This dedicatory day is held annually to bring awareness to bullying and encourage kindness and acceptance to yourself and others.  Do you have your pink shirt showing support? Together we can mitigate bullying. Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Let’s stand together this February and encourage the momentum of these incipient ripples to create waves.