Employee handbooks should include what do if you are being victimized by a fellow co-worker. Yet, what happens when you report workplace harassment to your supervisor only to be viewed by them as a bully yourself? The victimized employee may find themselves in an impossible situation, especially when they have never engaged in bullying behavior and their supervisor holds a clear bias toward the real perpetrator.
When an employee reports workplace abuse to their supervisor or boss, they may be shocked to find that it comes with negative consequences for them and not the person mistreating them. Victims may be viewed as worse employees, despite their outstanding work performance. The victimizers, however, may be let off the hook for their bullying behavior, especially if they are liked by their supervisor.
A Study in Victim Blaming
Recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, four studies asked the question of why supervisors and bosses turn a blind eye to workplace bullying when certain employees are involved. Researchers discovered the halo effect, where positive traits mask negative ones, and the horns effect, where a person’s character is defined based on one negative trait that they have.
The first two studies found that supervisors tend to consider employees who report workplace mistreatment as being bullies themselves. Studies three and four were experiments. During these two experiments, participants evaluated employees based on their job performance, in addition to how they treated others and how they were treated.
The results of studies three and four found that even when evaluators were specifically told that the victim did not engage in the mistreatment of others, they were still viewed as bullies. In study four specifically, results found that victims also received lower job performance evaluations as a result of being victimized.
In all four studies, employees who mistreated others were less likely to be problematic if they had a high job performance. The studies concluded by recommending training on recognizing workplace biases.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Workplace Harassment
Being the victim of workplace mistreatment can be hard to process, but when you are accused of being a bully after reporting workplace abuse to your supervisor, you may feel like you have no options. If you are being victimized at work and your supervisor turns a blind eye to the perpetrator, contact the Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today. Our experienced lawyers will get you through the process of filing a claim while getting you the peace of mind you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey.