Power harassment in the workplace, also known as “mobbing”, is a form of workplace harassment that occurs when an individual or group of individuals are targeted by a person or group of people in positions of power or authority. This type of harassment can take many forms and can have severe consequences for both the individuals targeted and the overall work environment. In this blog post, we will discuss what constitutes power harassment, the forms it can take, the impact it can have, and steps that can be taken to prevent and address it.
What is Power Harassment?
Power harassment is a type of workplace harassment that occurs when a person or group of people in positions of power or authority target an individual or group of individuals. Power harassment can take many forms, such as verbal abuse, physical assault, or other conduct that creates a hostile or intimidating work environment.
Forms of Power Harassment
Power harassment can take many forms and can range from verbal abuse to physical assault. Some examples of power harassment include:
- Verbal abuse, such as making derogatory or belittling comments
- Intimidation, such as making threatening gestures or using a raised voice
- Isolation, such as preventing an individual from participating in work-related activities
- False accusations, such as accusing an individual of wrongdoing without evidence
- Public humiliation, such as belittling an individual in front of others
- Physical assault or battery
- Retaliation, such as firing or demoting an employee who has complained about power harassment
- Power harassment can also occur in the form of subtle manipulation and use of authority, like forcing someone to do things they are not comfortable with or creating a threatening or hostile environment.
Impact of Power Harassment
The impact of power harassment can be severe and long-lasting. Individuals who are subjected to power harassment may suffer physical injuries, as well as emotional and psychological trauma. This can result in decreased job performance, increased absenteeism, and in some cases, the individual may leave their job or be terminated. Power harassment can also create a toxic work environment for everyone, including those who may not be directly targeted but who witness the behaviour.
Preventing and Addressing Power Harassment
It is crucial for employers to take steps to prevent power harassment from occurring in the workplace. This can include creating and enforcing policies that prohibit power harassment, providing training to employees on what constitutes power harassment and how to report it, and taking swift and appropriate action when power harassment is reported.
Employees who feel they have been subjected to power harassment have several options for seeking help and acting. They can report the behaviour to their employer, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or consult with an attorney.
In conclusion, power harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that can have significant negative impacts on both individuals and the work environment. Employers have a responsibility to prevent and address power harassment, and employees who feel they have been subjected to power harassment have options for seeking help and acting. It is important for everyone in the workplace to be aware of what constitutes power harassment, and to take steps to create a culture of respect and inclusion in the workplace.
If you are looking for a way to educate your workforce and make your workplace a safer place, contact Sentrient for a free demo today.