May 5th, 2014

The Street: Recognizing that you are being bullied at work


Don’t Be a Victim: 7 Signs YOU are a Victim of Workplace Bullying
By Keris Alison Lahiff, The Street, May 3, 2014

For the average American, the majority of waking hours are spent at work, whether it be in a cubicle, on the trading floor or out in the field. In such close proximity to colleagues, and for such an extended period of time, it’s little wonder conflicts arise.

However, the difference between naturally-occurring disagreements and all-out harassment is an important distinction. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), a national organization committed to raising awareness, office harassment is an issue in desperate need of attention.

According to its recent 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 27% of American workers have suffered abusive conduct at work, while another 21% have witnessed it. WBI estimates the number of U.S. workers subjected to abusive conduct totals 37 million.

By gender, the Institute found that 69% of bullies are men, while 60% of those bullied are women. Female bullies target women 68% of the time, while male bullies target women 57% of the time.

Sadly, the organization also found that in cases of bullying, the target loses his or her job 82% of the time, whether it be by quitting or termination.

However, a caveat: the study polled only the most serious forms of bullying, that is victimization in the form of threats, intimidation, humiliation, sabotage or verbal abuse. Oftentimes, workplace bullying can encompass more subtle behavior, actions that are not clear-cut but are intended to belittle and make others feel inferior.

Here are 7 subtle signs of a workplace bully, according to WBI definitions.

Source: Workplace Bullying Institute, 2014

Sign #1: Ignoring, isolation and exclusion

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Deliberately ignoring or avoiding a target; Purposefully excluding someone from group meetings, discussions or decisions; Or intentionally making someone feel isolated from the team.

Sign #2: Minimization

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Discounting or diminishing someone else’s views or concerns; Making someone else feel useless or underused; Or only delegating the worst of tasks or responsibilities.

Sign #3: Creating hostility among colleagues

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Purposefully causing hostile competition between employees; Intentionally creating conflict; Fostering a hostile team environment; Encouraging backstabbing; Or publicly ranking employees.

Sign #4: Undue criticism

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Constantly giving unreasonable or non-constructive criticisms; Fostering feelings of shame or guilt in employees; Or making employees feel as though their work is unworthy or inadequate.

Sign #5: Projection of blame, taking credit

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Using an employee as a scapegoat for work mistakes; Blaming others for their own mistakes or faults; Or assuming credit for work that is not their own.

Sign #6: Deception

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Lying or deceiving employees; Omitting information; Or willfully giving incorrect information.

Sign #7: Manipulation of employees’ roles

This form of abuse could involve the perpetrator: Purposefully blocking progress of work; Falsely promising projects or career progression; Removing responsibilities without justification; Or shifting expectations or guidelines without cause.

<-- Read the complete WBI Blog


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This entry was posted on Monday, May 5th, 2014 at 9:53 am and is filed under Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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  1. […] two years later (PTSD symptoms). Here are some useful links about definitions of subtle bullying: The Street: Recognizing that you are being bullied at work | Workplace Bullying Institute Anyways, by writing this, I guess I'm just wondering if we ISFPs might be more vulnerable to this. […]

  2. […] recent article from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), “The Street: Recognizing that you are being bullied at work” is interesting, as some of the forms of behavior outlined in the article were very common […]

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