Sadly, cyberbullying can and does take place both at home and at work.
What is cyberbullying?
Acas states: “Cyberbullying can happen in a number of ways: inappropriate photographs may be posted; offensive or threatening comments might be made; or sensitive personal information could be revealed. This could be done accidentally or vindictively.”
Cyberbullying can happen via email, social media, instant messaging, online forums, or other platforms. It may also occur in conjunction with verbal or physical bullying. Most people are now using online tools daily; with 2.4billion Facebook users, just as an example. Social media can be a fantastic tool for employers, as can internal messaging systems, but these can be abused. Cyberbullying may cause emotional or even physical harm, and can also affect people’s performance at work. This may be through a demotivation but could occur as a direct cause of the bullying itself, such as in the following story:
“Lacey, 24, recently started a job in a corporate environment. She [reported] that she’d been subjected to pranks and had been left out of important email correspondence from other girls in her team who she suspected were jealous of her when she was promoted. She said “cyberbullying takes bullying to a new level because it makes it very difficult for you to fight back – like me. This can make you feel powerless because you want to face the aggressor but they have the option to block you or use an alias.” She noted that she always kept evidence of any harassment she faced at work and once she threatened to escalate things with her boss at work, the bullying stopped. “I was considering going to the police”, she added.”
What to do
- Check your workplace’s policy on bullying and how to raise a grievance.
- Report the behaviour to your manager, Human Resources department or union representative.
- Keep records of the cyberbullying by taking screenshots or creating a log.
- Contact the police if you feel threatened.
- Check your social media’s privacy settings. While the onus is never on the victim, it is important to make sure that you are in control of you can see your information online.
You can contact Veritau’s confidential hotline on: 0800 9179 247
For further advice, see the Acas website