Understanding Hazards – Bullying

If a worker feels they’re being singled out for unfair treatment by a boss or colleague, they’re probably being bullied.  There’s no comprehensive list of bullying behaviours and no one type of person who’s likely to be a bully.  Bullying can be described as unfair, offensive, intimidating or insulting behaviour intended to undermine, humiliate or injure someone.

Examples of bullying behaviour include:

  • Constantly criticising competent staff, removing responsibilities from them, or giving them trivial tasks.
  • Shouting at staff.
  • Persistently picking on people in front of others or in private.
  • Blocking promotion.
  • Regularly and deliberately ignoring or excluding individuals from work activities.
  • Setting a person up to fail ny overloading them with work or setting impossible deadlines.
  • Consistently attacking a member of staff on their professional or personal standing.
  • Regularly making jokes about the same person.

Symptoms of bullying include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Ulcers
  • Sleeplessness
  • Skin rashes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Tearfulness
  • Loss of self-confidence

As a duty holder, make it clear to your team members that you find bullying behaviour unacceptable.  Encourage them to talk to you if they feel they’re at risk of being bullied or are being bullied.