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What can I do if I'm being bullied at work?

Succeed on the Job
Answer

The first step in addressing bullying at work is knowing whether it’s covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act—that is, whether it relates to a “protected ground.” Protected grounds include

  • race
  • colour
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • religious beliefs
  • gender
  • age
  • physical or mental disability
  • marital or family status
  • source of income
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • gender expression

If you are being bullied on one of these grounds, go straight to the Alberta Rights Commission.

Don’t Put Up With It

Bullying that is not based on protected grounds doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve the situation. This kind of bullying is sometimes called general workplace harassment.

Your first step is to find out if your workplace has an anti-bullying policy. In that case, read and follow it. But even if it doesn’t, you can still

  • Establish a pattern in writing. Record the date, time, witnesses, what happened and the outcome. Keep track of the number and frequency of incidents.
  • Keep copies of written exchanges with the bully, such as letters, emails, memos or texts.
  • Hold onto evidence that you do your job well, such as performance appraisals or references.
  • Talk to the bully. Explain that the behaviour is unwelcome, unwanted and unacceptable. Tell them firmly and clearly how it affects you and that you want it to stop. If nothing else, it may bring a witness into the conversation for support.
  • Stay connected with your co-workers and others. Don’t let a bully isolate you.
  • Don’t retaliate. It can make you look like a bully and escalate the problem.
  • If the bullying doesn’t stop, talk to your supervisor about it. If your supervisor is the bully, talk to their manager. If neither is possible, talk to someone in human resources.

For more ideas and help, call trained staff at Alberta Human Services. Contact the Bullying Helpline at 1-888-456-2323 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or chat online from 12 noon until 8 p.m., 7 days a week. All chats and calls are anonymous.

For more ideas and help, call trained staff at Alberta Human Services. Contact the Bullying Helpline at 1-888-456-2323 toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or chat online from 12 noon until 8 p.m., 7 days a week. All chats and calls are anonymous.