Are you being bullied at work?

By Amanda Evans, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012, 4:33 PM EDT
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Janet McWilliams is extra careful when it comes to talking to her employees.

She never wants to be the kind of boss she dealt with 30 years ago.

"There would be days where he wouldn't speak to me," said McWilliams. "Pass me in the hallway and wouldn't say a word. I would ask him for time off, and he'd say, 'What makes you think you deserve it?' I'd ask him for my annual raise. 'What makes you think you deserve it?'"

McWilliams was bullied by her boss. She said it was so bad, she eventually quit her job and started her own business.

"When I left, it took me a long time to figure out who I was again because he was constantly belittling me," McWilliams said.

It's a topic Dr. Linnda Durré knows all about.

She wrote the book "Surviving the Toxic Workplace," and said you have to know the signs of bullying at work because it happens all the time.

"They're a bully if they start to sexually harass you," said Durré. "They're a bully if they make threats like, 'You won't get a promotion,' or 'You won't get a raise,' or 'You're going to be fired.'"

If a boss ever tells you to sit down, stands over you, points a finger or raises their voice, those are all signs of bullying.

"You don't have to yell at me to get your point across," said Durré. "I really would appreciate it if you'd talk to me in a respectful manner, not raise your voice and not be intimidating."

Dr. Durre said if it happens to you, document everything and report it.

Otherwise, if you don't do anything, it could be bad for your health.

"When people have that kind of stress, it can affect your health," Durré said. "Their nervous system, their productivity and ultimately it affects the bottom line."

McWilliams said it's hard to think back of the bullying she dealt with, but it's made her a better boss.

"When I first started the business and started hiring people, that was one of the first promises I made to myself. I would never treat my employees the way I was treated," McWilliams said.

Instead, she uses Durré's advice and tries to use open communication and respect.

McWilliams said there's no room for bullying in her business.

Dr. Durré said to keep talking to your kids about bullying because often adult bullies were bullies as kids too.

She said most studies show if the problem of bullying is addressed at a young age, people can change their ways.

But those who don't may bully their way through life.