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Workplace bullying can be an action performed by a peer, a group, a manager, or an external party. Moreover, an incident of workplace bullying can be a private, public, or a shared incident. Therefore, there are generally more than a single individual who is affected and potentially impacted by the aftermath of being a target of a workplace bully.
The realization that others often vicariously experience the impact of any bullying incident is important because anyone who has knowledge about any type of bullying is affected in some way. This is a reason that others can and should take action to protect their environment(s) --- even if a target of workplace bullying doesn’t take action to prevent future attacks.
This rationale more than justifies the reasons that anyone who witnesses or obtains information about a bullying incident should always report it. Otherwise, tacit approval is given by not taking action to prevent a current or future bullying incident, which is inferred or implied by an individual's lack of action to ensure that the abuse doesn’t continue.
There must be cultural understanding and positioning that any type of harassment, intimidation, or threats – whether it’s protected or not by organizations such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission based on a protected class (e.g., race, religion, sex, etc.) – won’t be tolerated.
Any organization that doesn’t actively address each incident of workplace abuse creates an environment in which individuals will consider the potential consequences of any report of abuse versus the benefits of any action taken to prevent future attacks.
Anyone who has information about workplace bullying, harassment, or abuse should take immediate action to protect the target and potentially themselves from future attacks.
Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that nobody is unnecessarily attacked, abused, demeaned, mistreated, or treated less than their worth. Otherwise, if action isn’t taken to prevent acts of bullying (e.g., workplace, school, or otherwise), society, companies, organizations, teams, and individuals - directly impacted or not - will be effected via a lack of productivity, absenteeism, turnover, health issues, or other factors.
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