How to Identify and Prevent Workplace Bullying

Fri, 11 Nov 2022
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This #AntiBullyingWeek we look at how to identify and prevent workplace bullying to create a positive working environment for all.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated, and perverse behaviour directed towards an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to mental health and well-being in the workplace.

Bullying can happen in any type of workplace, and to people in any type of role from part-time employees to CEOs.

It can also take lots of different forms, from verbal or physical abuse to online harassment and in some cases can extend to out-of-work-hours harassment.

Examples of workplace bullying: 
  • Spreading rumours or insulting a colleague
  • Excluding an individual from group activities
  • Abusing positions of power
  • Preventing an employee from progressing at work
  • Criticising an employee without valid reasoning
  • Physically threatening abuse
  • Intimidation
The negative implications of bullying in the workplace include:
  • Bad relationships between colleagues
  • Driving down productivity
  • Hostility between colleagues
  • Losing staff
  • Lack of respect
  • Mental health risks such as anxiety, stress, and lack of sleep
  • Lack of self-esteem and a feeling of isolation
What steps can you take to prevent workplace bullying?
  • Open door policy
    Encouraging your team to feel they can talk to you about a situation, whether a victim or witness.  
  • Address the root of the problem
    Talking to individuals and encouraging them to express their vulnerabilities can be a powerful way to reform behaviour and make sense of their actions.
  • Provide training for all employees
    Gives employers, managers and employees to all have an equal understanding of what bullying and harassment are and what they should do if they are being bullied.
  • Positive workplace culture and good working relationships
    The best way to stop bulling in the workplace is to implement a positive culture with a mutual respect between employees.
  • Lead by example
    Pave the way for acceptable workplace behaviour and set an example to employees.
  • Become a better ally
     A key step to building a supportive and inclusive workplace culture for everyone, regardless of their background.

It is important to note that single incidents of unreasonable behaviour are not considered bullying. However, it is still important to deal with these issues correctly and monitor them accordingly.


For more information on dealing with workplace bullying, head to the National Bullying Helpline webpage.