The term “mobbing” refers to a group of individuals who collaborate to harass, intimidate, bully or pester one person. In a workplace, mobbing occurs when a group of employees engages in hostile behavior towards a particular employee which makes it difficult for that employee to feel secure and perform their tasks.
The individuals who engage in mobbing can be colleagues, superiors or subordinates and this behavior can either be open and direct and covert and indirect.
All acts of mobbing have certain things in common such as malicious intent and the sense of the workplace hostility and harassment that these acts do to the victim. Some examples of mobbing are:
- Spreading a rumor about a particular employee;
- Orchestrating the isolation of the employee in the office;
- Making it difficult for the employee to perform their tasks;
- Belittling, bullying and humiliating the employee; and/or
- Trying to make the employee resign from the job.
The targets of mobbing are often employees who are the most creative, ethical and competent and the reason for this is because other employees find them threatening to their own positions in the workplace.
Supervisors are also a major target for mobbing and in these cases, subordinates collaborate with each other to undermine their supervisors. Women, younger workers and older workers face a higher risk for being targeted and rates of mobbing are particularly high in certain fields such as social service, health and education.
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Mobbing can drastically affect the morale and work performance of the victims. The impact is more intense when management does not do anything to address the mobbing incidents and allows this behavior to continue and to grow. Some of the effects of mobbing on the victim are:
- Reduced enthusiasm for work;
- Inability to focus on their daily tasks;
- Intense sense of isolation from colleagues and a distrust of their intentions;
- Increased anxiety and stress;
- Being denied promotions and other opportunities;
- Performing tasks for the bullying parties; and/or
- Resigning from their position (often without informing the employer of the true reason).
Thus, there can be serious disruptions in the workplace because of mobbing. Mobbing can lower the overall cohesiveness and morale of a workforce and it can affect businesses of all sizes, causing them significant losses in profits over the years.
Mobbing is a serious issue and it can have a major impact on both the victim as well as the workplace in general. If you have any questions or concerns regarding mobbing, bullying or workplace harassment, you may wish to consult an employment lawyer who can provide you with legal representation and advice for your situation. Also, if you need to appear in court, your attorney can support you and offer guidance through the process.