What it is



27%

Roughly 27% of workers — more than one million in Massachusetts — will experience workplace bullying during their work lives.
Terms To Know
PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder

Mobbing
A form of group bullying

Gaslighting
A form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Sociopath
A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

Psychopath
A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.

Sadist
Someone who enjoys inflicting pain on others.
Workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of targets by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:
  • Verbal abuse
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done.

Workplace bullying is often subtle. It is:
  • Driven by perpetrators' need to control the targeted individual(s)
  • Initiated by bullies who choose targets, timing, place, and methods
  • Escalated to involve others who side with the bully, either voluntarily through coercion.
  • Undermining of legitimate business interests when bullies' personal agendas take precedence over work itself
  • Domestic violence at work where the abuser is on the payroll.

A 2014 national survey by Zogby International and the Workplace Bullying Institute found that:
  • 27% of workers have experienced workplace bullying
  • 72% of employers who received complaints about workplace bullying either ignored the problem or made it worse
  • 56% of workplace bullies are supervisors

Bullies can be managers, supervisors, co-workers, or clients. The bully’s target is usually a capable, dedicated person. 80% of targets are women.

Common bullying behaviors
  • False accusations of mistakes and errors
  • Yelling, shouting, and screaming
  • Exclusion and "the silent treatment"
  • Withholding resources and information necessary to the job
  • Behind-the-back sabotage and defamation
  • Use of put-downs, insults, and excessively harsh criticism
  • Unreasonably heavy work demands
  • Spreading rumors and gossip
  • Making offensive jokes or comments, verbally or in writing
  • Discounting achievements and stealing credit for ideas or work
  • Disciplining or threatening job loss without reason
  • Taking away work or responsibility without cause
  • Blocking requests for training, leave or promotion
  • Pestering, spying, stalking, or tampering with personal belongings and equipment

What bullying is not
  • Enforcing workplace policies and procedures
  • Evaluating or measuring performance
  • Providing constructive feedback
  • Denying training or leave requests with good reason
  • Discussing disciplinary action in private
  • Dismissing, suspending, demoting, or reprimanding with just cause

Why bullies bully
  • Sideline someone they feel is a threat (the target)
  • Further their own agenda at the expense of others
  • Deny responsibility for their own behavior
  • Mask their lack of confidence and low self-esteem

Types of harm from which targets suffer
  • Stress disorders of all types, including anxiety
  • Shock, anger, frustration, and helplessness
  • Clinical depression or suicidal thoughts
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of focus, confidence, morale, and productivity
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Impaired immune systems
  • Symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Destructive impact on family and personal relationships




Think you're being bullied? »
Who gets targeted »
Early signs of bullying »
Employer resistance »



About us

The Healthy Workplace Bill creates a legal claim for bullying targets who can prove they were subjected to malicious, health-harming behavior and provides defenses for employers who act preventively and responsively to discourage frivolous claims.

info@mahealthyworkplace.com