Sunday, 7 September 2014

Workplace bullying and mobbing

Do you experience that the working environment has changed recently? Have your colleagues stopped talking to you? Maybe a manager has been telling you dirty things in your ear when nobody heard and now you feel uncomfortable? Do your colleagues laugh when you open your mouth to express your thoughts and ideas? Watch out! Workplace bullying is becoming more and more common!


We talk a lot about bullying and mobbing among kids, and we need to keep helping them. We really need to listen to them and support them in any way we can. Children and teenagers can be cruel to one another, we all know that, and the problem bullying is hard to cope with. Surprisingly, the problem exists also among adult people, especially at work!

What is workplace bullying? The term “workplace mobbing” was first described in Sweden in 1980 by a psychologist called Heinz Layman. He observed that those that were targeted were as traumatized as if they had been in war and believed that 15% of the suicides in Sweden were due to mobbing. Other scientists have confirmed his research and the problem is becoming bigger and bigger.

In the book Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the Workplace, the writers Ruth D. Schwarz, Noa Davenport and Gal Purcell Elliott describe how the target suffers psychologically and also physically. Targets are often excluded from meetings or denied access to materials needed to do their job well. The aim of the bullying is often to get the person quit the job and tactic often works because the management does not intervene. It can actually be the upper management that orchestrates the attacks if they want to get rid of a resource that they cannot fire legally. Unfortunately, this often works. The bullied employees often see themselves forced to leave the job because the consequences are so difficult that it is impossible to cope with them. Bullying often leads to both physical disorders. According to there are a lot of diseases that are stress-related, as well as health complications from prolonged exposure to bullying. Below are a few examples:

  • ·         Cardiovascular Problems: Hypertension (60%) to Strokes, Heart Attacks
  • ·         Adverse Neurological Changes: Neurotransmitter Disruption, Hippocampus and Amygdala atrophy
  • ·         Gastrointestinal: IBD, colitis
  • ·         Immunological Impairment: More frequent infections of greater severity
  • ·         Auto-immune disorders
  • ·         Fibromyalgia (21%), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (33%)
  • ·         Diabetes (10%)
  • ·         Skin Disorders (17%)

14 million Americans are being bullied today and many more are watching this happening. The phenomenon is growing around the world and also in Italy the problem has started being tackled.The employer has the duty to protect the physical and moral integrity of the employees according to Italian law.

Some of the most common forms of bullying are:

  • Slander
  • Gossiping
  • Menial work assignments
  • Missing information

Bullying can also cause damage the employee's professionalism, when the worker does not perform the work assignment for which they were hired. An employee in Italy can now ask for support for this reason. Also, bullying has been recognized by Inail (the national insurance institute of Italy) as a professional disease. A bullied worker can ask the institute for a compensation if having been damaged by the working environment by bullying.

Even Inail began to consider bullying as an occupational disease: in fact, has been included in the category of occupational diseases is not tabular, that is not included in the tables. Then the worker can claim compensation for the damage also to the said Institute.
Sexual harassment by a manager or colleague can be classified and judged. Physical violence and also indecent proposals should be reported to the upper management and if no action is taken the employee can refer to the Italian law.

It is the duty of each employee to make sure that the employees are being respected by the managers and colleagues. Your manager should not make sexual proposals to you and he/she should talk to you in a respectful way. They should not make inappropriate comments on your physical appearance. Are you being bullied? Take a look at these links (English and Italian). There are some books that might be helpful.


  1. Rigtig fint skrevet Anikka, mobning er vold. Selv i et ægteskab bruges mobning, som regulator i magbalangsen, mobning burde gøres mere synlig for samfundet.

    Mange hilsner Jørn

    1. Tack, +Jørn Jensen. Du om någon vet, som är expert på mobbning. Tack för all information du har skickat mig. Det är dags att ändra på denna värld nu!

  2. Tack, +Jørn Jensen. Du om någon vet, som är expert på mobbning. Tack för all information du har skickat mig. Det är dags att ändra på denna värld nu!