Workplace Bullying: Less Obvious Examples

Workplace bullying can take many forms. Workplace Bullying

Some are overt and obvious to most of us:

  • using a threatening tone
  • using threatening language
  • yelling or swearing
  • mocking or tauning
  • berating a co-worker

Other forms of bullying in the workplace are not so obvious. Which of the following would you consider to be bullying behaviour?

  • Persistently ignoring a co-worker?
  • Everyone excluding the new girl?
  • Spreading rumours about a manager?
  • Disrespectfully criticizing a worker in front of others?
  • Persistent negative behaviours towards an employee?

While the circumstances and the effect of the behaviour on the employee will determine whether the behaviour is considered bullying or not, ALL of the above may be less obvious examples of workplace bullying.

What is a ‘Hostile Work Environment’?

Man wheelchair suit

In a hostile work environment, behaviour that is unwelcome and that is based on a human rights ground creates a negative or disrespectful work environment for some employees.

For example, behaviours that can create a hostile work environment include displays of pornographic pictures, racist cartoons, telling of offensive jokes about people with disabilities, racist slurs, etc.

Let’s consider an example.

Philippe is French-Canadian and works for a company in Vancouver. His co-workers wrote his name on vicious cartoons about French-Canadians, and posted them around the workplace.

In this situation, the co-workers behaviour is ethnically motivated and based on negative stereotypes. They are harassing Philippe because of his ethnic background.

Philippe works in a hostile work environment.