Whitaker provides tips to avoid bullying in the workplace
By Amber Sheats and Shantonia Herring
Angela Whitaker, aide to Mayor Pro Tempore Andrew D. Gillum and a counselor, provided tips to workshoppers about avoiding “Bullying in the Workplace” on June 28th at Florida A&M University. “Workplace bullying is the tendency of individuals or groups to use persistent, aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker,” she said.
Workplace bullying can also include making unveiled or veiled threats, taking credibility from others, accusatory overtones, taking unwarranted disciplinary actions, ignoring or interrupting others, sabotage, inappropriate body language, direct outburst toward someone, gossiping and constant insults. Whitaker shared an acronym that she likes called “S.O.D.A.,” which stands for Suppression, Oppression, Depression and Aggression.
“People who bully cater to your weak points. Be comfortable with who you are because darkness is all around you,” she said. Whitaker added that national statistics show that 49 percent of adult workers have been bullied or witnessed it. About 72 percent of bullies outrank their targets and 80 percent of bullying is legal at work. Workplace bullying impacts, not only the person who is being bullied, but also other employees and the business itself. She added, “Bullying is a serious offense that can disrupt the work environment, impact morale and lower productivity.” She also advised workers to document all bullying incidents and witnesses.
The more specifics the person provides, the stronger the case the person can have when confronting the bully toward a company authority. Whitaker stated, “The supervisors are not taking it seriously” in many cases, and that leads to incidents not being reported. Supervisors and people in higher positions are responsible for workplace bullying as well, she said. Employees, most times, do not report these incidents out of fear of changes in relationships or being terminated.