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What Should You Do When You Witness Workplace Bullying?

By Judith Munson

So, instead of sticking your head in the sand and hoping that it will all go away, (it never does) there is one thing you can do when you witness workplace bullying and that is to speak Up and inform the proper authorities in that department!

Research does show that even though 95% of co-workers know when someone is being verbally abused, intimidated or bullied, only about 8% of them actually did something about it. 28% of these witnesses felt sorry for what was happening and offered some type of moral support to the target.

The remainder of them did absolutely nothing at all or, if you can believe it, they sided with the bully!

Why is it that most people don't do anything when they see bullying happening?

The biggest reason that we have found for this inaction on the part of the witnesses is simply, fear. As much as we hate to see others get hurt, we often have thoughts like, "I'm glad it's not me."

Witnesses are often afraid that speaking up might turn them into a target and they are usually right.

It is a real possibility because, hardly anyone who witnesses any type of workplace bullying first hand wants to take the bull (bully) by the horns and talk about it with their supervisor or report it to HR department or other proper authorities.

Just remember this though, if you do nothing, you can be considered an accomplice to the bully. So please, say something to someone, even if it's just a few words of support to the person that is being victimized.

Here is a very interesting case study that we found.

Doctors, and in particular, surgeons, are often seen bullying those around them especially in the operating room. In light of this fact, nurses around the world have developed what is called a "Code Pink."

Here's how it works, if a doctor starts bullying a nurse, other nurses in the vicinity will stand beside the nurse being bullied and form a circle around her/him.

They will also display assertive body language and stare at the doctor until he realizes that his behavior isn't acceptable. This is a strong way of stating that no one will tolerate bullying, and it often sends such a compelling message to the person doing the bullying that it prevents it from happening again.

Please do something if it is obvious that workplace bullying is going on. You could very well be saving the health or even the life of the person getting bullied, it's that important.

Judith Munson is an expert in the field of workplace bullying. She's the author of, "Alligators In The Water Cooler, A guide to identifying bullies and their buddies in the workplace", along with a number of other publications and articles. Because she was mobbed by a bully and her buddies, Judith has become a speaker, trainer and facilitator against all types of bullying behaviors in the workplace along with being a strong advocate of the Healthy Workplace Bill.

To learn more about Judith and her work, go to Workplace Intimidation, phone 530-873-6159 or email:

Bullying Throughout the Life Cycle By Carol E. Watkins, M.D. - A good article with descriptions of the many types of adult bullys and the many types of adult victims. It is important to note that there are several workplace bully types described here as well. Also included, are some suggestions as to how to deal with and prevent this problem. (Added: 6-Aug-2004 Hits: 3375 )

Bully Busters! By Sarah Lane - This article is a list of resources with discussion about bullying. This is a good guide to consult if your child is being bullied, or your child is a bully. (Added: 6-Aug-2004 Hits: 1870 )

Even 6-year-old Girls Can Be Bullies By Barbara F. Meltz - Arm your young daughter, or neice, or granddaughter with tools against bullys and teach them not to become bullys themselves. It's so sad to think that bullying starts as early as five years old! But it does, and this article can help you help your young girl to avoid being a victim or a protagonist. (Added: 6-Aug-2004 Hits: 2651 )

Fighting and Bullying in Children and Schools By Chuck T. Falcon - This article provides a true definition of aggression. And provides guidelines as to the best time to seek help for angry children or bullies. Good techniques for reducing bullying are discussed and teach you practical applications of these techniques. You will also see how effective role models and mentors can be in decreasing bullying behaviors. As well, discover the role that schools can play in eliminating bullies. Small class sizes, tutoring programs, success at school programs are critical to eliminating or at least decreasing the number of bullying incidents. (Added: 26-Jul-2004 Hits: 1992 )

If Your Child Is Being Bullied By n/a - Get as much information as you can about what has happened. Avoid blaming anyone, including the bullying child or children. Look at your own child's behavior and style of interacting. Ask yourself what you know about your child and how you can turn the immediate situation around. (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 911 )

Bullies push their victims to suicide By Caroline Alphonso - The cases of two B.C. 14-year-olds show school harassment can become a matter of life and death, Dawn-Marie Wesley was so afraid of being beaten up that suicide seemed like her only escape. "If I try to get help, it will get worse," she wrote in her suicide note to her family. "They are always looking for a new person to beat up and they are the toughest girls. If I ratted, they would get suspended and there would be no stopping them. I love you all so much." (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1416 )

Take Care of That Bully From the Get-Go By Evelyn Porreca Vuko - Harriet was running out of ways to bully Alice. In a burst of creative inspiration, she masterminded a gift-exchange project for homeless kids that included everyone in the sixth grade, except for Alice. Now Harriet's taunts have a lasting theme. (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1487 )

AM - Victim of school bullies awarded $75,000 By Rachel Carbonell - A young woman awarded almost $75,000 by a Melbourne court in compensation for schoolyard bullying, says the practice is still rampant in Australian schoolyards and not enough is being done to address the problem (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1339 )

Empowering Kids To Deal With Bullies By Kathy Noll - Did you know that 23% of 9th graders have carried a weapon to school recently? According to the US Justice Department, one out of three kids will be offered or sold drugs at school and one out of four kids is bullied either mentally or physically every day. Do we really know what happens to our kids when they leave the safety of our homes to go to school? (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1320 )

School Bullies By n/a - Ever been beaten up? Threatened? Ridiculed over and over? Ever watched on helplessly while someone was humiliated in front of you? Ever picked on a weaker person because it made you feel better about yourself? Most of us have either seen or experienced bullying. (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1440 )

Get rid of bullies in the workplace By Anita Bruzzese - If you thought you left bullies behind on the schoolyard, think again. That boss who dogs your trail, criticizing your every move despite your good performance record, is a bully. And the co-worker who works to humiliate you, to demean you in front of others ó nothing more than a bully. (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1617 )

School Bullies Can Take A Toll On Your Child's Mental Health By n/a - Ask any child what a bully looks like, and he or she is likely to describe someone who is bigger and stronger. Yet, while bullies certainly are known for their ability to overpower others physically, mental bullying can be just as damaging to children. (Added: 4-Feb-2004 Hits: 1357 )

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Pages Updated On: 29-Sep-2021 - 16:45:45


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Robert's books have sold over 300 thousand copies worldwide, and have been translated into Chinese, French, German and Japanese.

He holds a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology, and has taught clinical and counselling psychology at the college level.

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