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Episode 11 | August 2, 2022

Saying No to Workplace Bullying

Catherine Mattice of Civility Partners on Ending Workplace Bullying and Protecting Yourself and Your Employees


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries so you can become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Reminder: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

Catherine Mattice on Workplace Bullying

Catherine Mattice, Founder and CEO of Civility Partners, took her negative experience with workplace bullying to start a new business and lifestyle to combat toxic work environments.

Key Takeaways
  • What is Workplace Bullying?
    1. Aggressive Communication – eye rolls, inappropriate emails/conversations, name-calling, etc.
    2. Humiliation – Jokes at your expense, pointing out mistakes to a group, etc.
    3. Manipulation – claiming poor performance for treatment, giving unattainable deadlines, etc.
  • It’s Extremely Common – If you are the victim of workplace bullying, know you are not alone! Below are tips and tools for how to prevent and face workplace bullying.
  • Preventative Measures – The best tip for preventing workplace bullying is to handle clearly and as early on as possible. Setting boundaries with a boss or team member is necessary and not considered insubordinate.
    • This can include directly pointing out a behavior i.e. “Is there a reason you’re yelling” or “No, I can’t complete that project in one business day”

[Bullying and Harassment can be] all three categories: aggressive communication, manipulation and humiliation. It’s bullying if it’s all three of those things.

  • Ways to Respond – This can be the most difficult part. Once you have realized you are being bullied and it has gone too far you can try the following options:
    • Find allies – If other team members are being treated similarly, your complaints may be taken more seriously, and you may have to worry about retaliation.
    • Track everything – Every poor experience, conversation, email, aggression in a meeting, ALL of it! Dates, times, locations.
    • Tell them – More often than not people are unaware of these behaviors, remember this is not a confrontation but a conversation. Give them clear examples of what may bother you and ask that they no longer continue it and if you are safe to call it out if there is a next time.
    • Get HR involved – While talking to someone directly about their behaviors may feel concerning, it is a slow transition and opportunity for the bully to change their ways, also, if you do get to the point where you need HR involvement, you can also mention that you did go to them.
      • Bring everything you tracked, also detail the conversation, if one happened.
    • Protect Yourself – As a last resort, leave. If you have taken multiple steps and nothing has happened, this company doesn’t care enough about you or the safety and wellbeing of their employees.

But if you file a complaint and talk to your employer about it and they’re not solving it, leave, that’s the advice, because they’re making it very clear that they don’t care.

  • How it Affects Us – Workplace bullying can have severe detrimental effects to a person.
    • They can exhibit signs of PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts/commit suicide.
    • Home lives are also affected – divorce can be common as well.
    • Feelings of isolation, confusion, low self esteem.
    • Loss of sleep, headaches, and stress.
    • Note: This also effects those witness to bullying, an “Am I next?” mentality and fear.
  • How to Better Your Business – It’s all about prioritizing the safety and wellness of your employees.
    • Core Values – Specifically internal core values, that you actually choose to follow. Strong, clear guidelines and expectations for all employees (C- suite to intern).
    • Take all complaints seriously and have swift action/consequence. Protecting those who come forward sends a message to those behaving badly and those who are feeling isolated. They know they have the support of higher levels and HR.
Where to Find Catherine
  • Website –
  • Her books! Back Off! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work (link to Amazon), Stand Up, Speak Out Against Workplace Bullying: Your Guide to Survival and Victory Through 23 Real Life Testimonies (link to Amazon), Seeking Civility: How leaders, managers, and HR can create a workplace free of bullying and abusive conduct (link to Amazon)
  • 16 Ways to be a Better Ally – Scripts to discuss with your bully (or someone else’s) how you’re feeling in a productive and nonconfrontational manner
  • And she’s on LinkedIn! Catherine Mattice
Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks