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I got a new job about three months ago and it's been great so far.

Now the boss' son, Brock, started working at the company about a month ago. I was making some tea and Brock came in and turned the tap on really high and put his finger over it and sprayed me with water. I just laughed because I thought it was a friendly workplace banter but then Brock just left without saying anything.

More recently Brock has started pushing my chair as he walks past my desk so I get squashed against the desk, and even more recently he has started purposely walking past with his elbows out so as to hit my head when he passes.

I'm not a strong person so I can't beat him up.

Apart from this I like the job and would like to continue working here but how do I get Brock to stop bullying me?

By the way, today he came into the office with a can of shaving foam so I expect something will happen to me later this afternoon when he gets bored.

  • 2
    re The Workplace: Interpersonal Skills are behaviours you use to interact well with others. Have you tried to interact with Brock about this already? Are you looking for a way to talk/interact with Brock, and help with your behaviour when doing so, or are you more looking for general solutions? If you can answer that, we can probably figure out whether your question is on-topic here or ask The Workplace mods if it's suited for their site. – Tinkeringbell Nov 1 '19 at 9:58
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    The way the question is stated right now looks more like TWP than here (the "what should I do" aspect...) – Juliana Karasawa Souza Nov 1 '19 at 10:42
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    Answer from TWP: Document everything (date, time, what happened) --> go to HR. Though there are many ways to stop this kind of behavior, you need to clarify your goals beforehand – XtremeBaumer Nov 1 '19 at 11:10
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    "How do I deal with a bully?" is definitely an IPS, whether it's at work, school, or home. If I may suggest a re-write: focus on the bullying, and then at the end make note that it's the CEO's son to explain why certain solutions may not work. As is, part of this question reads like "how do I deal with the CEO's son?" which is more of a Workplace skill than interpersonal. – baldPrussian Nov 1 '19 at 13:07
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    "the best way to deal with him would be to just ignore him until he gets bored and picks on someone else". Great parenting :D! – Taladris Nov 6 '19 at 7:20
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How to stop my boss's son physically bullying me

First, as painful as it may be, you actually have to ask this person to stop if you haven't already done so. I think in this case they know they are acting poorly, but still you need to be able to say to either HR or an attorney "Yes, I asked him to stop."

Additionally, you need to document the instances, and attempt to obtain witnesses. This will take the whole "take my word for it" aspect out of it. This will also make denial by the bully rather difficult.

If it were me, I would set up a camera and record these events too. Video is really hard to dispute. In most states, you could get away with setting up a video for this specific purpose. IANAL, so you should verify the legality of this in your specific region.

Once I had enough data gathered, your only real option to address this is to take it to HR. BUT before you do so, make sure you have the evidence backed up should you need it later. By backed up I mean not on company resources.

Even if you do everything right here, there is a high chance that things will not go your way. You may want to start looking for work elsewhere as another viable option.

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    Depending on where you live, recording someone without their knowledge or consent could be illegal. – Llewellyn Nov 1 '19 at 21:21
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    Hey Mister Positive! I think your answer is nice however (as far as I can tell), it isn't really about interpersonal skills which makes it off-topic for this site. Also, we require answers to be based on personal experience or external sources. So, if you have some sources for this answer, it would be great to add them (even if the answer would still be, in my opinion, off topic) – Ælis Nov 2 '19 at 20:41
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This situation seems too absurd to me. Before I say anything else I have to point out how problematic this sentence is: "I'm not a strong person so I can't beat him up."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a person that thinks violence is never a solution. Sometimes it is, but it is never a solution if you are not in danger of physical harm. Let's say that you are strong and you know how to fight. He comes and bumps on your chair, you get up, you start punching him, you drop him on the floor and you punch him some more. How do you justify yourself? How can you claim this was a reasonable reaction?

This is a common misconception with martial arts. People think that if they train in some martial art, they will stop being pushovers. But it doesn't work like that. Martial art will train skills that have no place in such situations.

So, he is bullying you because you make yourself an easy target. He comes and splashes you with water and you laugh. This shows him that there will be no retaliation. This needs to change.

Think why is he doing that? Is it because he feels insecure? Being the boss's son is not necessarily easy. Especially if your father is tough with you. Does he want to show that he is tough? You know the situation better, you should be able to guess. Once you know what his need is, you can use it against him.

Think of offensive psychology. He splashes you with water, you look at him with contempt and you start asking him how old is he, what is his mental age, whether he thinks that will make others respect him, whether he thinks people respect spoilt brats, etc. Then you go around telling people how he splashes water on you and that you are shocked that someone can be so immature. You didn't do anything wrong, you have nothing to feel embarrassed about.

I know these things do not come up easily. You probably grew up trying to be a good kid and being offensive to others is a taboo. Unfortunately, no one will give you a cookie for that. You need to give this cookie to yourself.

There are a couple of caveats you should be careful with:

Never lose your cool. Always talk calmly, but with contempt.

Do not be the bully. Only criticise his behaviour and nothing else. You should criticise only what he chooses to do.

Stop as soon as he stops bothering you. You want to go for the "do not kick a sleeping dog" effect.

Hugs:)

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    Is going around the office "public shaming" the boss' son really your advice?!?! Because that's how I read it. If I were to tell someone to do that, I'd at least warn them with the pros and cons... – OldPadawan Nov 6 '19 at 5:29
  • @OldPadawan that's what I would have done without hesitating even for a moment. I have actually done this to my boss in the past. He got upset with something random and he needed to yell at someone and he started yelling at me. I was being extremely polite and professional until then. But when this happened I started yelling back immediately telling him that what I was doing was something he told me to do that that I don't accept being treated like that. He stopped, apologized and he never yelled at me again. – tst Nov 6 '19 at 10:44
  • Do I imply this will always work? No! Everything has risk. Yet, I have found this to be the safest option. – tst Nov 6 '19 at 10:45

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