Workplace ‘mobbing’

According to Swedish psychologicst Heinz Leymann, mobbing is  “hostile and unethical communication directed in a systematic way by one or a few individuals mainly towards one individual.”  Some examples of typical mobbing behaviour are: withholding information, isolation, badmouthing, constant criticism, circulation of unfounded rumors, ridicule, and yelling.

Persons who have been mobbed or become targets of bullies have several options. Most importantly, they need to understand that there is a name for what they are experiencing, that the phenomenon is well known and is increasingly being researched in this country. They need to understand that they have become victimized and that there is very little that they could have done differently. Secondly, they need to assess all their options in the short, medium, and long run: Is there any way to gain recourse that they haven’t tried yet? Is finding another job within the company a possibility? Are they prepared to look for another job? What do they need to do to prepare for the transition? Do they need medical or therapeutic intervention? We advise people to weigh all their options carefully, to be assertive and most importantly, to take control of their situation. And, we advise to leave their workplace sooner rather than later and accept temporary sacrifices rather than to endure ongoing humiliation that could have much more serious health effects later.

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