Bullying seems to be a buzzword in today’s society. What was once a simple act of the big, mean kid picking on the smaller, defenseless child has moved to the new arena of cyberspace. Too many horrific stories outline the drastic actions some adolescents take to get away from the bullying. Thankfully, there are laws to protect and prosecute when it comes to school-age minors.
But outside of schoolyards, few know about the damage workplace cyberbullying has caused good employees.
As it becomes the norm to sit back and pass judgment in a few typed responses, the rise of the workplace bully has been inevitable. Emboldened by not having to think or even look that person in the eye when they send out those emails or posts, too many employees have targeted coworkers for harassment.
Employees on the receiving end of this type of bullying don’t always know where to go or who to ask for help. Is this an HR matter or do you go straight to the boss? In many cases, to make it stop, the employee first must collect some “evidence” if you will. If an employee is the subject of co-worker bullying, it’s important not to snap out a response. First, the employee needs evidence no matter how much waiting and collecting might hurt.
Being firm and up-front with the bullies and stating that you expect the harassment to end is the next step. The important thing is to remain calm and firm. Don’t waver or give them any outs when it comes to your expectations. Keep an eye out to see if they take your expectations seriously.
If the bullying persists, seek out HR or even your boss and bring your evidence to them. Sometimes, bullying can lead to job termination and the threat of being unemployed will stop the actions immediately.
For the company owner or manager, stopping cyberbullying before it starts is a better tactic. If there have been reports of misdeeds and bullying, but scarce proof, it’s time to call in a digital forensics expert to do the digging and find the culprit.
In extreme cases of bullying, where litigation gets involved, having a computer expert witness will help protect the company, victim, and ensure that the guilty party gets their punishment.