We would like to assume that as business professionals we do not revert to name-calling or gossip. “According to Peter Vajda, an Atlanta-based author and speaker, “workplace gossip is a form of workplace violence; essentially a form of attack.” Wilkie, Dana, SHRM Article, Workplace Gossip: What Crosses the Line.
Attacking your fellow coworkers with malicious rumors can cost you your job. In today’s work environment, this topic is probably one of several new avenues mentioned in the employee handbook. Legally, employers have to create a non-hostile work environment and that does include freedom from slander and defamation.
If you find yourself in the midst of office gossip that does not feel right, declare yourself not to be involved, not interested in where the conversation is leading or simply say, “I don’t like this conversation and leave the area”. Separate yourself immediately, so your name or the presence will not be associated in the negative interactions. Sabotaging someone’s work or reputation for the sake of adult bullying cannot and will not be tolerated in the work place.
As a victim of bullying you should write down all the incidences you feel you were bullied with details such as people involved, places the incidents occurred and the phrases each person used; after you have collected all your evidence, approach human resource and management with your information. Once you have made your formal complaint, human resource has to follow up.
Human resources followup could include interviews of the persons mentioned in your statement or video footage if available. Once the statements are validated the employee that is found guilty of bullying could be issued a verbal warning, written warning or termination. Management will stand on the facts only in the situation, do not embellish any information.