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Dealing with a workplace bully

Answer: Since this is part of a repeating pattern you could file a harassment complaint with management and they would be obliged under the governing legislation to do an investigation. That, however, should be your last resort.  It is a step which, once taken, could permanently mar the relationship and you don’t want to do it unless you are at the point where you’ve got nothing less to lose. 

The first method you should try is indifference. Utter indifference.  School your face and voice. Don’t appear to be upset or even mildly concerned about their anger.  Answer with as few words as possible then go back to whatever you were working on whether they are finished talking or not. If you are not a responsive audience to the drama that is her life she may back off. She wants to complain to somebody who cares. If you clearly don’t care perhaps she will find a new audience.

If indifference doesn’t work, the next time something like this happens use assertiveness. Ask her to come back later and talk to you about the issue and to make sure that she does not crowd you at your desk or use a raised voice.  Then go back to your work.  A lot of bullies simply don’t know what to do if they get push back.  Some people spend so much of their life using an aggressive and raised voice that they don’t even know they are doing it any more.  If none of the above works tell her that you are considering filing a harassment complaint against her because she is consistently crowding you and presenting an aggressive demeanor. Tell her that if it does not stop permanently you will be left with no other choice.

Throughout the above process you should start journaling these encounters so that if you do have 

 
Ed Canning
Ed Canning
P: 905.572.5809
ecanning@rossmcbride.com