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Words are important.  Words like “bullying” and “harassment” are especially important because they refer to improper conduct which can result in negative legal consequences.  But too often, employees don’t understand the legal definition of these words.  Today, I’m particularly annoyed by employees who claim workplace harassment or bullying by a supervisor, when in fact their employer is simply trying to appropriately manage the workplace. So please forgive me for the following rant.

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Words are important.  Words like “bullying” and “harassment” are especially important because they refer to improper conduct which can result in negative legal consequences.  But too often, employees don’t understand the legal definition of these words.  Today, I’m particularly annoyed by employees who claim workplace harassment or bullying by a supervisor, when in fact their employer is simply trying to appropriately manage the workplace. So please forgive me for the following rant.

Employees out there, hear me clearly – if your boss points out how your performance must improve, it’s NOT harassment or bullying.  If you receive a warning that you are expected to attend work regularly, it’s NOT harassment or bullying.  Communication of the fact that your employment will end if these things don’t happen is NOT harassment or bullying.  In fact, these are all things that employers can (and frankly should) do to properly manage the workplace and provide you with fair warning when you are not meeting expectations.

Of course, this type of information should be communicated calmly, respectfully and professionally; in a perfect world, both verbally and in writing.  This provides employees with clear direction as to the employer’s expectations, specifically how those expectations are not being met, and the consequences of continuing to fail to meet them.  That’s how it’s done, people.  And part of being a good employee is understanding and accepting that reality.

If you have any questions or would like more information on this topic, please contact Beth Traynor at [email protected] or call 519-672-2121. 

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