The targets of workplace bullies may share some common traits. These can include such things as their conduct and their appearance. The Workplace Bullying Institue reports that 60.3 million workers in America have been the victims of workplace bullying. Some types of bullying at work may form the basis for a legal claim. The employment attorneys at Swartz Swidler can advise victims about whether they might have valid legal claims.
People who are smart and competent
It is common for workplace bullies to target people who they view as threats. They may target people who are competent at their jobs and smart. Bullies might believe that the victims’ skill makes their own inadequacies more apparent. The bullies may resort to sabotage or spreading lies in an effort to bully the workers who are more competent.
Bullies may also target workers who seem to be vulnerable. People who target vulnerable people do so to feel a sense of power. Vulnerable workers are less likely to report the behavior or to retaliate. Bullies may also target new employees who have not established supportive co-worker relationships yet. Others who may be targeted include disabled employees, older employees, and inexperienced employees.
Employees who are social and caring
Some bullies target workers who are social and caring. Bullies may target these types of workers because of a jealousy of their support networks and strong friendships within the workplace.
Employees who are ethical
Employees who are highly ethical and fair are sometimes targeted by workplace bullies. Bullies may target them when the bullies lack these traits or if the traits conflict with the bullies’ own traits.
Women are likelier to be bullied at work than men. One study showed that 65 percent of the victims of workplace bullying were women, and men made up 70 percent of the bullies. Women who are bullies also predominantly target other women at work. Female bullies target other women 67 percent of the time.
Racial minorities are likelier to be targeted by bullies than are workers who are not minority members. Hispanic workers are targeted the most frequently at 26 percent. African-Americans are targeted 21 percent of the time, and Asian workers account for 7 percent of the cases.
Bullying victims may also have an appearance that differentiates them from others. For example, they may be tall, short, overweight, have a prominent facial feature, or have a scar. Bullies target people who look different simply to ridicule them.
To end the bullying at your work, it is important for you to speak up. You should start by confronting the bully and telling him or her to stop. If the bully doesn’t change his or her behavior, go to a supervisor and report what is happening. You should log every bullying incident that occurs with the date and time, what occurred, who the bully was, and the witnesses who saw or heard what happened.
If you think that the bullying is based on your protected status, you might benefit by consulting with an employment attorney at Swartz Swidler. Call us today to schedule a free case analysis.