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Home » Clarion » 2012 » June 2012 » What Is Workplace Bullying?

What Is Workplace Bullying?


Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable actions aimed at intimidating, humiliating, degrading or undermining an employee or group of employees. Bullying may create a risk to employee health and safety.

Workplace bullying often involves abuse or misuse of power. Bullying behavior creates feelings of defenselessness and injustice in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity at work.

Bullying is different from aggression, which may involve only a single act. Bullying involves repeated attacks, creating an ongoing pattern of abusive behavior.

Bosses who are tough or demanding or who set high standards are not necessarily bullies, so long as they are respectful and fair and their expectations are reasonable.

● use of abusive, insulting or offensive language
● excluding, isolating or marginalizing an employee
● constant and unwarranted criticism, without factual justification
● frightening or intimidating behavior
● tampering with someone else’s work, work equipment, or personal belongings
● deliberately withholding information or resources necessary for effective work performance
● excessive monitoring or micromanaging
● being targeted for impossible assignments or deadlines

● anxiety
● sleep deprivation
● gastrointestinal disorders
● musculoskeletal disorders
● hypertension
● increased risk of cardiovascular illness
● reduced self-esteem

Regain control:
● Recognize that you are being bullied.
● Realize that you are not the source of the problem.
● Understand that bullying is about control and not about your performance.

Take action:
● Speak directly to the bully. Calmly state that his/her behavior is unacceptable and must stop. Ask that any discussions be constructive and professional.
● Avoid being alone with the bully.
● Create a paper or digital train of evidence. Document incidents and witnesses. Save harassing e-mails or memos.
● Seek support from trusted colleagues.
● Consult with a grievance counselor at the PSC Central Office about what options may be available to you.
● Work for the enactment of legislation against workplace bullying.

(Adapted from a New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health resource paper.)



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