Bullying is a widespread persistent problem that requires vigilance to address. That requires some insight into what one should look for so that steps can be taken to stop it. That insight is needed not only to spot those who are being bullied, but also those who are doing the bullying.
Spotting The Bullied
- Kids making making themselves sick or faking illness to avoid going to school.
- Kids developing compromised immune systems because of the stress and strain caused by bullying.
- Kids who have inexplicable fits of anger or rage.
- Kids overreacting to the daily stresses of life that would not have bothered them in the past.
- Kids showing up in class with bumps and bruises or torn clothing.
- Kids who have a sudden decline in their schoolwork.
- Look at the workplace culture to determine workplace bullying is likely present such as highly competitive environments in which bullying behaviors may be normalized by management.
- Look for signs that certain people are being isolated or cut off from communications or meetings that you would expect them to be a part of in the absence of intentional conduct by co-workers.
- Keep a close eye on the behavior of suspected targets or victims. Look for sudden changes in behavior such as increased absences from work, an employee making an unusual number of mistakes or a normally outgoing person becoming withdrawn.
Spotting the Bully
- Kids who call others names or spread rumors or stories about other kids to get them in trouble.
- Kids stealing possession or money from other kids.
- Kids hiding other kids' possessions.
- Kids physically hitting or abusing other children.
- Kids isolating children by telling others not hang out with or be friends with them.
- Kids teasing other children about their physical appearance, disabilities, race or religion.
- Kids making threats to other children.
- Kids being "bossy" toward other kids.
- Look for adult temper tantrums that include yelling and verbal abuse of co-workers, making derogatory comments about co-workers, and employees blaming others for their mistakes.
- Bosses who swear at, threaten or demean employees.
- Demeaning other's skills or and competence.
- Overburdening select employees with unfair work loads.
- Denying opportunities for advancement, time off or training.
- Employees invading the privacy of others or tampering with their personal belongings.
- Creating unrealistic deadlines or expectations to set others up for failure.
- Investigate suspected acts of bullying or allegations of bullying immediately.
Bullying can be stopped, but all of us have to be on the lookout at school and at work in order to make that happen.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.