What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying involves the repetitive, prolonged abuse of power. Unwelcome, unreasonable, escalating behaviours are aggressively directed at one or more workers and cause humiliation, offence, intimidation and distress.

It places their health, well-being, safety and career at risk, interferes with job performance and creates a toxic working environment.

Workplace bullying can attack anyone, in any career, at any level, within any organization, at any time.

(Taken from Stale Einarson, Paul McCarthy, Evelyn Field)

Statistics:

More than one in five people are bullied at work; in some industries, such as health, welfare, education and government and semi–government services, the figure is far higher, ranging from 25%, 50% to 97% (Duncan and Riley study).

About one in three employees are affected by workplace bullying.

Bullying places their health, well-being, safety and career at risk, interferes with job performance and creates a toxic working environment.

Types of Bullying Behaviours:

According to experts Einarsen and Zapf there are five main types:

  1. Work related
  2. Personal attacks
  3. Social isolation
  4. Verbal threats
  5. Spreading rumours

Bullying can be...

Aggressive: Screaming, blaming, physically threatening. It is easily noticed.

Passive: Subtle, camouflaged, hard to identify, divisive, undermining, sabotaging, malicious. Targets don’t always know where it is coming from and who is doing it.

The bullying behaviours continuum: Bullying usually begins very simply, such as with a minor dispute and escalates into something toxic and life threatening.

  • Bantering
  • Teasing
  • Verbal abuse
  • Blame
  • Humiliation
  • Personal and professional denigration
  • Overt threats
  • Harassment (e.g. racial, gender, sexual)
  • Discrimination (e.g. age, gender, cultural, religious)
  • Manipulation/sabotage of job requirements
  • Unrealistic workload
  • Micro–management
  • Cyber bullying or notes
  • Professional and personal exclusion or isolation
  • Sabotage career and financial status
  • Whistleblower attack
  • Blackmail
  • Overt aggression / violence
  • Criminal assault and murder