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What is workplace mobbing?

Learn to identify and fight workplace bullying

Enrique R
Enrique R
6 min read
What is workplace mobbing? – What is it – WebMediums
Labor mobbing

From job abandonment to suicide, workplace mobbing represents serious risks for any worker.

A good work environment is decisive both for the performance of the worker and for his emotional stability. An unhealthy environment will affect you to the extreme of coming home under stress and, when it comes to workplace mobbing, it could lead to worse problems.

Mobbing is any situation in which a worker is attacked by one or more colleagues or superiors, continuously and systematically, for several months.

This can happen both within the company and in other spaces.

What drives workplace mobbing?

The objectives of mobbing are so diverse that sometimes they are not related to labor issues.

There are cases where a line of command decides to ignore / override a worker, so they send emails to everyone in their department except him / her. When claiming, they will say it was an oversight, over and over again.

What is workplace mobbing? – What is it – WebMediums
The mobbing clearly aims at a target

There is mobbing between colleagues, this is clearly directed at a target and although sometimes it begins with an individual attack, normally the bully adds or recruits others, either because they also have an interest in harassing or lying to generate rejection of the target.

Exclusion is one of the most common characteristics of workplace mobbing, it can occur within the workplace, such as meetings or discussions about projects, always excluding a person.

Identifying mobbing

Verbal bullying is the easiest to detect. Offensive remarks are made, alluding to the poor preparation, null contributions and even the physical characteristics of the person, all this is done constantly involving several colleagues.

Although it is as serious as any other kind of mobbing, when the attack is verbal, it is known and can be denounced or confronted in a more direct way.

Killing the worker is another workplace harassment tactic. When suggestions come out of a peer meeting, you may find that your input never reaches the top line of the company.

It is also possible that the person in charge of reviewing and approving the proposals or tasks, takes days to review your contributions as if nothing had happened, but if one day you are late, they will point it out to you, implying that the regular delay is your fault and not their failures in the review.

Blackmail and gossip in workplace mobbing

Both are elements that can be identified as types of mobbing, but they also apply within mobbing in general, since harassment often involves initial blackmail: The worker must resign and will automatically have peace.

What is workplace mobbing? – What is it – WebMediums

Other times mobbing aims to prevent a new worker from presenting proposals, lines of work, that change the status quo in the office. Colleagues who prefer to take things as they are and will make life miserable for anyone who tries to convince their bosses to make changes.

As for the "address" of the mobbing, this can be:

From boss to employee

The worker feels that the boss wants to annul him, he adds more responsibilities and tasks to him than to other workers, in addition to pointing out him in an offensive way for failures, including false accusations.

The idea is for the victim to implode and resign or commit a serious offense.

From employee to employee

It occurs in the same line of work. It is usually a group pointing out and attacking another worker.

The fact of coexisting daily in the same space makes the continuity of the attack stress the victim, and it also often extends outside the workplace.

From employee to boss

There are fewer cases but it also happens. A large group of employees disagrees with a new boss.

Suddenly the printer fails just at the time of presenting the report to the board, the technician is ill, coincidences that coincide and are repeated to make the boss look bad, over and over again.

The latter also occurs when, faced with a promotion, the ex-colleagues of that new boss decide out of jealousy that they will not accept him. Then the delays and failures in the fulfillment of tasks begin.

This modality is usually effective. The person responsible to the company is the boss, if he complains that his workers are sabotaging everything, the board of directors or general management will assume that he does not have command capacity.

What is workplace mobbing? – What is it – WebMediums
Harassment can come from bosses or colleagues

Workplace mobbing can encompass spaces beyond work

There are serious cases that remind us that mobbing can begin with gossip or personal fact, even if it occurred outside of work and that it can also affect areas beyond work.

In Spain, a serious case of labor mobbing, with a clear sexist incidence, occurred to a worker named Verónica. In the IVECO company they began to broadcast an intimate video, she had recorded it years before with a former partner from the same company.

The broadcast of the video led to laughter behind her back, in the middle of work several men saw it and made jokes and, although Verónica managed to be moved to another division in the same company, soon the rumor reached its new location.

The video reached her husband and led to a separation. That was Verónica's greatest fear, because both her husband and her former partner (in the video) were workers of the same company, but her current partner did not know of the existence of that video.

Veronica committed suicide. An unfortunate example of how far mobbing can go, which is not always linked to work tasks or activities and which can reach the digital world.

What to do if you detect signs of workplace mobbing against you?

In the first place and once you identify that it is a systematic attack against you, notify the human resources department of the company, with notice that if necessary, the next step will be to go to the labor inspectorate.

Confront the bullies. If you notice that there is someone at the head, you should cite him, ask him if he has any personal problem, if he is against your work or presence in the office, try to explain his reasons.

Normally they don't, but seeing themselves alone makes them afraid to pursue the problem.

If there is no solution, present the situation in other spaces. Currently, there are many initiatives against all types of harassment, by exposing the situation you can reverse the situation and that the company and the harassers are the ones indicated in social networks and other spaces.

If the bullying is against a partner, do not leave him alone, at those times everyone needs and deserves a hand, in addition, bullies need to isolate their target, if you approach and support someone, you reduce the chances of success of the labor mobbing.