Workplace bullying: How to identify it and manage it ASAP

Workplace bullying is never, ever OK. You’d think the term “bullying” would stop in your younger years as the people who behaved in this childish manner would grow up at some point but no, it still exists. 

What’s even worse is if this sort of thing is happening to you personally whether at the office or getting the job done from home as most of us have been doing for the past several months. And the statistics are alarming.

A 2017 national survey conducted by The Workplace Bullying Institute found that 19% of people have either been bullied or are currently being bullied at their job.

Further stats show 70% of said bullies were male while 30% were female with both sexes more likely to target women. Bosses and supervisors outweigh coworkers as bullies in a 61% vs. 33% result. The other 6% are the ones that makes up employees on the lower end of the employment chain who bully their supervisors or people above them.

Let’s work to identify the kinds of bullies that are out there right now. Each have their own set of troubles within them that you should be able to pick up on if this sort of thing is happening to you or if you see it taking place with one of your colleagues.

Passive-aggressive workplace bullying

You know those jerks you grew up that would say things like, “Wow you don’t even look that fat today!” The workplace bullying version of that is something along the lines of, “Wow you actually got here on time finally.” Their behavior is designed to leave you feeling a multitude of things that often results in you wondering why this person is acting this way towards you.

Verbal workplace bullying

They will say things to or about you that are never positive. A verbal bully will gossip about you, mock you, insult your appearance, the way you talk, the list goes on. Its high school all over again for them and they are loving every minute of it.

Intimidation workplace bullying

This is the type of employee that will exclude you from social types of events in the workplace, spy on you to find any sort of flaw in how you are performing or even downright threaten you by yelling and embarrassing you In front of your colleagues. The word fear should never be in your vocabulary when entering and leaving your job yet they seem to thrive on this kind of thing.


This is where workplace bullying is, shockingly enough, encouraged and accepted by management. It’s something that can have a major detriment to your workflow which could lead to a negative domino effect for the business at hand who clearly have no issue with this type of behavior but fail to realize how much it’s hurting the company overall.

This is usually the case when you see companies with very low ratings on Glassdoor as its previous employees blast it for its toxic environment that they had to suffer through.

Gatekeeping workplace bullying

Feeling like you’re being sabotaged? Trying to figure out why this person forgot to tell you about a detail-oriented meeting one day? Welcome to the Gatekeeper. Their type of bullying revolves around withholding important information that can either cause you to fail on a certain project or look unprepared when it comes time to present it.

Perhaps they are trying to look better with your bosses or both of you are in line for the same job and they are looking to be its number one candidate in any way possible, but this is someone that wants to take you down regardless of how nice they are to you.

Now they we have the types of bullies out of the way, here is how you should go about handling them if any of these things have or are currently happening to you.

How to deal with a hostile workplace environment

Don’t let them see you sweat. Practice your best poker face. Pretend you are listening to a Sarah McLachlan CD. In other words, remain calm when and if you feel as if you are being bullied.

Don’t retaliate

Sort of goes hand in hand with staying calm but retaliating will only spur said bully even further and they could possibly make your work life that much more hellish. Let them do their thing, which leads to my most important step…

Document everything

If the problem is big enough where HR needs to get involved then you need to make this an all hands on deck kind of thing. Save emails, ask for other colleagues who have witness such behavior to be a witness, record the date and time of things happening, etc. Get as much info as needed so that HR can handle things accordingly.