Workplace Bullying

It is estimated that workplace bullying affects one in four people at work. This may be a conservative figure. In some industries such as the health sector, education and other areas of the public service, workplace bullying appears to be quite prevalent. The most common forms of workplace bullying are verbal abuse and intimidation, however there are many other subtle ways that people bully others at work. The definition we use is;

“Workplace bullying is unwanted and unwarranted behaviour, that a person finds offensive, intimidating or humiliating and is repeated so as to have a detrimental effect upon a person’s dignity, safety and well-being”

Overt Behaviours can include;

  • Open hostility and threatening behaviour
  • Demeaning language, gestures, belittling, ridicule, teasing
  • Constant criticism or unfair monitoring
  • Public humiliation
  • Yelling, invading space
  • Unwanted touching, pushing, throwing things at someone

Covert Behaviours

  • Undermining a person’s work or reputation
  • Setting impossible deadlines – over pressuringInflicting menial tasks, under-work, unwarranted removal of responsibility
  • Constantly changing targets and expectations
  • Spreading malicious gossip and rumours
  • Ignoring and isolating a person from needed support, communication or resourcesUnreasonable administrative sanctions, interference, setting people up to fail.
  • Taking credit for others ideas, refusing to give credit where due

For a more comprehensive description of bullying behaviours click here (17KB pdf).

In Australia workplace bullying has been estimated to cost the economy $12 - 36 billion a year including the costs of high staff turnover, absenteeism, performance decline, poor morale etc.
Workplace Bullying Book Cover

Workplace Bullying & Harassment Book
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