My Boss Is a Bully: How to Confront Bullying at Work

Bullying in the workplace has been a heated and controversial issue for many years. Bullying by supervisors, co-workers, and even underlings is entirely legal and even expected to some degree. While some employees may instinctively believe that this type of behavior forms a hostile workplace, it actually does not unless the bullying is specifically targeting the employee because of their race, gender, or disability. In some states, sexual orientation is also included, but in others it is not.

Document Everything

Though bullying is not a legal issue, it’s still not something that most companies support. The first step to deal with bullying is for the employee to document every instance of it, from the beginning, and to continue doing so. This documentation should include dates, times, witnesses, and detailed descriptions of the bullying incident. The victim of the bullying should take this documentation to their human resources department. However, if there is no HR department, the employee will have to go to the boss themselves.

Talking To The Boss

Sometimes people may be harsh or blunt and may not realize they are doing it. It’s a good idea for the victim of the bullying to first discuss their boss’s behavior with them and how it is making them feel, along with how it’s affecting their productivity at work. There is a small chance that their boss may be reasonable about this, and may make an active effort to change. Having documentation will help give the employee concrete events to point to and not just a general feeling of unease, and it will also give the boss an idea of which types of behavior are upsetting the employee.

Remove Yourself From The Situation

If an employee’s boss proves unreasonable and will not change their ways it puts the employee in a difficult situation. Because bullying is not legally actionable, there’s nothing that obligates the boss from being nicer. Instead, the employee will have to focus on removing themselves from situations that become too emotionally charged. This includes taking breaks when the employee feels like the situation has become too intense to deal with.

Look For Another Job

No one deserves to be mistreated, least of all at work. An employee with a bullying boss should start looking for other work as soon as he or she can. However, there is one thing an employee does need to look out for. An employee should not let on to their boss that they are actively searching for work until they have another job offer in hand. This will avoid a situation in which the boss may retaliate by firing the employee before they can quit.

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