What about Witnesses?

There are valid reasons for witnesses who prefer not report workplace bullying. Consider which of the following examples may apply to you or your colleague.

  • People may be unaware or confused about what workplace bullying means.
  • People may be unaware of resources, procedures, complaint process, expectations, and what your role is.
  • Some people have heightened discomfort with conflict and with “getting involved”.
  • Some may be a new hire on probation and do not want to risk damaging options with securing a permanent position. Some may feel trapped for various other reasons.
  • Fear of becoming the next target or, perhaps having been a previous target prefers to “stay under the radar”.
  • Some may be feeling overwhelmed with work responsibilities and personal matters. There may be a personal life crisis others are not aware of.
  • Some may have witnessed first hand how ineffective some organizations are with their own complaint processes:
  • Employer supports an authoritarian leadership style.
  • Employer does not follow through with their code of conduct/complaint processes.
  • Complaints are dismissed and or minimized.
  • Problem is labelled a  “personality conflict”.
  • Perhaps there are no policies in place or unions for added protection.

New research from the Sauder School of Business at UBC reveals that workers who witness bullying can have a stronger urge to quit than those who experience it firsthand”.
Copied from Bystanders and Bullying

Witnesses consider quitting more often than the victims

We encourage you to read more about the experiences of a witness (bystander). You also need support and validation about your experience of this abuse. See the enclosed resource list for more information about the experiences of a witness.

Two Tips: Offer your colleague validation that “something has happened”.
Remember that your Employment Assistance Program (EAP) is there for everyone.
Use this service for added clarity, support and strength.

Workplace bullying witnesses think of quitting more than victims: study

Written by safety-reporter.com 09 August 2012

Workers who witness bullying can have a stronger urge to quit than those who experience it firsthand, according to a study by the University of British Columbia.

“We tend to assume that people experiencing bullying bear the full brunt. However, our findings show that people across an organization experience a moral indignation when others are bullied that can make them want to leave in protest,” said Sandra Robinson, professor at UBC’s school of business and co-author of the study published in the current edition of the journal Human Relations.

Data used for the study were collected through two surveys of a sample of 357 nurses in 41 units of a large Canadian health authority. Prior research shows that bullying is prevalent in the health-care industry, especially among nurses.

The surveys used a series of questions to assess the level of bullying in each nursing unit, as well as the individual experience of bullying of each respondent. The researchers then captured respondents’ intentions to quit their jobs in units where bullying was pervasive, asking them to rate their positive or negative reactions toward statements like, “If I had a chance, I would change to some other organization.”

Findings show that all respondents who experience bullying, either directly or indirectly, reported a greater desire to quit their jobs than those who did not. However, the results also indicate that people who experienced it as bystanders in their units or with less frequency reported wanting to quit in even greater numbers.

Prior research shows that intentions to quit are directly correlated with employees leaving their jobs. However, Robinson warns that even if employees stay in their roles, an organization’s productivity can suffer severely if staff members have an unrealized desire to leave.

“Managers need to be aware that the behaviour is pervasive and it can have a mushrooming effect that goes well beyond the victims,” said Robinson. “Ultimately bullies can hurt the bottom line and need to be dealt with quickly and publicly so that justice is restored to the workplace.”

retrieved from http://www.cos-mag.com/


Insulting: Posting or spreading false information about a person that will cause harm to that person or that person’s reputation.

Identity theft: Pretending to be someone else to make it look like that other person said things he or she doesn’t believe or that aren’t true about him or her.

Uploading: Sharing images of a person, particularly in an embarrassing situation, without her or his permission, or sharing emails without the writer’s permission.

Excluding: Pressuring others to exclude someone from a community (either online or offline).

Harassment: Repeatedly sending someone nasty, mean and insulting messages.

2008 University of Toronto cyberbullying survey, nearly one in five Canadian students surveyed reported having been bullied online in the past three months. In an Alberta study, one-third of students who had cyber bullied had also been victims of it. Cyberbullying can be much more severe in its effects than offline bullying because the targets feel they have no escape. Also, because of the wide scope of the Web, there can be many more witnesses to the bullying. Perpetrators may be more likely to engage in bullying behaviour online because they can’t see or hear the effects of their actions, and because it’s possible to be anonymous online. Taken from www.mediasmarts.ca

Anyone can create a false identity online. Cyber bullies have been known to report false gender, education, employment profession, names, and area of residence. For you all you they could be close by or in another part of the world. It is far too easy to sound sincere on line.

Never give personal information about you i.e.: full name, phone, address, other…before you check backgrounds. How do you check backgrounds? Call us we will give you suggestions.

Perpetrators will wear many masks, watch for inconsistency and irrational comments. The cyber bully may show up on many discussion forums making subtle statements about you.

If things do not ring true to you, trust your gut. Tell someone you trust about what is happening and show them examples of your concerns.

Flag and/or copy all negative responses. Target or bystanders can keep copies of notes and emails.

Do not retaliate. Avoid being manipulated and remove yourself from further dialogue.

Targets need to send their evidence to the specific social medias head office, and/or contact the bullies professionals regulatory body, and make a complaint. If you don’t, you may be enabling someone to continue their attacks and fraudulent activity.

If you are a bystander, please copy what you witness and offer the target some support – privately. Protect yourself first and foremost.

You may choose to send the perpetrator one firm, direct, professional request for the attacks to stop. If the attacks (covert or overt) continue, remove yourself from all connections until the authorities resolve the situation. Civil Law: defamation, slander. Criminal Law: harassment, defamatory libel.

Cyber bullying can be malicious, illogical, irrational and most of all, dangerous. Seek support for how this is affecting you, decision making and action taking. You do not deserve to be treated this way.

Alberta Law: The Education Act was revised in 2012 to define bullying as “repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour by an individual in the school community where the behaviour is intended to cause harm, fear or distress to one or more other individuals in the school community, including psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation.” The Act requires students to “refrain from, report and not tolerate bullying or bullying behaviour directed toward others in the school, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means,” while school boards must “establish, implement and maintain a policy respecting the board’s obligation under subsection (1)(d) to provide a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that includes the establishment of a code of conduct for students that addresses bullying behaviour.” Alberta’s law is notable because it requires students to report cyber-bullying if they witness it, with penalties including suspension and expulsion possible for those who do not. Taken from http://mediasmarts.ca/

ABRC Inc., Linda Crockett 780-965-7480