Rising Up Against Bullying

Recently, I was privy to a situation at work where a former coworker of mine began escalating behavior against another employee in a way that constituted harassment.

What really resonated with me is that this employee had harassed me in the past, too.  And when that happened several years ago, I was able to resolve the situation quietly and without getting any official involvement.  I was pleased at the time that the issue resolved itself, but now that this person has a history of this behavior, I very much regret that I did not at least submit a written statement against it at the time.  This person now has a history of this repeated behavior.

I am sure I was not the first person, either.  She has bullied and abused her way through life, and she has zero emotional regulation.  She is an angry person who somehow feels fulfilled by taking others down.  It’s not fair, it’s counterproductive, and no one needs to put up with this.

Sometimes, I think when we get entangled into these situations we come up with reasons why we think we are targets, or at the very least, reasons why we worry about speaking out.  In this new situation that has arisen, with so much previous conflict between the two, I think the newly targeted employee feels like she shouldn’t rock the boat too hard, she doesn’t want to cause a disturbance, etc.

But no matter what, whatever your other areas of opportunity, no one deserves to be harassed or bullied. Even if you are the weakest member of your team, you do not deserve to be harassed or bullied.

This isn’t to say I support any type of vindictive retaliation against anyone.  Whether it is within your personal life, or in a workplace or club setting, there are many protocols available to report and get assistance in dealing with this sort of behavior.

When advising this former coworker of mine regarding this incident she is facing with this other employee, I told her to document and report, but in all other ways, remain on the high ground.  The things she is enduring are unacceptable, but I believe in the end she will triumph over this.  And hopefully, she will be a role model to her peers to stand up against this behavior as well.

People become angry or hurt or feel rejected due to various things and people are entitled to work through these feelings in a healthy way, but they are not entitled to harass or bully another person.  There are laws, organizational policies and so on protecting against this sort of thing.  More needs to be done.  But we take the first step against it when we stand up and say no, we will not accept it.

“One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” – Michael J. Fox