Useful Tips

Harassment at work: quit or build relationships?


Intimidation in the workplace refers to any repeated intentional behavior that is aimed at the employee and includes the intention to humiliate, insult, compromise, or in some other way negatively manifest himself. Such behavior may come from the employer, manager or manager and is indeed a problem for staff at any level. It is not joke. By learning to recognize and correctly respond to intimidator behavior, you will help create a healthier and more productive environment for yourself and your colleagues. Read on to find out more.

How to avoid becoming a victim of mobbing, bullying and bossing?

Mobbing, bullying, bossing. These mysterious words mean only various options of persecution organized by one or several people at the work of an employee who is objectionable to them. Do you think this does not threaten you? You are mistaken. Any of us could be a potential victim, while millions of people around the world are counting victims of office terror.

Conspiracy against the victim

Alla knows firsthand what it feels like when a team rejects and does not let them into its close ranks. Once she worked in a company where the main contingent of workers were ladies much older than her. But instead of motherly care, the girl was faced with ignoring and open hostility of her colleagues. And although she liked the work and the authorities had no complaints against her, Alla had to quit a few months after the start of the conspiracy against her.

This is a typical example of mobbing (mob - crowd), or persecution by a group of persons of one person. As a rule, the goal of mobbing and other types of psychological pressure is to make the victim lose their nerves and shamefully escaped from the "battlefield."

The main difference between targeted bullying and ordinary conflicts and strained relationships with someone is in its consistency and duration, from several weeks to several years. There are other signs that suggest that a war has unleashed against you. For example, regular criticism, often too petty or containing no specifics, ridicule and insults, threats and outright slander. They hide important information from you or don’t provide it on time, load it with deeds that are not too relevant to your competence, and do not invite you to joint collective events. But if you make reasonable claims about the really poor quality of your work, they cannot be blamed.

A person who has undergone psychological terror may also have health problems: sleep disorders, physical exhaustion, persistent migraines, depression, and various diseases. Self-esteem falls, self-doubt appears. On health problems, the pursuers will not fail to open another trump card: "Why keep an employee who is on sick leave all the time?"

Five reasons for mobbing

The most common reasons for mobbing and its variants are several.

  1. Commonplace envy and the fear that you will cross someone’s path is why successful professionals quite often are ostracized.
  2. Sometimes the trigger becomes quarrel between peoplewhich, having reached its peak, leads to harassment in the workplace.
  3. Another option - the boss and his subordinate at one time already connected relationshipthat go beyond official ones: for example, friendship or love. But then they were interrupted. However, both sides have to work together, and in some cases the boss will seek to get rid of the person with whom something has shared.
  4. Office wars often provoke unhealthy atmosphere in the company - constant staff turnover, a rigid system of fines and control, distrust of each other. In such a team there is a tension hidden for the time being, which sooner or later will require discharge. And then anyone can become a scapegoat.
  5. An important role in whether there is a tendency in the organization to “witch-hunt” is played manager's personality. There are bosses who love to manipulate people and push their foreheads. Collective persecution of an employee occurs with their tacit approval, or even with their submission, when they want to get rid of an unwanted person with the wrong hands. Sometimes leaders underestimate the severity of the situation, tolerate such tricks by subordinates and do not take any measures against the instigators of bullying, leaving them with a sense of impunity. But the boss, like no one else, is responsible for the positive psychological climate in the team and the settlement of industrial conflicts.

Daria Stasevich, psychologist

Some companies have adopted "hazing" of newcomers, this is a kind of tradition of joining the team. When you go through this stage, then everything is likely to form. On the causes of pressure in relation to yourself, you can look at the other side. Perhaps similar situations have already occurred in your life. Then you need to understand what your behavior can provoke others to such an attitude. For example, you are used to playing the role of the victim and do not know how to stand up for yourself. Or you differ too much from colleagues - in behavior, in appearance - and they do not understand and do not accept you. Among other reasons - you out of ignorance or intentionally ignore the established "rules of the game" and do not share the values ​​of the group, you have come to the company by pulling, they want to put "your" person in your place.

Bullying: one on one

When the chief of Maya, who worked as an assistant judge, was admitted to the hospital for a whole year due to a serious illness, his staff were temporarily transferred to another station. There, a woman had to face the inappropriate behavior of one of her colleagues. "She worked as an assistant to my new leader and for some reason immediately disliked me, mischievously with terrible force. She will spread rumors behind me that I supposedly got a job through bed. She will be silent about the chief’s important request, and she impudently lied to him that everything handed me, "- Maya shares.

This is another version of psychological terror - bullying (bully - bully), or the pursuit of one person by another, usually equal in status. It is believed that a feature of bullers is a constant thirst for "fresh blood". Often, after the victim, unable to withstand bullying, quits, the attacker is taken for the next “lamb”.

How to build a relationship?

If you feel that a targeted large-scale campaign is being conducted against you, you can choose several fighting strategies. The main thing is to realize why you are ready to fight.

Try to give a decisive rebuff to the aggressors. Another option is to ignore attacks with the expectation that sooner or later they will leave you behind. A technique such as “external consent” also helps: “Perhaps you are right, I will think about it.” Sometimes this produces an effect of surprise: outbursts of anger or miserable excuses were expected from you, and now you have a chance to take control of the situation.

Ask your boss for help. By and large, it is possible to stop mobbing or bullying if he takes appropriate measures. Otherwise, further struggle for their rights may turn into a battle with windmills.

