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Iceni Magazine | April 19, 2021

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How to Deal with Workplace Abuse on Zoom?

Workplace Abuse on Zoom

Cyberbullying is a highly prevalent phenomenon in this age. Some people think it only affects them in their teenage years.

But when they find the situation unchanged in a work environment, they are understandably shocked. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to social isolation, which has given a massive boost to virtual services that assist in ‘Work-from-Home’.

Zoom is one of the most popular among such services. It has countless advantages. But various issues of workplace abuse via Zoom are also prevalent. If you find yourself a target of a workplace bully, follow the instructions below. You will come out of the confrontation unscathed, with your reputation intact.

1.  Take a Breath and Calm Yourself

If a co-worker or a supervisor says something false, inflammatory, or demeaning on Zoom, do not respond in anger. Take a deep breath and gather your thoughts. It would help if you reacted reasonably and not lower yourself to their level. Sometimes, there is no need to respond at all.

2.  Respond Calmly & Rationally

Never get into a shouting match and make yourself a spectacle in front of other co-workers on Zoom. If you must respond, then do it calmly and rationally. Preferably, respond via an email or an official memo that can be kept in records.

3.  Tell the Bully You Expect an End to the Behavior

Written words may be interpreted in a spirit not intended. Therefore, be very clear about what you found offensive. Do not respond to threats, taunts, or otherwise inflammatory remarks. If your bully’s deplorable behaviour does not cease, then it is time to take action and move up the chain of command.

4.  Record Copies of All the Harassment

Record the Zoom call for your records. If it ever comes down to ‘he said, she said,’ then proof of bullying will go a long way to prove the truth of your claims, especially if the instigator is in some position of authority over you.

5.  Report the Bullying to Your Employer, ISP, and Social Media Service

You must report each incident as it occurs. Send an attached copy of the video link or other correspondence as proof to your employer, internet service provider, and the Zoom complaint centre. If the employer is unwilling to address your concerns, you may contact the police. While they cannot do anything for cyberbullying, having a report on file is helpful before the situation escalates.

6.  Contact the Police

Blatant threats of death and violence or indications of stalking must be immediately reported because they are against the law. Harassment based on race, religion, sexuality, gender, or disability must also be reported as soon as possible.

7.  Limit Your Contact with the Bully

Since you regularly use Zoom, likely, your physical contact with the bully co-worker is already limited. Cease all personal lines of communication too. Whenever there is a need to talk on official matters, give straight and concise responses. Focus on your work, not the bully.

8.  Take the High Road

You must maintain your composure at work. If the bully is someone in authority, you have a lot more to lose than them. Be calm and rational. An emotionally-driven response on your part may hurt your position at work. Put your professional mask in place and never let it waver.

Workplace abuse over Zoom is a growing issue. Still, if you follow the actionable advice given in this article, you will likely get out of the situation unscathed. In contrast, your bully will face the justice they deserve.


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