Workplace Bullying – It Happens Everywhere

For a year and a half, Miami Dolphin Jonathan Martin said he was harassed at the workplace by fellow teammate, Richie Incognito. Allegations include racial slurs, derogatory language, and more, which ultimately lead to Incognito being suspended indefinitely from the Miami Dolphins. This form of workplace bullying may not be prevalent but unfortunately still happens. You should be vigilant in keeping your office bully free.

What does bullying look like? Work place bullying is ongoing, offensive, abusive, threatening, or insulting behavior or unreasonable actions directed at another individual, causing the recipient to feel endangered, abused, humiliated, or helpless, and potentially preventing the target from performing his or her job. An employee who won’t move to allow others to pass by in a hall way; a supervisor who shouts at employees; as well as acts of physical intimidation may all be examples of bullying in the workplace.

Any type of physical violence may be covered under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Additionally, there could be both civil and criminal liability if someone were to be harmed. More typically, workplace bullying is verbal and is not expressly against the law in the United States. Verbal bullying can be disruptive and creates negative consequences for productivity, morale, and the overall environment. Employers should look into any allegations of bullying like they would investigate allegations of harassment and consider behavior’s impact not perpetrator’s intent. Does an alleged victim feel they have been bullied; have witnesses seen ridiculing, maligning, or negative comments such as name calling; and what about non-verbal gestures? Other bullying behavior includes pushing, shoving, or damaging personal property. Even excluding individuals from work-related activities could be intimidating when important decisions are made or advantageous relationships are created.

Whatever the behavior, nobody likes a bully on the football field or in the workplace. For more information call us at 800.884.1328.