February 26th, 2013

Bullying Is Workplace Violence

It is not homicide, nor is it physical battery, but Workplace Bullying in its most severe form is violence. Its damage stems from psychological injury and stress-related diseases that destroy an employee’s ability to perform work accurately.

Here is our continuum of negative behavior that arranges mistreatment from mild to extreme. It appears in our book, The Bully-Free Workplace.

Workplace Violence Continuum
Bullying incorporates Incivility, a milder, impersonal form of mistreatment. To act without civility is to ignore the norms (informal, unstated operating rules) in the workplace. Uncivil coworkers lead some to want to quit, but there is no suffering like bullying causes.

A stronger class of negative conduct is Disrespect. It is personalized, there is a target. It is the beginning of contemptuous interactions in which one person believes the other is a lesser human being than she or he.

Bullying is everything including incivility and disrespect up to, but stopping short of, physical violence. One popular synonym for bullying is psychological violence. Bullying is harmful to the targeted person’s health. Health harm is based on the person’s stress response in reaction to stressors, especially cruel people with whom that person works.

As tactics escalate, a line is crossed rendering the mistreatment abusive. In fact, bullying is akin to domestic violence where the abuser is on the payroll. Bullying is NOT simply eye-rolling or inappropriate jokes. Those would fall lower on the scale. We reserve the term workplace bullying for repeated, harmful, abusive mistreatment — a form of workplace violence.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 at 8:01 am and is filed under Tutorials About Bullying. 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. star says:

     I was shocked and dumbfounded when first I began to see this going on. It was commonplace within my work environment and I later found that the company itself seemingly from top down is unethical. I found that there is an enormous number of EEO complaints filed and many that I have read have a familiar undertone. Bullying and menacing, demeaning and humiliating. Many say that management and supervision was aware and either did nothing or joined in and encouraged the harassment/bullying.

    I only found this out after I’d become target and was going through my nightmare. I liken it to being raped on the street in broad daylight with witnesses who assist or watch and say nothing.

    While I was a top performer, stayed out of the fray I’d come to know, avoided speaking up for years, I am without a job. I support children and have a mortgage. We are in free fall as I had been diagnosed with PTSD and still I cant sleep or wake without a shiver. Throughout the entire day I think of this and am still probably in shock. It was fight or flight daily and even as management and supervision knew, and knew the history, and character of the bullies they did nothing. My sup would witness and knew full well of harassment of me and all that would be said was “they did the same to me” or “they have no class” or “let them hang themselves” finally after a crescendo it was “I see you in a downward spiral” ……..NO KIDDING..is what I wanted to yell. I was screaming in my head as I composed myself….HOW CAN YOU LET THIS CONTINUE? What will it take?

    We are the legs of our families. Mothers and Fathers must be allowed to earn without threat to our emotional and psychological well being. We have children at home that we have to build up and instil character and emotional health within. We to have to earn to retain our homes. Allowing this devastation is cutting off the footings that families stand on. I am nearly out of options and unless I find a family sustaining job asap like yesterday…it will be over.

  2. michell dean says:

    People work in different types of job and they face different hazards at workplace and the most common is bullying at workplace that can lead to accidents. Many people get injured or died after being struck by a moving or falling object at workplace and it is necessary that they should make a compensation claim if they are injured at workplace due to third party fault.

  3. LesMerveilles says:

    Please can respondees to this stop calling the bullied person a victim – having experience it myself I was targeted and I was not a victim. I took my former manager to HR, it was noted, she backed off, but it didn’t stop completely it just lessened in intensity. I became ill, and was redeployed into something worse; she was rewarded with more people and now has a new person to ‘coach’/bully.

  4. Gray says:

    Workplace Bullying may not be illegal but Workplace Violence is…Is that correct or incorrect? There are green grapes and purple grapes but either way…they are still grapes. Sometimes its all in the verbiage. You will get nowhere by saying you were bullied at work, so, Really think about your situation and what happened? How extreme was it? There is a point when bullying is Illegal. It is no longer called bullying if it has reached that point so please, research, ask questions and find out what your options are so you can recover and heal and find closure. Good Luck!

  5. […] Bullying in its most severe form is violence.” (“Bullying Is Workplace Violence,” http://www.workplacebullying.org/bullying-is-workplace-violence/). The article includes a diagram of the continuum of bullying acts, or “negative […]

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