Helping You Cope With & Stop



The 7 Steps: Stopping Organizational Workplace Bullying

What does an organization do to create a Bully-Free at Work culture?

Question: What is a Bully-Free at Work culture?
Answer: The best way to get the truth about anything is to ask your customers. In this case, you would ask your staff on a scale of 1-5 ‘Do you feel the culture is Bully-Free’? If the response was less than a ‘5’, you would ask ‘What would make it a ‘5’?’.

Question: So what is the difference between a bullying situation or a difficult person situation? How do I know if it is bullying?
Answer: While there is no official or agreed-upon definition of workplace bullying, most contend is that bullying is deliberate, disrespectful, repeated behavior toward a target for the bully’s gain. It means yes, the bully is intentional and knows what they are doing.

Question: How do I know for sure if it is workplace bullying?
Answer: It is best to accurately document when the bullying happened, what happened, who was involved, how it made you feel and also list the aspect of how you felt the behavior was disrespectful. Showing many incidences of disrespectful behavior toward you, well documented, is a start.

Question: Can workplace bullying policies help?
Answer: I firmly believe workplace bullying policies are a must.Without them, people are not empowered. But be aware: even if a company or organization has a workplace bullying policy, the bully will still have tactics to move around such guidelines; so leaders and targets must be aware and plan not to be out-smarted by the bully. In addition, many policies fall short in requiring the documentation outlining the consequences of workplace bullying behavior.  As I mentioned in the Globe and Mail (Click here to read article) (June 15th), policies and laws are a definite help AND they are only as strong as the people’s accountability to them.

Question: Can going to HR help?
Answer: That depends. HR, unions and senior managers are often not trained or rewarded for dealing with workplace bullying issues. Many HR managers express to me: “I’d like to help but I don’t know what to do; I’m caught in the middle because I cannot hold the bully accountable.”

Question: If we could wave a magic wand, how might an organization go about implementing a Bully-Free at Work culture?
Answer: It is complicated and it is simple. It is simple if the senior level decision makers believe this is a good thing to do and will stand behind the policies. It is more difficult if you do not have the majority of the key people on board. Similar to any large decision-making pool, it then becomes more about leadership and influence.

Question: Why do attempts to stop workplace bullying not really work?
Answer: You need senior level decision makers to ‘own’ the problem. Stopping workplace bullying must be the responsibility of everyone in an organization. The target must keep an accurate log of repeated events to support their case in order to avoid a ‘tail wagging the dog’ complaint structure many organizations are afraid of. The senior management must first believe in ‘people, then profits’ when it comes to workplace bullying situations and put proper resources into standing behind this belief. Training for managers on how to support targets as well as accountability skills for the entire organization in order to hold the bully accountable are necessary steps in this process. The bully will never be accountable; they will only adhere to consequences put forth by those who can enforce the consequences.


*Note: Your name and email will not ever appear, it is strictly used to prevent spam comments.

2 responses to “The 7 Steps: Stopping Organizational Workplace Bullying”

  1. Midastouch_spellbound says:

    I feel there is only one way to handle this situation is face bullying for few years, save some money and start your own business no matter how small it is and start working on it….There is no Workplace in the World which is devoid of bullying…..Work itself means you have accepted to be a slave to an Organization…..

  2. mrethiopian says:

    My story is simple, I was bullied but explaining all the details and keeping myself disconnected enough to protect my identity will be a challenge. The information I’m giving is a small subset of all the events. From a high level I was tasked too find problems in the Timberland IT organization, after finding and fixing many issues one of the problems I found was that my direct manager was falsifying PCI reports to the bank, in that an auditing system was non functional, yet it was reported to be functional and reports form that system were simply made up. When I found this issue I reported my findings to the responsible director , this is when the bullying started and over the next several months I was bullied (harassed) relentlessly.

    Soon after reporting my manager falsifying PCI reports, she became hostile toward me and our relationship changed drastically, she wouldn’t look me in the eye when she spoke with me, all questions I had asked were omitted, or the response would be curt and hostile, at one point another peer on the team asked the same question in another way, and she went into great detail, yet when I asked the same question not 2 minutes earlier her answer was less than six words. In the morning when greeting the team she would greet others and ignore me, I would say good morning to my peers and get a response but when I did the same to her, she would just ignore me When I was given assignments the instructions were minimal at best and any follow-up I had would further confuse the issue. I was given assignments with timelines that were physically imposable. I found out by accident that she rescheduled tasks that I was responsible for, notify the rest of the team but never told me she would then harass me to why I was not at the meeting. During this time I also found her to be using an administrative ID that gives full access to all windows servers and systems, with this ID she could manipulate my outlook calendar and read all my email. As time went on I was subjected to daily verbal beatings, belittlement, harassment, and the silence treatment on a number of occasions she told me I was useless and stated that I should simply give up and quit, that my work was sub standard.

    prior to reporting her falsifying the PCI reports I was viewed as an exemplary employee. This bullying went on for months and I had had enough so I started discussion with my peers, and I found out that my manager had been bullying Timberland employees for the last 20 years. With this knowledge I set up a meeting with Timberland HR, what I found out simply floored me. My managers bullying had been documented by Timberland HR, many of my peers had some of the same issues as I did and HR actually had monthly meeting with the VP of HR to discuss my managers harassment of others.

    Timberland knows/ knew that the manager I worked for has/ had been bullying employees for the last 20 years, this manager was never reprimanded nor told that her actions were incorrect , in the end I was told by HR that my manager was simply a little rough on the edges and that I should just ignore the issues and move on.

    Nominally I would simply go my way and never give it another thought, but Timberland goes out of its way to tell & Sell the world how different it is and that it cares about its employees and the world . From its web page you can see the TBL Cooperate Social Responsibility page CSR for short ( this supposedly is Timberlands statement to the world of their core values that among other things I quote has “Fair, Safe and Non-Discriminatory workplaces” . Internally many of the employees I spoke with understand this too be nothing more than a marketing straightly along with its entire green rhetoric. This is why I feel so betrayed, this is a company that supposedly prides itself on caring for the individual and world, yet I find out first hand that documented bullying has been happening for the last 20 years and Timberland excepts this practice as justifiable management conduct.

    This is very hard to admit, I’m a big guy with a large family and some things you simply don’t mention, but getting this off my chest is actually helping me to feel better about myself. Some months ago she cornered me in a conference room and literally beat me up verbally till I started to cry, and she did not stop , after she had broken me the harassment went on for another hour, she would start to be nice and caring and then turn on me again and drag me down to hell, HOW can a cooperation knowingly let this happen? I have tears in my eyes as I’m writing this, this is going to haunt me for decades to come.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

© Bully Free at Work. All rights reserved: All trademarks used or referred to on this site are the property of their respective owners. No materials on this site may be reproduced, altered, or further distributed without Bully Free at Work’s prior permission.