Asking on behalf of a friend. We will call her Jane.
Jane finds herself as a target for the workplace bully. This bully has caused 2 other members of the team to quit prior to Jane's arrival.
1 prior member actually sought counseling and was prescribed medication as a result of this bully's actions. The prescribing doctor wrote a note to HR explicitly stating that the bully is the reason for this increase in medication.
So Jane turned to me about how to handle the situation. I suggested that she keep evidence of the abuse and present it to her boss. I feel that it is the boss's job to handle such workplace disputes.
However, Jane explains that her boss is ineffective when it comes to dealing with the bully, hence the 2 quitting members. Jane's boss, as well as HR, is aware of this bully's behavior, yet allows it to persist.
Jane is gathering evidence and has tried to talk to her boss about this issue. She is feeling ignored and asked me if it would be ok to elevate this issue up the chain bypassing her boss. This idea raises a red flag and I told her to talk to HR if the boss is ineffective.
If Jane's boss and HR fails her, is it advisable to break chain of command? What other options exists besides resignation?