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When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers (Emerson)

Workplace bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or employees), which is intended to intimidate and creates a risk to the health and safety of the employee(s).

Workplace bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power. Bullying includes behavior that intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates a worker, often in front of others. Bullying behavior creates feelings of defenselessness in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity at work.

Examples of bullying:

Unwarranted or invalid criticism

Blame without factual justification

Spreading rumors

Being treated differently than the rest of your work group

Being sworn at

Exclusion or social isolation

Being shouted at or being humiliated

Being the target of practical jokes

Excessive monitoring

Prevention of re-employment

Bullying, on the other hand, is often directed at someone a bully feels threatened by. The target often doesn’t even realize when they are being bullied because the behavior is covert, through trivial criticisms and isolating actions that occur behind closed doors. While harassment is illegal; bullying is not.

Bullying in general is NOT illegal in the U.S. unless it involves harassment based on sex, race, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  

Maryland rulings take bite out of bullies

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Workplace Bullying

Awareness        Intervention       Prevention