Workplace Bullying Scenarios – What would you do?
- S/he laughed at my joke. Doesn’t that mean that it was welcome?
- Remember, too, that often people feel uncomfortable setting boundaries. In this example, you may laugh at the joke because it was told by another employee and you feel that they’re obligated to participate. You may also worry about being seen as a prude if they object. The truth is, if you’re uncomfortable, someone else probably is too.
- It’s your responsibility to let people know where your line is. It’s their responsibility to respect that line.
- Scenario Two
- Your newest member, Jason, has recently switched careers; he used to be a masseuse. He is always telling you that you look tense and rubbing your shoulders.
- This could also be construed as harassment. Unwanted physical touching is a definite no-no in the workplace. Jason needs to acclimatize himself to a different working environment.
- Scenario Three
- Lisa and Bill were on a business trip last weekend. They had dinner together at the hotel, during which Lisa talked openly about her private life and repeatedly touched Bill’s hand. He feels very awkward now that they are back in the office.
- This is a very grey area. If Lisa were telling sexual stories, and if Bill construes the hand-touching as sexual, then she could very well be guilty of harassment. The best solution is for Bill to set clear boundaries with Lisa to prevent the situation from escalating.
- Common Sense Approach
- Stay professional in the office.
- Wear appropriate clothing, don’t touch your co-workers, and don’t tell sexual stories or jokes.
- Have common sense.
- Before you speak, think, “Is this really appropriate for the workplace?”
- If you speak or behave in a way that is inappropriate, apologize and make an effort to ensure it doesn’t happen again.