Bullying in the Workplace
10 November 2023
Bullying in the workplace is a serious moral, ethical and a legal issue.
According to the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA), bullying in the workplace can be defined as:
“… repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could be reasonably regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work…”
Occupational health is the promotion and maintenance of not only physical well-being of all staff but also mental wellbeing. Bullying at work impacts performance and productivity at work as well as a person’s mental wellbeing. The best way of dealing with bullying in the workplace is prevention. Bullying can have serious negative effects for all those involved. This might include not only the person being bullied, but also the person being accused of bullying. It is important to distinguish bullying from other inappropriate situations or appropriate workplace engagement.
Examples of Bullying in the Workplace
Behaviour which makes for a bullying in the workplace pattern will likely include not just one but a range of the following behaviours:
- Exclusion with negative consequences.
- Verbal abuse/insults.
- Being treated less favourably than colleagues in similar roles.
- Belittling a person’s opinion.
- Disseminating malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo.
- Socially excluding or isolating a person within the work sphere.
- Intrusion – pestering, spying or stalking.
- Intimidation/aggressive interactions.
- Excessive monitoring of work.
- Withholding information necessary for proper performance of a person’s job.
- Repeatedly manipulating a person’s job content and targets.
- Blaming a person for things beyond their control.
- Use of aggressive and obscene language.
- Other menacing behaviour.
What is not Bullying in the Workplace
Bullying does not include (non-exhaustive list):
- expressing differences of opinion strongly,
- offering constructive feedback, guidance, or advice about work-related behaviour which is not of itself welcome, ordinary performance management,
- reasonable corrective action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of employees (for example managing a worker’s performance, taking reasonable disciplinary actions, or assigning work), or
- workplace conflict where people disagree with or disregard the others’ point of view.
Bullying in the Workplace – Stress and Violence
Bullying in the workplace can quickly escalate, introducing other unwanted hazards such as general stress that can lead to alcohol and drugs abuse and violence.
A large percentage of sick leave is due to stress. Employees should be encouraged to report stress and management should be trained to recognise the symptoms and causes of stress such as inability or reduced ability to cope with normal tasks and situations, increased sick leave and/or poor time keeping.
Violence abuse, threats, bullying or assault can cause stress and concern as well as a physical injury. Staff should be encouraged to report all occurrences to their supervisors who should record and investigate the details and if necessary report to the relevant authorities.
Preventing and Dealing with the Bullying at the Workplace
eLearn Safety has developed a fully online Bullying Awareness course. Bullying Awareness course is for all employees. It provides practical steps and conscientious guidance to help prevent, identify and confidently confront bullying and harassment at work.
If you feel you are being bullied at the workplace, the HSA has a useful information page What to do if You Feel You are Being Bullied. Additional useful resource is Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work.
Online Health and Safety Training
Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.
Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.
This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.
Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.
To find out more, please check our Courses page.
Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email email@example.com