8 Subtle Signs of Bullying in the Workplace

Posted on

November 11th, 2019


Absenteeism is a significant cause for concern among employers in all industries. If employees call out of work abruptly on a regular basis, it can cause considerable disruption to productivity and morale as well as hurt businesses’ bottom line. However, there are often underlying causes for absenteeism and one of the most common is bullying.

While bullying on the schoolyard is often easy to identify, adults don’t resort to pushing, name-calling, and other child-like methods of pushing people around. In the workplace, bullying looks quite different and employers need to keep an eye out for it if they suspect employee mistreatment is triggering unplanned absence.

The following are some behaviors and patterns that may indicate a company has an office bully:

  1. Intimidation. It’s management’s job to keep employees on task and on schedule, but there is a difference between encouragement and using overt or veiled threats to accomplish the job.
  2. Ignoring. This can manifest as failing to greet certain individuals while interacting with everyone around them or as purposefully “forgetting” to invite them to relevant meetings.
  3. Undermining work. This often occurs when management or a fellow employee prevent another individual from progressing on a project or impeding his or her ability to succeed. This can also manifest as giving away promised projects to other team members.
  4. Taking away responsibilities. When employees are overwhelmed with too much work, it’s not uncommon to redistribute some of their less important tasks. However, forcibly removing primary work from an employee without cause is often a form of bullying.
  5. Impossible or shifting deadlines. This is the reverse of the above. Oppressive managers or supervisors set the employee up to fail by assigning too many tasks on an unreasonable timetable or change priorities without notice.
  6. Extreme criticism. Impossible to please team leaders, supervisors, or managers are often workplace bullies. They fail to recognize a job well done in favor of pointing out flaws, real or perceived.
  7. Taking credit. This is usually seen in superiors that take complete credit for their subordinates’ ideas or work without offering any recognition.
  8. Over the top flattery. While this may seem pleasant at first, it’s often a tactic to soften employees to manipulation. A boss who is always crowing an individual’s praises may be preparing to ask for excessive and unreasonable requests of that employee.

Bullying behavior is rarely overt so employers need to be vigilant and implement policies to allow for confidential reporting as well as establish clear guidelines for conduct in the workplace. If you’re concerned about absenteeism, implementing an absence reporting program can help identify trends. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how we can reduce absenteeism in your workplace.

What Employers Need to Know About Protected Absences

Posted on

April 8th, 2019


Employees need access to paid time off to recover from illnesses, address family matters, and take well-deserved vacations. However, there is a big difference between an employee who calls out sick to recover from the flu and an employee who calls out frequently for no apparent reason. Every employer knows that chronic employee absences are bad for business; however, not all absences are punishable. In fact, federal law protects many of them.

Before employers begin disciplinary action against chronically absent employees, they need to make sure the employee didn’t miss work for any of the following reasons:

  1. FMLA. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take time off work to deal with major life events. These include the birth of a child; adopting a child; caring for a severely ill or injured parent, spouse, or child; severe health conditions that prevent the employee from working; and personal or family emergencies related to their involvement with the military. To qualify, employees must provide documentation such as a doctor’s note, adoption paperwork, etc.
  2. USERRA. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act protects service members against disciplinary action following absences due to their service. For example, the military may activate employees serving in the reserves, requiring them to deploy. This act protects absences related to tours of duty as well as absences spent addressing emotional and administrative issues related to the deployment.
  3. ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with documented disabilities. If an employee misses work because his or her duties cause undue hardship, federal law protects that absence.
  4. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. While this act focuses on preventing discrimination in the workplace, employers need to keep it in mind when addressing absences. For example, the act protects employees who call out for a religious holiday or ceremony. Employees need to determine the root cause of an absence before beginning disciplinary actions; otherwise, they may find themselves facing a discrimination lawsuit.

While the above absences have legal protection, not all absences are legitimate. Employers need a robust absence management solution to help them keep track of employee attendance and determine which absences are reasonable and which require a closer look. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about reducing absenteeism in the workplace.