It is an unfortunate fact of life that some people bully others. When bullying occurs at work, it can prevent you from being able to do your job while also causing you to suffer mental and emotional consequences. While there is no valid reason for bullying at work, certain types of people engage in this conduct regularly. It is important for people to understand the common characteristics of workplace bullies. Employers should promptly address bullying behavior to encourage better morale and to enjoy better productivity. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler help people who are the victims of bullying because of their protected characteristics so that the bullies and their employers might be held accountable.
Characteristics of workplace bullies
There are several common types of bullies, and it is important for employers to recognize them so that they can take steps to prevent workplace bullying behavior. Some bullies engage in constant criticism of workers that is unwarranted. This criticism can come from a co-worker in an attempt to undercut another’s work or a supervisor. While a certain amount of criticism might be necessary in the context of evaluating job performance, when it is taken too far or when it is based on the protected status of a worker, it may amount to harassment.
Some bullies are initially charming on the surface. After they convince others that they are good people, they then engage in campaigns against others at work to control, manipulate, and dominate them. Bullies may also spread rumors about others in an attempt to damage their reputations or publicize private information that they were told in confidence.
Problems that bullying can cause in the workplace
Bullying may have negative consequences for the victims and for their employers. Workplace bullying that is allowed to continue unchecked may lead to increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, poor morale, higher turnover, and a toxic workplace environment. Employees who are bullied may experience stress, depression, and anxiety. They may have trouble attending to their jobs, and their performance might suffer.
What to do about bullying
Workplace bullying is not prohibited under state or federal law. However, some forms of bullying may be prohibited if the bullies engage in the conduct because of the protected statuses of their victims. For example, if a bully only singles out people who are of a minority race, are disabled, are female, are older, or who have other protected characteristics, the conduct can be illegal discrimination.
People who are bullied at work should confront the bullies. If the conduct continues, they should complain to the designated person who handles harassment complaints. People who believe that they are being targeted because of their protected characteristics might want to consult with the legal team at Swartz Swidler. To learn about your rights, call us today for a free claim evaluation.