Following my blog posts on the death-by-bullying case of Brodie Panlock, I asked my friend and colleague Sarah McMahon, (above), a consultant psychologist and accredited mediator who has counseled many victims of workplace bullying, to provide advice to those who are subjected to bullyling at work.
- Keep detailed notes of events- and keep these as matter-of-fact as possible. Should the incidents need to be investigated these notes will serve you well. Therapeutically, including information about your feelings can also be very helpful.
- Tell someone senior in the workplace. If you work for a large employer you will probably have an HR department- which is a good place to start. This can be more difficult if your employer is small, however begin by talking to your manager (or their manager if you feel this is not appropriate). Often you will be required to make a formal complaint, which can be daunting. However given that bullying and sexual harassment are serious offenses, this will usually enable an investigation and formal grievance procedure to be instigated.
- Seek the counsel of friends and family. Having support from people outside the workplace- particularly if your workplace has a toxic subculture- is invaluable because family and friends can provide some perspective on the events that are taking place. Utilising this support can also prevent you from being accused of unprofessional conduct, such as discussing private issues with your co-workers.
- Consult your GP. Being the victim of workplace bullying or sexual harassment can be stressful so it is useful to have the support of someone that can monitor your mental health. Your GP might refer you to a more specialised health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist if they think this is required. If you develop a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression and work is considered to be a significant contributing factor, your condition should be compensable. This means that if you require time off work or psychological treatment due to the bullying or sexual harassment, this should be paid for by your employer’s workers compensation insurance at no cost to you.
- Look for another job. Technically you shouldn’t have to do this- it is unfair that you should have to change jobs because of another person’s conduct (and of course there are times when standing up to a bully is important). However changing jobs can often be the simplest, quickest and easiest solution and thus an option that warrants consideration.