- 1. What Is Bullying?
- 1. What Is Bullying?
- 2. What Are the Protected Characteristics?
- 3. What Is Discrimination?
- 4. Examples of Bullying at Work
- 5. Examples of Discrimination at Work
- 6. Discrimination Laws
- 7. The Effect of Discrimination & Bullying on Mental Health
- 8. The Importance of Witnesses
- 9. How to Report Discrimination at Work?
- 10. How to Deal With Being Bullied in the Workplace?
- 11. What If Your Boss Is the Bully?
- 12. What Employers Can Do to Prevent Discrimination
- 13. Be Aware of the Consequences
- 14. Dealing With Discrimination and Bullying at Work Effectively
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Bullying and discrimination have a big effect on people emotionally, both victims and the bully can suffer mental health effects. Sadly, bullying jumps straight off of the school playground and into work. Dealing with discrimination and bullying at work is overwhelming. As it makes us feel like our wages are on the line.But anyone can learn to handle it in the best way possible, hopefully keeping those wages.
What Is Bullying?
What Are the Protected Characteristics?
- Gender (Identity Expression)
- National Origins
- Disability (physical and psychological)
- Sexual Orientation
- Sex (Including Pregnancy)
These protected characteristics can be defended in a court of law, but you need to check the specifics of your region.
What Is Discrimination?
Harassment involves calling others offensive names, mistreating or sending rude messages to someone with a protected characteristic. For example, let’s say Karen says sarcastically to Roberta, “Keep up, grandma”, because of Roberta’s age being older – this would be harassment. Especially, if that were to happen every day, to the point where Roberta felt awful about coming to work.
Discrimination involves employment actions against an employee with a protected characteristic. For example, Karen is the boss, and she fires, cuts the pay, or demotes Roberta because she discovers and disagrees with her sexual orientation. This is accountable in a court of law, even if Karen gives another excuse for firing Roberta. If there is evidence to prove it was due to the protected characteristic, Karen could face a lawsuit.
Examples of Bullying at Work
IntimidationWorkplace intimidation can happen in a number of ways, but an example would be subtle or overt threats between workmates. Excluding Individuals It’s true that not all employees will get along smoothly. But purposefully ignoring or excluding individuals from conversations, meetings, or social events would be a sign of bullying.
UnderminingA sign of someone at work undermining you would be if someone were to diminish your achievements or laugh spitefully at your aims. Even spreading false rumor is considered to be an act of undermining someone.
Only CritiquesSome managers are unaware that their management style is filled with negative comments without any encouragement or positives. This style is a form of bullying, depending on how it makes the employee being critiqued feel.
Shifting the BlameIf someone else’s mistakes are shifted to us, this is also a form of bullying.
Mood swings & AggressionA co-worker can switch from one emotion to the next, possibly acting out aggressively when they don’t get what they want. It can also be because they want to exert power over others. Although this is a sign of someone who has trouble processing their emotions, it can damage those they work alongside.
Examples of Discrimination at Work
Direct DiscriminationThis is when someone with a protected characteristic is directly mistreated at work. For example, a pregnant employee is demoted or fired due to being pregnant.
Indirect DiscriminationWhen we talk of indirect discrimination, this could be a neutral arrangement or criteria that ‘accidentally’ affects those with a protected characteristic. For example, your job criteria states you need a worker who is six feet tall. But that rules out women and potentially those with physical disabilities.
VictimizationLastly, a type of discrimination is victimization. This happens when someone suffers unfair treatment because they complained about having suffered discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
The Effect of Discrimination & Bullying on Mental Health
The Importance of Witnesses
How to Report Discrimination at Work?
How to Deal With Being Bullied in the Workplace?
Speak UpWhether it’s taking the bully aside and telling them Whether it’s taking the bully aside and telling them how their actions make you feel or speaking to HR, don’t suffer in silence. There’s no harm in resolving these issues or reporting the situation to someone who remains unbiased.
Look At Company PolicyGo over the company policies on behavior at your work, and check the section on bullying. What’s the process of letting supervisors know? Do you need to fill in specific forms? Who do you need to involve in the situation?
Talk With HRIn some cases, dealing with the bully or discriminator upfront is impossible. Instead, you need to go to boss, a trade union, or HR. If the situation is severely affecting your work or your mental health, it’s certainly worth speaking up.
Keep a RecordRecord the dates, places, times, and other details if you plan on making a claim. Also, save any written texts, emails, times you’ve been teased, left out, etc. This record will be your proof that you’ve been mistreated.
Call a HelplineBullying helplines can help guide you to the right information for your situation. They can advise you on your next steps and give you the perfect resources for what you’re experiencing.
Discuss it With a PsychologistNone of us are the perfection we strive for, and talking things through helps us to gain a clear understanding of ourselves to keep progressing. You can chat with one of our team or your own mental health professional to gain clarity on dealing with discrimination and bullying at work. It can also help you to heal from the emotional turmoil of what you’re going through.
What if Your Boss Is the Bully?
What Employers Can Do to Prevent Discrimination
Be Aware of the Consequences
Dealing With Discrimination and Bullying at Work Effectively
But if employers work together with employees (including potential witnesses), then we can drastically reduce the likelihood of it happening at work. Again, training is the key to managing these conflicts within organizations.
One of the emotional side effects of discrimination will likely be a feeling of anger. Although it is perfectly justified in these cases, it’s essential to remain calm and professional. Fighting fire with fire as they say –
Or as my grandmother used to say “they who lose their temper, lose their argument”.
Try talking to a professional adviser, trusted friends or family, and work on building emotional resilience. Emotional resilience is the art of living with self-compassion, self-belief and bouncing back from stressful situations. Learn to empower yourself and plan how you will deal with discrimination and bullying at work in a fair, just way that strengthens everyone involved.
Bully and bullied, discriminators and discriminated, might be able to teach one another a lesson on becoming a better version of ourselves.