By KEITH A. CLOUSE
Workplace bullying refers to the repeated acts of an employee intended to intimidate and humiliate a coworker or a subordinate. Examples of bullying include:
- Falsely blaming the employee;
- Treating the employee differently than the rest of the group;
- Swearing at the employee;
- Physically threatening or intimidating the employee;
- Teasing the employee;
- Spreading gossip and rumors about the employee;
- Excluding the employee from work or social functions;
- Shouting at the employee;
- Humiliating the employee; and
- Micro-managing the employee.
While most workplace bullying is not illegal, an employer should not tolerate it. The victim of bullying may suffer emotional distress and may develop medical conditions, such as sleep and eating disturbances or depression. Bullying hurts the employer, too. Employee morale decreases and productivity drops when employees must cope with bullying behaviors. An employer may also encounter costs associated with replacing and training new staff members when others leave because of the bully’s behavior.