When most people think of bullying, they think of children teasing and otherwise demeaning other children. However, workplace bullying is just as much a problem today as the same issue on the playground and in school halls. In fact, many people who have worked in an office or any other type of job where there is a team of people working together may have seen evidence of this behavior among their co-workers. There was recently a case in England where a midwife was fired over bullying tactics. Learn all you need to learn about the case of how a midwife bullies coworkers.
Coworker Bullying: Addressing Her Own Concerns
The case came to the attention of the governing body of midwives, the Employment Tribunal, when the midwife in question, Louise Westwood, sent complaints to management about practices she felt were in violation of patient safety. For instance, she complained of a hearing impaired midwife who did not hear a fire alarm and left a patient and her baby in their room. She also complained of a midwife who was chronically late and would falsify her time sheet to ensure she didn’t lose out on any pay.
The Employment Tribunal looked into these allegations and determined they were unfounded. Even the Oxford University Hospitals Trust denied these serious allegations. While Mrs. Westwood felt she was doing the right thing by reporting poor behaviors by co-workers, what happened next is not what she expected.
Coworker Bullying: The Discovery of Workplace Bullying
During the investigation, Mrs. Westwood was placed on leave while they investigated allegations of co-worker bullying by other midwives who worked at the same hospital. As they investigated the bullying allegations, along with the allegations Mrs. Westwood made, it was found that she herself was responsible for bullying her co-workers, making her allegations suspicious. Because she was found guilty of bullying, she received a 12-month written warning.
Coworker Bullying: How Common Is Co-Worker Bullying?
You may wonder exactly how common this behavior is in the workplace. After all, these individuals are adults and should be able to act as such. Unfortunately, this type of bullying is meant to advance individuals through their careers and make them feel more important than the other employees. This tactic isn’t only limited to co-workers either. In some situations, bosses are known to bully their workers into doing what they want them to do. Understanding that bullying can and will happen in the workplace can help individuals learn to handle it.
Coworker Bullying: What Does Workplace Bullying Look Like?
Knowing what workplace bullying looks like will ensure you and your co-workers can identify it and find ways to stop it before it begins to affect productivity and the general workplace atmosphere. Bullying in the workplace can take many forms, which include:
- Verbal abuse or attacks
- Singling employees out for criticism, especially in front of other employees
- Excluding certain employees from work functions
- Intentionally embarrassing employees
- Practical jokes, especially against the same person or with an expression of displeasure
If you notice any of these behaviors happening in your office or other workplace, it is important to take the right steps to fight against the issue to correct it.
What Can You Do about CoWorker Bullying?
Learning what you can do to fight against this behavior in the workplace is essential to ensure everyone has a safe place to go to work every day. How you handle issues can play a role on the type of environment in which you work, which in turn can have an impact on how happy you are with work.
- Alert someone in charge about what you have noticed. If it is happening between your co-workers, talk to your direct supervisor or boss about the behavior. If your boss or supervisor is participating in the behavior, take it to a higher level. At the least, you should be able to talk to someone in Human Resources about the issue.
- Employers should talk to workplace bullying consultants if this is a problem that is continuing and hasn’t resolved with simple instruction.
- If you are an employer and someone is not responding to reprimands about their behavior, you need to have a plan in place, which includes a path of disciplinary action, which will eventually lead to firing if the employee can’t comply.
Many individuals go to work to earn a living and want to be happy with their place of employment. However, bullying in the workplace has become a serious problem, just as it has in schools. While some people think they need to simply deal with it because it is part of life, it doesn’t have to be this way. When everyone is able to identify this type of behavior and take steps to correct it, the workplace can be a better place for everyone. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you are a victim or if you see someone who is bullied.