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Adult Bullying in the Workplace: More Common Than You Might Think

By HERWriter
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Adult Bullying: More Common in the Workplace Than You Might Think Erwin Wodicka/PhotoSpin

Although Hammond thinks that there are some differences between childhood and adult bullying, they are still quite similar.

“It is important to help people recognize that differences in opinion (conflict) is not the same as bullying,” Hammond said. “Often children, and adults, repeatedly joke inappropriately with an underlying message to humiliate or degrade a person, and pass it off as ‘just joking!’”

Women also tend to be less physically aggressive when involved in acts of bullying in professional settings like the workplace, she added.

Savage said that women may use other tactics more than men, such as gossip, taunting, shunning, ignoring and excluding.

They may also spread rumors, tell secrets, and use more dramatic motions such as eye-rolling, pointing, giggling and whispering. Cyberbullying is also very popular.

As a former mediator and conflict resolution expert, Hammond knows firsthand that bullying does not just happen to children.

“I believe that there is increasing awareness about bullying and harassment, and I see more businesses and organizations investing in training and appropriate interventions to create safe, respectful workplaces, which is a very positive shift,” Hammond said.

Some common methods of adult bullying according to Hammond include:

1) Spreading malicious and harmful rumors, gossip and innuendos that aren’t true.

2) Using intimidation, physical threats, yelling or profanity.

3) Making hurtful and offensive jokes.

4) Sabotaging someone by set impossible deadlines that will guarantee failure.

5) Undermining or deliberately impeding another person’s work.

6) Withholding important information, or deliberately providing the wrong information.

7) Using technology to do any of the above, including via email, texting and social media.

So adults can just brush all of this off, right?

In some cases maybe. At the very least, bullying can cause stress, Hammond said.

Bullying can actually be quite harmful in many cases, especially because it often goes unreported.

Savage added that bullying may lead to anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and tension.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

WOOWW finally I see something about bulling at work by adults who are much worse than children (evi) I was bullied by a mentally ill teacher who controled other of her followers in her bulling. I took this for 14years !!!! I know for a fact that if I had gone to a lawyer she would had been fired because many of the things she did were very ilegal, and more in a school situation. Her bulling came fron envie and obsesion of power. It got so bad that became her mental illness.

April 18, 2015 - 9:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am being cyberbullied. I went to see what laws were out there and found that there are very few that protect adults, but I did find one in my state. This person will only get a slap on the wrist and will most likely keep on doing what he is doing. I am saddened that these things are rarely brought to public attention until tragedy strikes.

April 17, 2015 - 12:43am
EmpowHER Guest

This is such a good article! At first I just thought that maybe in my office setting I was being to emotional and taking things to personal but this article has brought a lot of interesting points and the most important one is a form of abuse. It's very sad really because sometimes for someone to feel better about them selfs they need to make others look bad! I hope I never have any of those traits! Thank you.

April 16, 2015 - 8:05pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

these type of people (bullies) have a very low selfsteam, envie, inferiority complex, and some mental illness. They need to bully others to feed their ''self ego''.

April 18, 2015 - 9:55pm
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