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Recognizing bullying in the workplace

August is Don't Be a Bully Month, and we thought it was a great time to discuss bullying in the workplace. Often, people talk about bullying in the context of children and teens, but this type of behavior can happen as we get older. In some cases, workplace bullying even steps into the bounds of sexual harassment or discrimination, and those are very serious legal matters.

One of the first steps in facing workplace bullies is recognizing that you are, in fact, the victim of bullying. This isn't always easy for adults. You probably don't want to admit you are dealing with an issue of bullying, but you might also not realize the behavior crossed the line somewhere. The Workplace Bullying Institute provides some tips for determining if you are the victim of bullying.

Some signs of on-the-job bullying actually show up at home. If you are anxious about going to work each day or obsess over the need to return to work the next day, you might be facing bullies. Other signs include feeling extreme fatigue on your days off or continuously having to take time off as a mental-health break, inability to enjoy normal activities and hobbies or constantly talking about work and work relationships with your family.

At work, signs of bullying take many forms, including hostility or open rudeness from supervisors or coworkers. If you are constantly left out of meetings and projects when you are qualified or relevant to the situation, that could be a form of bullying. If your boss yells at you or humiliates you in public or you feel like someone is inappropriately sexually attentive to you, these are signs of bullying.

Standing up for yourself is important. Consider reporting bullying to the proper channels in your organization. If bullying has become sexual harassment or discrimination, consider speaking with an employment law professional to understand your options.

Source: Workplace Bullying Institute, "You could be bullied at work and not recognize it .... Know the signs," accessed July 29, 2016

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