Workplace bullying has been around for as long as workplaces have. Now that more and more people are working remotely, some of that bullying has gone online.
Even for those who go to an office, studio, factory or another workplace every day, cyberbullying can be yet another means of being harassed, sabotaged and threatened by fellow employees and even managers. Let’s look at some all-too-common examples of workplace cyberbullying.
Email, texts and messages
Any insults, threats and discriminatory language that can be used verbally can be typed. Even though one would think that people would be more careful about not putting something in writing that can be saved, sometimes the distance afforded by online communication actually emboldens some people.
Email lists and text chains can also be used to exclude some employees from the information they need to properly do their job. It’s easier to know you’re missing a meeting when everyone goes into a conference room and closes the door than when you’re left out of an online discussion.
Employees sometimes create private spaces on Facebook and other platforms that can be used to talk about and even try to sabotage colleagues who are excluded from these conversations. Even if it’s done outside of work hours and away from work, employers can be held responsible if they knew about it and failed to act.
More workplace meetings and conversations are taking place over Zoom and other video platforms from multiple locations sometimes spanning the world. While people may feel more relaxed if they’re in their home (and maybe with a glass of whiskey off to the side) than if they were sitting at their desk in their office, the conduct expected of them is the same.
If you’ve been the victim of workplace cyberbullying, you can and should report it. You have every right to expect your employer to take action. If they don’t, find out what other options you have for holding those responsible, including the organization you work for, liable for the harmful behavior.