Bullying at Summer Jobs: Don’t Let it Happen to Your Teen


Sadly, bullying in public school isn’t the only brand of bullying your teen can encounter. A staggering 40% of Canadian workers experience daily bullying in the workplace. If your teen is job hunting or just starting out on their first job, make sure they are prepared for any bullying they may encounter in the workplace!

Prepare Your Teen for Bullying at Summer Jobs

Share with Your Teen

Odds are you have experienced bullying in the workplace at some point in your life. Share with your teen about your experiences. One of my jobs as a teen was in a sub shop, and I had a boss who was a bit of a bully. At one point he had me caring for his children while trying to do my job. He yelled at me when I put the kids to work with me, putting coleslaw into individual serving cups to keep them occupied. When I figured out I was being paid less than minimum wage, he yelled at me about how good I had it, working for him. My husband was bullied in a job as an adult professional – he was yelled at constantly by his superior at work. Each of us ended up quitting these jobs.

Teach Your Teen to Recognize Bullying

It can be difficult to recognize workplace bullying, especially when you’re a teenager. It took me awhile to recognize that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was by my boss when I was a teen. Go over the signs of workplace bullying from the Shepell-fgi website with your teen:

  • Overloading a person with work yet removing their authority to make decisions
  • Yelling and shouting at a person, rather than giving constructive feedback
  • Unfairly criticizing a person — often in front of others
  • Punishing a person without cause
  • Underutilizing a person to the point that they feel useless
  • Setting unattainable deadlines that could cause the person to fail
  • Withholding necessary information
  • Making offensive jokes, remarks or spreading rumours
  • Invading a person’s privacy
  • Declining requests for training and blocking deserved promotions
  • Physically abusing a person or threatening abuse

Watch for Signs of Bullying in Your Teen

Sometimes it can be one thing to talk about the signs of bullying in the workplace and quite another to actually identify it when you’re in the middle of it. As a parent, watch for signs of workplace bullying in your teen. The Shepell-fgi website identifies the following effects to watch for:

  • Feelings of anger, frustration or vulnerability
  • Loss of confidence
  • Inability to sleep and loss of appetite
  • Stomach pains and headaches
  • Feelings of panic or anxiety, especially about going to work
  • Increased tension and stress, at work and at home
  • Decreased morale and productivity

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Keep the lines of communication open between you and your child. Show an interest in his work and encourage him to share about his working day. Hopefully, if he is being bullied in the workplace, he will tell you. Then you can explore options about how to handle it, such as talking with the bully, talking to his superior, or if there is a possibility the bully can be avoided.

Be sure to check out our Bullying Guide for more prevention tips!

Have you ever experienced bullying in the workplace? Do you have any advice for teens in their first job? Please share in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Bullying at Summer Jobs: Don’t Let it Happen to Your Teen”

  1. I have never even considered that there would be bullying at a summer job. I remember working during the summer but never being bullied. I worked with quite a few adults.

  2. These are great tips for anyone in the work force, my kids aren’t old enough to have jobs. I know I’ve had problems before in the workforce, thanks for raising awareness.

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