Bullies in the Workplace

What is Workplace Bullying?

Tired office worker

When we think of bullying, we may think of taunting mobs or schoolyard fights, but it looks very different in the workplace. It could the person who constantly criticizes a co-worker, the boss who swears and threatens or the office clique who isolates and excludes others. 

Experts define workplace bullying as a pattern of behaviors that are meant to intimidate, degrade, offend, exclude and humiliate a person or group. It can involve verbal abuse, offensive behaviors, mistreatment and outright sabotage. Malicious rumors and gossip — both online and off — are part of it too, as are making offensive jokes and gestures.

Other examples of bullying include:

-Attacking a co-worker’s skills and competence to undermine their credibility.

-Invading other’s privacy, such as spying, stalking and tampering with personal belongings or equipment.

-Setting others up for failure, like providing misinformation or withholding information necessary for projects or tasks, setting unrealistic deadlines or constantly changing expectations.

-Denying opportunities for training or promotion, or requests for leave.

-Unfair workloads. Some targets have responsibilities taken away from them while others are over burdened with extra work.

-Yelling and using threats and profanity.

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