You are also able to take certain steps in order to to warn of possible negative self-attitude. When hiring, find out what the corporate culture and values ​​of the company are, whether mutual assistance, respect for each other, etc. are accepted. Sources of such information are interviews with the HR manager and future manager. If you are hiring a company whose products you used to use, pay attention to how customers in this organization’s stores relate. After all, often this is a reflection of the style of relationships within the company. During the trial period, you can also find out a lot of interesting things. For example, whether there is pressure from any of the employees. If such a phenomenon exists, draw the appropriate conclusions.

Karina Khutaeva, director of the international educational center

If you meet with bullying at work, keep calm and do not stoop to the level of pursuers. Do not scream or intimidate in return. Often, “attackers” specifically provoke you, expecting retaliatory aggression, as this will give them a chance to respond to you with even more powerful provocation. It is not recommended to cry or show your weakness, this is expected of you in the first place. Continue to work efficiently, because the "well-wishers" hope to see you broken, and when you succeed time after time, it is perceived by them as a defeat. Be sure to show the results of your work to your bosses to protect yourself from malicious slander about your lack of professionalism. And do not let isolate you from loyal colleagues, maintain business and friendly relations with them.

Natalya Verigina, business coach

The victims of bullying or mobbing are often people with low self-esteem, so it is important to work to increase it. The help to the psychologist, participation and victories in competitions of professional skill will help with this. Often persecuted are single people who keep apart from the team. Learn to build relationships with people - this will make it easier to establish contact with colleagues and form an "army of allies." They can become employees not only from their own, but also from related departments, and even more significant - the immediate supervisor. Learn to defend your position, taking into account the interests of all parties and the "rituals" adopted by the company so that disputes do not develop into a tough conflict. Do not make enemies with your own hands.

Bossing: boss versus

The confrontation between Nina and her boss lasts a long time, and no one will remember the root cause. The leader creates an unbearable atmosphere at work for his employee. It sets unrealistic deadlines for accomplishing tasks, requires strict observance of labor discipline, and the rest are given significant concessions. Nina is in constant stress, and from dismissing her while stopping her is only an even greater fear of remaining unemployed.

In this case, we are talking about bossing (boss - Chef, boss), persecuted by the head of his subordinate. In fact, this is the same bullying, but not horizontal, but vertical. Usually it is used when the boss lacks weighty arguments to legally dismiss a person.

As a rule, the victim has little hope for the help of colleagues, because they are not at all eager to fall under the punishing sword. Sometimes the boss’s attitude to someone is perceived by his subordinates as a visual indication of action, in such a situation a person is under cross-bullying literally from all sides.

They can put pressure on you, forcing to urgently write a letter of resignation of their own free will. Do not make any decisions in a hurry, you have every right to take a break for thought. If you agree to quit your job, try agreeing to quit by agreement of the parties. This suggests that both parties are ready to make concessions to each other. You leave, and the employer, if you can agree with him, pays a severance pay in a certain amount. After all, dismissal on its own initiative involves only compensation for unused vacation.

In any case, experts recommend leaving the company where terror of people with impunity is allowed, and the sooner the better. Otherwise, the consequences for your health and psychological state may become irreversible.

Daria Stasevich, psychologist

If the boss decided to fire you, you will have a very difficult time. But your departure is not the only option, although it is very likely. You can try to transfer to another department of the same company or to another branch or even a region, if there is such an opportunity. You can ask for help from a higher authority or to a court. There are also city and district labor inspectorates. It is important to provide documentary evidence of a violation of your rights - voice recordings of conversations with superiors, various correspondence, an employment contract, etc. are suitable.

Workplace harassment

Bullying and harassment are behaviors that make a person feel offended. Intimidation in the workplace refers to any repeated intentional behavior that is aimed at the employee and includes the intention to humiliate, insult, compromise, or in some other way negatively manifest himself. This behavior may come from the employer, manager or manager. The oppression and oppression of workers under the Equality Act of 2010 is illegal.

Examples of bullying or harassment include:

  • the spread of malicious rumors,
  • Unfair or biased treatment
  • attempts to prevent an employee from performing job duties, sabotage,
  • attempts to spoil the reputation
  • Ignoring success and lowering the contribution of the employee to the work of the organization,
  • not providing training and career opportunities.

Bullying or harassment can occur:

  • face to face,
  • in writing,
  • by email,
  • by phone.


Bullying is not illegal, but oppression, harassment and harassment is illegal. This behavior is associated with the following factors:

  • age,
  • floor,
  • disability,
  • gender (including gender reassignment),
  • marriage or same-sex marriage,
  • pregnancy, motherhood or fatherhood,
  • race or skin color,
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation.

How to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace

Workers must first assess the situation and whether they can unofficially understand this problem. If they cannot, employees can discuss the situation with:

  • manager or supervisor
  • HR department
  • union or staff association representatives.

If this does not produce the desired results, they can file a formal complaint using the complaints procedure to the employer. The final option for the employee: file a lawsuit with the Labor Court of Appeal.

Employers are responsible for the prevention of bullying, oppression, harassment and intimidation of their employees, as well as for any kind of harassment that their employees suffer.

Pursuing workplace bullying policies can help prevent problems. Possible solutions to this problem may include:

  • change in the organizational culture of the enterprise,
  • the introduction of formal complaints procedures specifically designed to combat bullying,
  • interviewing those who allow bullying, followed by disciplinary action against them if their behavior does not change for the better.