Comprehensive Guide to Workplace Bullying: Facts, Behaviors, and Examples

Discover essential facts, behaviors, and examples of workplace bullying. Learn how to identify and address bullying to create a respectful and supportive work environment with guidance from the American Workplace Advocacy Center.
Workplace bullying is LEGAL throughout the United States many victims without avenues for redress and causing significant disruption to organizations. It's worth noting that Puerto Rico recently passed legislation addressing this issue, which gives us hope for progress in addressing workplace bullying more comprehensively in the future.

Discover the staggering extent of workplace bullying through these eye-opening statistics.

* There are roughly 2 million victims of workplace violence each year (The Workplace Bullying Institute, 2021).

* 30% of Americans have suffered from workplace abuse; another 19% have witnessed it; 49% are affected by it; and 66% are aware that workplace bullying happens (The Workplace Bullying Institute, 2021).

* Workplace violence rates witnessed a significant increase, with incidents rising by 12% over seven years, from 36% in 2012 to 48% in 2019 (Society for Human Resource Management, 2019).

What is Workplace Bullying?

Involves repeated, harmful behaviors within a professional or work context.

Includes intimidation, belittlement, humiliation, and undermining of individuals or groups.

Manifestations include nonverbal cues, verbal attacks, cyber harassment, emotional manipulation, and more.

Typically occurs regularly, on a daily or weekly basis.

Arises from flaws in culture, policies, leadership, and group dynamics.

Is an organizational issue, reflecting systemic problems.

Strength doesn't come from enduring workplace bullying alone; it also comes from standing up against it and gaining a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding it. You have the power to change your circumstances and, in doing so, create a better, more respectful workplace!

Have you ever wondered about the behaviors associated with bullying?

Here are some examples!


A form of workplace bullying that includes use of spoken or written words to demean, insult, threaten, or harm their coworkers.

Common Forms:
Name-calling, yelling, screaming, shouting, sarcasm, temper tantrums, ridicule, threats, intimidation, constant criticism, gossip or spreading rumors, teasing, namc-calling.


A form of workplace bullying refers to abuse where individuals use nonverbal cues, actions, or behaviors to harm, intimdate, or undermine their coworkers

Common Forms:
Facial expressions, gestures, body language, exclusion, isolation, invasion of personal space, eye rolling, sighs, ignoring, or giving silent treatment.


A form of bullying that takes place in the digital realm, typically through electronic devices or communication platforms, such as social media, email, text messages, instant messaging apps, and online forums.

Common Forms:
Inappropriate or uwanted emails, texts, or voice messages, Unnecessary carbon copying or blind copying emails, Inappropriate posts on social media, impersonation, cyberstalking, outing, sharing inappropriate information via email, texts, or social media, or doxing.


A form of workplace bullying where individuals use physical actions or behaviors to harm, intimidate, or threaten their coworkers.

Common Forms:
Pushing, shoving, hitting, striking, blocking, cornering, throwing objects, damaging personal property, physical threats, physical intimdiation, or forced physical tasks.


A form of workplace bullying where individuals are subjected to persistent, hurtful, and negative behaviors that target their emotional well-being.

Common Forms:
Verbal abuse, humiliation, belittlement, isolation, intimidation, coercion the deliberate undermining of an individual's self-esteem and confidence.

Attacks on Professional Reputation

A form of workplace bullying that involve deliberate actions or behaviors intended to harm an individual's credibility, image, or standing within their professional community or oganization.

Common Forms:
Spreading false rumors, making baseless allegations, publicly humiliating target, taking credit for their work, intentionally withholding information that affects their performance, changing rules or work expectations, poor evaluations not based on actual work, holding individual to a different standard of work, denying or limiting resources.


A form of workplace bullying that refers to the adverse actions or mistreatment that a person may experience as a consequence for reporting or speaking out against the bullying. Retaliation may unfold if the perpetrator believes that the target has confided in someone about the bullying incidents.

Common Forms:
Isolation, increased scrutiny, negative performance reviews, reassignment, public humiliation, unwarranted disciplinary actions, spreading false rumors, job termination, and legal action.
If left unaddressed, workplace bullying can inflict significant harm on individuals, causing emotional distress and trauma. Effective intervention is crucial to prevent such harm and foster a healthier work environment.

Discover if you're experiencing bullying. Take the Workplace Bullying Self-Assessment.

If you believe it can't happen to you, YOU ARE MISTAKEN!
Workplace bullying does not discriminate; it poses a threat to individuals across all levels of a company, irrespective of their position or status.

Everyone is potentially at risk,
making it crucial to address and prevent
workplace bullying comprehensively.
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