What is Workplace Bullying?

By: Auditor Training Online | Posted 09 Oct 2019

Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm.

It can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation.

This type of workplace aggression is particularly difficult because, unlike the typical school bully, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society.

In most cases, bullying in the workplace is reported as having been by someone who has authority over their victim. However, bullies can also be peers, and occasionally subordinates.

So what does workplace bullying look like? Well, it can stem from a number of different places as can been seen below:

  • repeated hurtful remarks or attacks, or making fun of your work or you as a person (including your family, sex, sexuality, gender identity, race or culture, education or economic background) 
  • sexual harassment, particularly stuff like unwelcome touching and sexually explicit comments and requests that make you uncomfortable
  • excluding you or stopping you from working with people or taking part in activities that relates to your work
  • playing mind games, ganging up on you, or other types of psychological harassment
  • intimidation (making you feel less important and undervalued) 
  • giving you pointless tasks that have nothing to do with your job 
  • giving you impossible jobs that can't be done in the given time or with the resources provided 
  • deliberately changing your work hours or schedule to make it difficult for you
  • deliberately holding back information you need for getting your work done properly
  • pushing, shoving, tripping, grabbing you in the workplace
  • attacking or threatening with equipment, knives, guns, clubs or any other type of object that can be turned into a weapon 
  • initiation or hazing - where you are made to do humiliating or inappropriate things in order to be accepted as part of the team.

If you are being bullied at work you might:

  • be less active or successful  
  • be less confident in your work
  • feel scared, stressed, anxious or depressed
  • have your life outside of work affected, e.g. study, relationships
  • want to stay away from work
  • feel like you can’t trust your employer or the people who you work with
  • lack confidence and happiness about yourself and your work
  • have physical signs of stress like headaches, backaches, sleep problems

If you are experiencing bullying or know of someone being bullied in the workplace. Don’t stand idle and let workplace bullying happen. Seek help or address the issue head-on.