What is Workplace Bullying?
WHAT IS WORKPLACE BULLYING?
Bullying is either physical acts or verbal comments that are designed to threaten, hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Bullying is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade, harm or humiliate a particular person or group of people. Bullying actions are designed to control a person who is vulnerable. Bullies desire to have power and control over others in the workplace.
Their actions are often directed at people who are seen as vulnerable or where the balance of power is weighted toward the bully.
Examples of bullying include (but are not limited to):
- Spreading malicious rumors, gossip, or innuendo that is not true.
- Excluding or isolating someone either socially or in the workplace.
- Intimidating a person.
- Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s work.
- Physically abusing or threatening abuse.
- Sexual harassment.
- Removing areas of responsibilities without cause.
- Constantly changing work guidelines.
- Establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail.
- Withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information.
- Disguising as humor, jokes or comments that are offensive.
- Intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking.
- Assigning unreasonable duties or workload in a way that creates unnecessary stress.
- Underwork – creating a feeling of uselessness.
- Yelling or using profanity.
- Criticizing a person persistently or constantly.
- Belittling a person’s opinions.
- Unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment.
- Blocking applications for training, leave or promotion.
- Tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment.
What is the difference between strong management and bullying?
There is a “fine line” between strong management and bullying. Comments that are objective and are intended to provide constructive feedback are not usually considered bullying, but rather are intended to assist the employee with their work. Bullying and harassing behavior does not include:
- Expressing differences of opinion.
- Offering constructive feedback, guidance, or advice about work‑related behavior.
- Reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment (e.g., managing a worker’s performance, taking reasonable disciplinary actions, assigning work).