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:
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
Loss of sleep
Loss of focus, confidence, morale, and productivity
Eating too much or too little
Impaired immune systems
Symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Destructive impact on family and personal relationships