There are many unfortunate truths about the working world. One of these is that no matter how old you are or what type of work you do, you can encounter a bully in the workplace. Workplace bullies are a lot like schoolyard bullies – they prey on their peers’ sense of self esteem in an effort to resolve their own insecurity.

When you recognize bullying in your workplace, you can make a conscious effort to speak up against it. Choose not to engage with the bully and instead, discuss your observations and experience with your supervisor. Below are four ways bullying can occur in the workplace.

Ignoring and Isolating

Ignoring an individual’s contributions to the workplace and isolating him or her from others are forms of bullying. Similarly, invalidating an individual’s concerns can also be used to silence him or her. These forms of workplace bullying are often used to maintain control over the victim by limiting his or her range of acceptable behaviors and opinions.

Pitting Employees Against Each Other

Some competition among employees can be a healthy workplace dynamic. But when competition becomes backstabbing, sabotaging, and an environment where employees feel they cannot trust each other, the workplace is not a healthy one. Managers who encourage this type of behavior by playing favorites and rewarding antisocial behavior are bullies.


Harassment is defined as persistent, unwanted contact that negatively impacts an individual’s ability to perform his or her job. It can include the following:

  • Unwanted physical contact;
  • Harsh, abusive or derogatory language;
  • Exposing the victim to graphic, disturbing material; and
  • Mocking or belittling the victim.

Threats and Intimidation

When a supervisor has to resort to threats and intimidation to manage staff, he or she is a bully. Individuals who threaten and intimidate their peers in the workplace are also bullies. Threats can be physical, but they can also be threats involving blackmail and threats of sabotage. Like other forms of workplace bullying, intimidation and threats are used to control the victim’s behavior, sometimes in an effort to keep him or her from speaking up about other abuses in the workplace.

Work with our Tulsa Staffing Agency to Find your Next Job

A workplace where bullying is a regular occurrence is not a healthy work environment. Work with our team of staffing specialists at Stand-by Personnel to find a healthy, productive work environment.