I recently read an article that was about policymakers developing laws to safeguard and protect needy students from lunch shaming. Young children who are part of the free lunch program are stigmatized, made fun of and shamed because they cannot afford to buy school lunches. This got me to thinking: Why is it that (supposedly most) parents teach their children to be kind to others, follow the “Golden Rule” and not be bullies yet kids still make fun of those less fortunate? We, as parents, tell kids that bullying is NOT OK and yet there is some behavior witnessed, learned or acquired that results in them bullying. The same holds true for adults. When we think about it, we probably all know of situations where one person bullied another and it made us uncomfortable. No matter the age or setting, bullying goes on. I worked at a company where a person who handled sensitive personnel matters was one of the biggest bullies. Unfortunately, some people are just bullies regardless of age, position, education or experience.
No, it is NOT OK, nor is it always legal, depending on the circumstances. If you are a victim of bullying in the workplace, you might want to think about whether the bullying affected your ability to get your work done, to obtain advancement opportunities or led to mental anxiety and anguish that impacted your performance and work product. Bullying is mean, wrong, hurtful and sometimes illegal. Do not be afraid to ask questions and speak up for yourself. Bullying in the workplace may be harassment. If you are a victim, seek help if needed and remember that just because you are being treated inappropriately by a bully does not mean you deserve it.