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People who are bullied find that they are:

from BullyOffline

  • constantly criticized and subjected to destructive criticism. Explanations and proof of achievement are ridiculed, overruled, dismissed or ignored.
  • forever subject to nit-picking and trivial fault-finding. The triviality is the giveaway.
  • undermined, especially in front of others. False concerns are raised, or doubts are expressed over a person's performance or standard of work; however, the doubts lack substantive and quantifiable evidence for they are only the bully's unreliable opinion and are for control, not performance enhancement.
  • overruled, ignored, sidelined, marginalized or ostracized.
  • isolated and excluded from what's happening. This makes people more vulnerable and easier to control and subjugate.
  • singled out and treated differently. For example everyone else can have long lunch breaks but if this person is one minute late it's a disciplinary offense.
  • belittled, degraded, demeaned, ridiculed, patronized or subject to disparaging remarks.
  • regularly the target of offensive language, personal remarks or inappropriate bad language.
  • the target of unwanted sexual behavior.
  • threatened, shouted at and humiliated, especially in front of others.
  • taunted and teased where the intention is to embarrass and humiliate.
  • set unrealistic goals and deadlines which are unachievable or which are changed without notice or reason or whenever they get near achieving them.
  • denied information or knowledge necessary for undertaking work and achieving objectives.
  • starved of resources—sometimes while others receive more than they need.
  • denied support by their manager and thus find themselves working in a management vacuum.
  • either overloaded with work (this keeps people busy with no time to tackle bullying and makes it harder to achieve targets) or have all their work taken away (which is sometimes replaced with inappropriate menial jobs such as photocopying, filing or making coffee).
  • have their responsibility increased but their authority removed.
  • have their work plagiarized, stolen and copied. The bully then presents their target's work as their own.
  • are given the silent treatment. The bully refuses to communicate and avoids eye contact (always an indicator of an abusive relationship). Often instructions are received only via email, memos or a succession of yellow stickies or post-it notes.
  • subject to excessive monitoring, supervision, micro-management, recording or snooping.
  • the subject of written complaints by other members of staff (most of whom have been coerced into fabricating allegations). The complaints are trivial, often bizarre ["He looked at me in a funny way"] and often bear striking similarity to each other suggesting a common origin.
  • forced to work long hours, often without remuneration and under threat of dismissal.
  • find requests for leave have unacceptable and unnecessary conditions attached, sometimes overturning previous approval—especially if the person has taken action to address bullying in the meantime.
  • denied annual leave, sickness leave or (especially) compassionate leave.
  • when on leave, are harassed by calls at home or on vacation, often at unsocial hours.
  • receive unpleasant or threatening calls or are harassed with intimidating memos, notes or e-mails with no verbal communication, immediately prior to weekends and holidays (e.g., 4 p.m. on Friday or Christmas Eve). Often these are hand-delivered.
  • do not have a clear job description, or have one that is exceedingly long or vague. The bully often deliberately makes the person's role unclear.
  • are invited to "informal" meetings which turn out to be disciplinary hearings.
  • are denied representation at meetings, often under threat of further disciplinary action. Sometimes the bully abuses their position of power to exclude any representative who is competent to deal with bullying.
  • encouraged to feel guilty and to believe they're always the one at fault.
  • subjected to unwarranted and unjustified verbal or written warnings.
  • facing unjustified disciplinary action on trivial, specious or false charges.
  • facing dismissal on fabricated charges or flimsy excuses, often using a trivial incident from months or years previously.
  • coerced into reluctant resignation, enforced redundancy or early or ill-health retirement.
  • denied the right to earn a livelihood including being prevented from getting another job, usually with a bad or misleading reference.

The MU Equity Office can help you figure out who you need to talk to, including counselors when appropriate. Please contact us at 573-882-9069 or equity@missouri.edu for assistance.

Published by the MU Equity Office, 401C Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211   |   PHONE 573-882-9069   |   FAX 573-884-4103   |   E-MAIL equity@missouri.edu
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Last Updated: May 23, 2011