It’s nice to think that all the kids who start out as bullies on the playground grow up and become decent people. However, the reality is that some people are just bullies all their lives. If your boss happens to be one of them, you may have trouble standing up for your rights as an employee.
What’s the difference between a tough boss and a bully? A tough boss makes their expectations clear and demands results — but generally treats employees with respect and fairness. A bully, however, may:
- Set unrealistic deadlines and then punish you for not meeting them.
- Blame you for failures that were actually their own or were simply out of your control.
- Isolate you by “scapegoating” you to other employees, making you “office poison” for others to be around.
- Spy on you, harass you, tamper with your personal items, snoop through your desk or otherwise invade your privacy.
- Question your loyalty to the company and make unreasonable demands that violate your rights — like asking you to work without breaks, do unpaid overtime or take work home with you to finish.
- Intimidate you with threats, aggressive behavior, invading your body space and other means of gaining control over you.
- Shortchange you when it comes to the hours you have worked or the pay that you are due and behave rudely and defensively if you dare question the issue.
- Verbally abuses you by calling you names or issuing threats.
Workplace bullying is harmful regardless of where it’s coming from. However, when it comes from your boss, it’s especially destructive. Your psychological well-being can be adversely affected. You may also be denied some of your rights.