How to Document Workplace Bullying

by Nov 14, 2017

*This is a guest post written by Robert Merriott of Forensic Notes.

If you are reading this blog, you already know that bullying in the workplace affects millions of Americans each year.

According to the video “10 steps to solving workplace bullying by Creating Civility”:

  • 35% of adults have been bullied at work during their life
  • Half have called in sick at least 3 times as a result of bullying
  • 25% of workplaces are guilty of having a bullying atmosphere
  • Only 4 U.S. States make bullying illegal

As Catherine describes in her blog post “Are you sure workplace bullying is legal?”, many bullying actions would be considered illegal by the EEOC if they were a result of harassment. The EEOC covers harassment based on:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • sex (including pregnancy)
  • national origin
  • age (40 or older)
  • disability
  • genetic information

Can I File with the EEOC?

Unfortunately, this is hard to prove without detailed documentation and witnesses.

If bullying is at the point where you can’t take it any longer, you will want to ensure that you create credible and honest documentation of the situation.

This key step will help you should you decide to seek help from Human Resources, your union, or an employment lawyer.

Below we will discuss how to create credible evidence that you can use to help prove the bullying you face at work.

You may even be able to provide evidence to prove that the bullying is a result of harassment thus allowing you to file with the EEOC.

How Can I Prove Workplace Bullying?

As Catherine states within her article “Eight Tools to Fight Your Workplace Bully” …

Keep a Factual Journal

Keep a Factual Journal

Ideally, you began to document all negative situations at work upon the first situation occurring. But the reality is that most people won’t begin to take detailed notes until the problem has escalated to the point of reading an article like this.

If you are reading this article, then you must start to document all current and past incidents now.

The situation is not going to get better without you being proactive and taking a stand for your own well being.

Tips to Creating a Factual Journal

When writing your Factual Journal, you need to properly document the incident so that it is:

  • Factual
  • Objective
  • Accurate

You should also be sure to write chronologically and in the first person so that it’s easy to read and understand.

You want to ensure that you tell the whole story and not only the parts that make you innocent in the situation.

Being honest and giving a clear and accurate representation of the incident will show that you are credible and trustworthy. This is even truer if you didn’t handle the situation as you should have and the other side has evidence of this action.

You should also find credible witnesses that are independent of the situation if you can.


Where to Document Workplace Bullying

There are potentially serious consequences in how you decide to document your bullying.

As stated above, it may be your word against the word of the bully. The bully may be a money-making employee of the organization resulting in the other side hiring an experienced defense lawyer to attack your credibility.

As a result, it is absolutely essential that you are able to prove when you wrote your statements and provide as much detail as possible.

Both handwritten and electronic notes created in MS Word or OneNote have issues if you do not have a way to confirm the date when you wrote it.

Forensic Notes allows you to create credible evidence that is timestamped by an independent third party.

By creating a ‘factual journal’ with Forensic Notes, you can prove the date when you wrote a note or saved a witness statement.

And best of all, Forensic Notes is 100% Free!

About the Author

Forensic Notes

Forensic Notes provides organizations and individuals a way to document incidents and investigations in a manner accepted by the courts. Highlight your Credibility and Honesty by documenting with Forensic Notes.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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