I have been bullied by two women in my office. I have talked with my supervisor numerous times and nothing has been done. During a meeting both of the women accused me of not following through on a request. I thought the request had been resolved. I mutter I would like to punch her in the mouth. I know it was wrong to say this, but I feel this would not have happened if the supervisor had stopped the bullying. I was written up and made to work on another floor. I still have to work with them but they do not acknowledge me at all. Isn’t this still a form of bullying? They did not hear what I had said only my supervisor who was sitting next to me. I will not receive a raise because of this incident and still put up with the bullying. I guess I just don’t see this a threat, maybe I’m wrong?
— Not A Puncher
You’re right — your comment was not a threat. It was just really, really dumb. And rude, irresponsible, immature and ineffective. Remember my classic workplace policy: “Just because you THINK it does not mean you should SAY it.”
On the bright side, you did not actually punch anyone in the mouth. Kudos to you!
— Evil Skippy
I agree with ES (and you) that the comment was wrong. I also agree with your supervisor that it needed to be taken seriously. However, I am very curious. What was the bullying toward you in the past and what is it now? If there is an ongoing issue, the fact that you made an inappropriate comment does not grant your two co-workers a license to treat you poorly. Provide your manager or H.R. representative with factual details about the bullying (this is what they did and this is when they did it). Don’t just say, “They’re bullies!” Describe the actual conduct that made you conclude bullying is present.
Whether a “failure to acknowledge” you is bullying depends on what you mean by “failure to acknowledge”. If you say good morning and they roll their eyes and turn away from you – that’s rude and a pattern of similar behavior could constitute part of a bullying campaign. If they act like you are invisible and do not respond to you whatsoever, same answer plus they are refusing to do their jobs if you are trying to talk to them about a work-related matter.
Your workplace has an obligation to shield you from bulling. Period. Management should be as direct with your co-workers as they were with you. Your employer also has an obligation to protect you from rude or obnoxious behavior, even if it is not bullying. Evaluate the “failure to acknowledge” facts and any other bullying that you believe you are experiencing. Apply a reality check to yourself (consult with a trusted friend if you want) and, if what is happening appears to violate company conduct policy, report the conduct whether or not it is also “bullying”.
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