Bullying in the Workplace – the role of Mediation in addressing the problem

Although bullying in the workplace can be traumatising, it’s an issue which can be fixed and doesn’t have to affect you, or the company when properly addressed. Bullying in any form is wrong, but if the problem is brought to the attention of a superior, this can result in the issue being smoothed out and settled without anyone having to lose their job. One way of doing this is sitting down and talking through the problem with a mediator.

Bullying can include name-calling, put downs and derogatory comments. It might happen consistently or every once in a while and may be directed at you by just one person or a group of people. What’s important is how these comments make you feel. Office banter is entirely different from bullying and making your feelings on the issue heard by the perpetrator is key to distinguishing between the two. If the comments are in connection with office banter, you stating that you’re uncomfortable with it should call a stop to it. However, if it carries on, this is bullying.

If you feel you’re being bullied in your workplace, the most important step is to tell your superior. If you’ve received negative emails, text messages or voice messages, ensure you’ve saved these as evidence and show your employer. They should take this extremely seriously. Obviously, if the comments are threatening in any way, the next step is to notify the police. However, if the issue can be resolved, this can be beneficial to all involved.

Mediation in the workplace can not only resolve key issues employees may be having, but can also strengthen bonds that already exist, increasing effectiveness and work rate. Having a third party listen and comment on problems which may be occurring can offer a different perspective and make the bully realise the impact of their actions.