Mobbing refers to harassment or bullying in the workplace, a situation which is on the rise. According to studies done by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WB), around 53 million workers report that they have been victims of harassment. In addition to the negative social, psychological, and emotional impact, bullying causes a loss of 300 million dollars a year in the United States.
This phenomenon has not yet been thoroughly studied, but in general terms it refers to damaging behavior by superiors toward their subordinates in the workplace hierarchy, in which the victim is subjected, verbally or physically, to threats, intimidation, abuse, or bullying over an extended period of time.
This type of harassment can also be done by coworkers in an attempt to harm an employee for personal reasons. It is a type of psychological abuse which causes the victim to feel harassed and uncomfortable, and often results in health problems such as stress, inability to concentrate, depression, anxiety, etc.
Who are the participants in mobbing?
- The victim is the person who for personal, social, or professional reasons becomes the target of the attack.
- Abusers may be aggressive, irritable, and impulsive, lack self-control and empathy, and have violent and threatening tendencies.
- The onlookers are harder to define. They are the co-conspirators who enable the abusers by failing to report the situation to the authorities. They may openly participate in the abuse or simply not do anything, reinforcing the behavior of the abuser by their passivity.
What are the consequences of mobbing?
Workplace harassment is a serious problem which not only affects the victims, but also their families, friends, co-workers, company, and society as a whole because of the high cost of intervention.
Psychological damage: Mobbing can cause the victim to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional problems, depression, and anxiety.
Depression: Workplace harassment can cause loss of self-esteem, low self-image, and feelings of guilt. Over time, it can result in severe depression.
Anxiety: Victims of mobbing can develop generalized anxiety disorder, which is characterized by fear and avoidance behaviors, and can, in extreme cases, lead to suicide.
Physical problems: Continual, systematic harassment causes severe physical problems (gastrointestinal complaints, sleep disorders, nervous complaints…)
Family problems: Workplace harassment can cause problems with your partner and have a negative impact on the psychological development of children.
Social issues: Victims of mobbing may develop socialization problems which can lead to isolation and aggression.
Work problems: Besides losing a job or having to leave a position because of workplace harassment, many mobbing victims find it difficult to return to the workforce.
- Consequences for companies: A company may face many losses due to harassment (lower profits, negative work environment, damaged public image).
Measures that can be taken to prevent and combat workplace harassment:
- Provide information about harassment in the workplace through guidebooks and workshops.
- Provide programs for employees to learn about workplace harassment.
- Develop procedures for reporting workplace harassment.
- Enforce clearly defined consequences for those responsible for harassment.
If you believe you are being harassed at your place of work, you need to talk to a lawyer about protecting your rights. Grupo MedLegal offers you the advice you need, in addition to medical support, if you are facing workplace harassment.
This Blog is made available by Grupo MedLegal for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or medical advice. The information provided on the Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal or medical advice from a licensed professional.