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What is workplace bullying, and how does the EEOC view it?

What is workplace bullying, and how does the EEOC view it?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2022 | Employment Law

California employees expect to be treated with fairness and dignity in the workplace. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen as workplace bullying sometimes occurs.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is a problem that occurs when someone, usually in a higher position at a company, exhibits offensive behavior against an employee. Although the bully is often a manager or supervisor, it could also be a coworker. Bullying in the workplace is done by using humiliation, cruelty and vindictiveness against an employee as a way to undermine them. These behaviors can make the working environment hostile not just for the victim but for others as well.

While many people view bullying as a conflict, it’s more than that when it takes place in the workplace. As the bully is usually a person in a position of power exerting that power over an employee, it can have serious consequences. An employee who is a victim of such bullying can question their abilities and worth not only in their job but in general.

The purpose of bullying behavior is to destroy a person’s credibility and target them to make them feel bad about themselves. The following constitutes workplace bullying:

  • Deliberately excluding an employee from social events
  • Harassing and offending an employee
  • Singling out a specific employee
  • Deliberately causing an employee’s work performance to suffer

Rude, offensive comments in passing don’t constitute workplace bullying. The behavior must be ongoing, resulting in a hostile work environment.

How does the EEOC view workplace bullying?

Unfortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn’t have a policy against workplace bullying. It does recognize harassment as inappropriate behavior and has anti-discrimination laws. Bullying can be considered a form of harassment as it’s unwelcome conduct.

If you face workplace bullying, you have options to fight back. You may be able to file a complaint and right the situation.

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