It is important to clearly understand that 80% of the time, behavior that is considered bullying is NOT illegal. But even though legal action cannot be taken, bullying is a very serious issue and still requires action from employees who witness it or are victims. If you are not clear where the line is between harassment and bullying, speaking up isn’t easy. Knowing where that line is begins by reviewing this handout.
(80% not illegal at this time)
|Legal:||Illegal||Shy of illegal|
|Focus:||Most harassment has a physical component (intrusion into personal space, damage to property, touching); sex, race and disability are typically the focus||Most workplace bullying is psychological (criticism, teasing, intimidation); competence (envy) and popularity (jealousy) are typically the focus|
|Target:||Tends to focus on specific individual because of a characteristic (gender, race, disability)||Tends to focus on people who are competent|
|Awareness:||Most people recognize harassment right away and know it’s against the law||Most people do not recognize bullying right away|
|Language:||Using offensive language is typical||Typically includes trivial criticisms without explicit offensive language|
Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the CRM Learning training program, Preventing Workplace Bullying.
Recommended Training Resource: Preventing Workplace Bullying is the brand-new program that teaches people how to recognize and respond to bullies at work (whether the bully is a co-worker, subordinate or leader).