Workplace bullying is harassment - a form of unfair discrimination. It is a worldwide phenomenon and is a serious and chronic workplace stressor that negatively affects individuals and organisations.
Sadly, South Africa shares an equal part of the unhappy state of affairs. For example, in an internet survey conducted in 2000, it was found that 77.8% of South Africans said they had experienced a form of victimisation during their career.
What is workplace bullying? The International Labour Organisation describes bullying as “any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted, in circumstances relating to their work. These obvious behaviours would originate from customers, co-workers at any level of the organisation. This definition would include all forms of harassing, offending, socially excluding harassment, bullying, intimidation, physical threats/assault, robbery and other intrusive behaviours.”
Workplace bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They can be men or women and they can be managers, supervisors or other workers. Bullies can harass one person or a group of people. Examples of harassment and bullying include: spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone, particularly on grounds of gender, race, or disability ridiculing or degrading someone - picking on them or setting them up to fail exclusion or victimisation unfair treatment, for example based on race/ethnicity, gender sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, disability, religion, HIV status, etc. overbearing supervision or other misuses of power or position unwelcome sexual advances - touching, standing too close and displaying of offensive material making threats/comments about job security without foundation deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism preventing individuals from progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities reprimanding someone in an abusive manner in the presence