How to Identify Bullying in the Workplace

One out of three organizations experienced workplace violence last year. But the saddest fact is — many of tThinkstockPhotos-164637835hose incidents were preventable. It’s understandable that no one wants to believe violence can happen in their own company. Unfortunately, that means even experienced HR professionals and managers often miss the warning signs, or take too long to respond to a threat in a situation where every second counts.

Bullying (also called psychological harassment, mobbing, psychological terrorism, and organizational violence) is a common cause of workplace violence and must be dealt with immediately by supervisors. But bullying can take many forms. Learn to identify bullying is the first step in making your office a great place to work for all employees.


ThinkstockPhotos-481302289• Repeated inappropriate behavior

• Can be either direct or indirect

• Can be verbal, physical, or otherwise

• Conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment

• May be intentional or unintentional (Note: The intention of the alleged bully is generally irrelevant, e.g., “I was just kidding.” It is the effect of the behavior upon the alleged victim that is important.)

Bullying Types

• Verbal Bullying
Examples: slandering, ridiculing, or maligning a person or his or her family; persistent name-calling, which is hurtful, insulting, or humiliating; using a person as the butt of jokes; abusive and offensive remarks

• Physical Bullying
Examples: Pushing; shoving; kicking; poking; tripping; assault, or threat of physical assault; damage to a person’s work areaor property

• Gesture Bullying
Nonverbal threatening gestures, glances (e.g., staring, disdainful looks, rolling of eyes), which can convey threatening messages

Socially or physically excluding or disregarding a person in work-related activities

• Cyberbullying
Workplace bullying and harassment involving electronic devices and online communications (e.g., malicious or threatening emails, text messages, and tweets); electronic communications that contain jokes about ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other class protected by law; public shaming via a mass email; sharing embarrassing, offensive, or manipulated images or videos of an individual on social networking sites and blogs

Don’t wait. Do something about the bullies in your workplace before you discover the incredibly high price for looking the other way…

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