Bullying at work causes a tremendous amount of stress, on the person who is being bullied, the person (s) who is / are being accused of the bullying, especially if formal procedures are invoked, not to mention all of the other colleagues who either are drawn into the incidents or those who are tasked with a view to resolving the issues.
From the workplace mediations and the employment mediations that I and my mediators have mediated over the years, bullying comes in many forms from a minor incident to major incidents, it can be a simple incident and or a repetition of incidents and events, such as;
Ignoring a colleague, none inclusion, socialising outside of work and not inviting a colleague, not pulling your weight, tasking someone with an enormous workload, more than they should be.
Rude, snide, hurtful, personal, abusive remarks, over age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, appearance, competency the list goes on, threats of intimidation, harassment, racial, sexual. Threats of violence, and violence occurring in the most extreme of cases.
As most of us spend the majority of our adult life at work, whether it is part or full time, it would be desirable to have our time at work as hassle free as possible. The stress and pressure bullying causes is immense and it has a knock on effect on individuals. From the workplace mediation services we have provided the key stressful issues we have identified leading to the following behavior has been as follows,
Sleepless nights, dreading going to work, fear, hostility, trust issues, insecurity, other relationships outside of the workplace, (family, children, partners) being affected. Retaliating making the situation a thousand times worse, going on long term sick, mental and physical health being affected, resigning, never returning to work, due to the fear of this will happen elsewhere, careers ruined.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; however these have been the main issues that my mediators and I have encountered over our years of providing employment mediation services.
Strangely enough all of the workplace mediations that I have conducted have ordinarily been resolved within one day, apart from two cases which required two separate sessions (which were resolved). What was key in all of these cases were there had been some minor misunderstanding which like a snowball then avalanched making the situation a thousand times worse.
As communication was so poor between the individuals they never really discussed the issues, incident (s) key misunderstanding which led to all of this, had they have done they could have easily avoided all the stress, hassle and turmoil they went through.
Scarily enough bullying at work can go on for years, some of the cases that I have personally mediated; the employment dispute has been going on for an average of between six months to three years.
Individuals and employers are grateful for our input and the resolution of such disputes, providing them with strategies on how to avoid the same in the future, I always ask why did you not use us or any mediation services earlier, the answer is always the same, we never really knew about mediation, or what it could achieve.
See the following mediation testimonial from Victim Support, for who I resolved a very complicated workplace dispute which had been going on for a considerable period of time.