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A Guide to Workplace Bullying: 5 Types That You Must be Aware of

March 30, 2022

A Guide to Workplace Bullying: 5 Types That You Must be Aware of 800 400 Shegerian Law

Have you ever felt excluded by your colleagues? Did you ever have officemates that spread false rumors about you? If you answer yes, then you probably have a first-hand experience of workplace bullying.

Apart from schools, it’s unfortunate that the corporate setting is also an avenue for toxic behavior. To give a better idea of its prevalence, a survey conducted in 2017 found that over 60 million Americans have been victims of various kinds of mistreatment at their place of work. This figure should be a cause for concern since it indicates that workplace bullying can occur in any institution.

As an employer, one of your most crucial responsibilities is to provide a safe working environment for your staff. Your employees may be abusing colleagues behind your back, and failure to take necessary measures will have several consequences. Besides making it difficult for your team members to collaborate, persistent workplace bullying paves the way for a toxic culture and environment.

To prevent and avoid future instances of workplace bullying, being aware of the different types should be the first step. To help you out, the visual guide we’ve prepared will teach you everything you need to know.


Infographic guide to workplace bullying


A Guide to Workplace Bullying: 5 Types That You Must be Aware of

Workplace bullying happens when an employee is regularly subjected to abusive behaviors in their place of work. Unlike workplace harassment, which is usually limited to a single instance, these acts persist over a long period. It can take up many different forms, and anyone in an organization can potentially become an offender.

It’s no secret that workplace bullying can pose serious consequences to one’s well-being. Victims may experience elevated levels of anxiety, have low self-esteem, or even manifest physical symptoms such as high blood pleasure. While leaving a company may be considered a solution, many cannot do so due to the fear of losing income.

Considering the risks, preventing such instances should be one of your top priorities. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, every member of your organization should look to eradicate unprofessional behavior. Knowing the different types of workplace bullying will enable you to identify threats and turn your office into a safe space.

1. Verbal 

Verbal abuse refers to either strong statements or seemingly harmless comments that occur repeatedly. Leaders who mock employees, managers who curse at staff members for making mistakes, or colleagues who gossip about others are common examples.

While jokes and banter improve social relations, going overboard can damage an employee’s confidence and self-worth.

2. Intimidating

Not all types of workplace bullying are direct. Unlike verbal abuse, which is targeted, intimidation and passive-aggressive behavior are also considered bullying.

Unjust managers tend to instill fear among their employees to get what they want. They use the threat of demotion and exclusion to get others to agree with their demands, severely impacting team members’ well-being.

3. Related to work performance

Performance appraisals are essential in any organization. While most managers conduct periodical assessments to optimize an employee’s performance, it’s unfortunate that some use them to take advantage of others.

Instead of grading a team member based on their output, a biased rater may intentionally score them low. Overly competitive colleagues are also common perpetrators. To damage others’ reputations, they intentionally sabotage their projects, take credit for their work, or interfere in operations.

4. Retaliatory

Retaliatory bullying is when a manager unfairly reprimands an employee who exposed an anomaly in the workplace. An example would be a team lead who sexually harassed others and gets reported by someone in the department. The offender then subjects the whistleblower to unfair treatment (e.g., increased workloads, shift changes, etc.) to get back at them.

Fear of retaliation is precisely why many victims of workplace bullying stay silent. Since holding someone accountable can lead to conflict, they would rather turn a blind eye a preserve peace.

5. Institutional

Institutional bullying is when an organization normalizes toxic behavior and unjust practices in the workplace. Employers who require forced overtime or set absurd performance metrics can be labeled as offenders since they do not adhere to the rights and well-being of their workers. This type usually develops over time and can be avoided by setting fair standards.


How to Deal with Bullying in the Workplace

1. Call it out

Many cases of workplace bullying can often be attributed to ignorance. An employee or colleague may not know that the statement they said was offensive, so calling it out will help prevent future instances. After all, educating someone is a lot more effective than exclusion.

2. Stand up for yourself

Bullies usually commit discriminatory acts to receive their desired reactions from others. When an employee makes a distasteful remark towards you, staying calm and collected will be your best course of action. Instead of retaliating and making it worse, speak out rationally and report to the necessary authorities to make them think twice.

3. Find strength in numbers

Planning to confront an offender who is in a higher position in the company? Make it a point to seek allies. The fear of retaliation or losing your job will make it difficult for you to stand up alone. But, if you have co-workers who have been targeted by the same individual, filing a case together will be easier.

4. Review your company’s policies

Before you make any rash decisions, take some time to familiarize yourself with your company’s policies. Instead of reacting impulsively, like going to court straight away, going through the right channels can help your case. More often than not, workplace bullying can be solved and addressed through proper dialogue.

5. Document your experience

If you suspect that you’re a victim of workplace bullying, it will be in your best interest to keep proof. Once you report your case to the relevant authorities, saving emails or messages that expose your offenders will make it easier for them to make a sound verdict.

6. Seek legal advice

For more complex issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Instead of managing your case alone, hiring a workplace bullying lawyer will be one of your best decisions. Having a skilled professional guide you through provisions and legal procedures will ensure that all parties are held accountable.


Build a Safe Working Environment

Workplace bullying is a big issue in any organization. It destroys employee morale, hinders camaraderie among staff, and brings about other consequences that can impact your company’s stability. So, whether you’re the company’s CEO or just a regular rank-and-file, standing up against workplace bullying should be one of your unspoken duties.  

Now that you’re aware of the different types of workplace bullying, it should be easier for you to turn your office into a safe space. If you require legal assistance or matters relating to employee rights, reach out to Shegerian & Associates today.

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