Workplace bullying: it’s a hot topic in the media right now. Unfortunately, it is becoming more prevalent than ever before – tactics can range from the covert (behind-the-back sniping) to the blatant (public humiliation or even physical abuse). What’s more, with the advent and surge of social media tools, these disturbing tactics often are often perpetrated online for the world to see, both during and after employment.
Regardless of the technique, bullying is unquestionably harmful, often producing distressing consequences. Victims of bullying report decreased workplace productivity, loss of confidence, debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression and even physical illnesses.
Simply removing yourself from the job is not always the answer, as the abuse can and often does continue after employment and during the reference checking process for a new position. “A large number of the references we check are in response to workplace bullying”, says Jeff Shane, Vice President of Allison & Taylor Reference Checking, a firm that offers “Cease and Desist” letters to stop the bullying. “People are feeling the pressure of persecution in the workplace. They’re also worried that should they seek other employment, the negative feedback they are receiving in their current job will carry over and affect their ability to get a new job.”
At issue for most employees: management or supervisors are the most common offenders. This translates to particular difficulty for an employee; since the perpetrators are often operating within the realm of “standard practices” in their organizations, victims often feel that they may deserve the criticisms, or are simply too embarrassed, hesitant or fearful to confront the harasser.
So what are the options if you feel you have been the victim of unwarranted harassment or criticism? “First, try speaking directly to the bully. If an honest, calm discussion does not resolve the issue, then an employee has to consider other options.” says Shane. “If an employee’s concerns are brushed aside or ignored completely, they need to consider taking more assertive action.”
“The dilemma of workplace bullying is often made worse by the feeling that nothing can be done to resolve it,” says Shane, “but this is simply not true. An employee definitely can, and should, take proactive steps to improve or protect their employment situation.”
Allison & Taylor Reference Checking provides a service whereby an employee can find out exactly what someone is saying about them, both personally and in regard to their work performance. If a workplace bully is speaking out of turn when responding to an employment inquiry, employees can exercise the option of a Cease & Desist letter or pursue more substantive legal action. Such tools will help ensure that the transgressor will stop their actions out of fear of corporate reprisal.
To find out more about workplace bullying and the steps you can take to prevent or eliminate it, please visit Allison & Taylor Reference Checking.
For more information on conducting a reference check, please visit AllisonTaylor.com.
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