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Workplace bullying is a common but underreported crime

Workplace harassment is a growing crime in societies that arises from unethical behavior by the employer and has multiple consequences on the health and integrity of the employee. Despite occurring frequently, cases are often underreported and even underestimated. The frequency with which cases of this type occur ultimately affects the social system, as it generates psychological and emotional problems in the victims, preventing the emergence of healthy societies with happy individuals.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), verbal abuse is the most commonly reported form of workplace bullying, also known by its English acronym mobbing. Workplace bullying is defined as a phenomenon caused by the deterioration of interpersonal relationships and organizational dysfunctions in the workplace.

What is workplace harassment?

It may be associated with various factors such as gender discrimination, religion, ethnicity, age, physical condition, among others. The term mobbing  was coined by the Swedish researcher Heinz Leymann to refer to the behavior of some animal species that isolate one of their members and expel them from the community. In the workplace, it refers to systematic actions of psychological harassment aimed at degrading working conditions, affecting dignity, human and labor rights, and even generating physical and mental health problems.

workplace harassment - Heinz Leymann
The term mobbing  was coined by the Swedish researcher Heinz Leymann

However, not all conflicts arising in the work environment can be classified as harassment. To be classified in this category, they must meet the following conditions:

  • It must be a repetitive and prolonged behavior for at least six months.
  • These actions are unethical and counterproductive to the entire work environment.
  • Generally, there is a specific victim and it is not a generalized bad work environment.
  • The perpetuated situation is not the result of a reaction to an unjustified behavior of the bullied against the bully.

Workplace bullying often has multiple impacts on the victim that significantly affect their health and personal development. In this sense, they may experience reactions of anxiety, apathy, depression, insecurity, insomnia, sudden mood changes and even obvious health conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma attacks, migraines, dermatitis, hair loss, stomach ulcers, tachycardia, among others.

On some occasions this situation is also involved in situations of sexual harassment.The term "sexual favor" is defined as a request for favors of a sexual nature that compromises existing labor relations by tacitly imposing a threat from a figure of power who is in a position of power. favors the manipulation of the victim.

Despite visibly affecting the person being harassed and eventually becoming a social problemthe mobbing has been underestimated and generally underreported. To enable the justice system to do its job, it is important to inform workers and employers about this crime in order to prevent it and, if it occurs, to be able to act in time to determine the corresponding responsibilities. Likewise, each country must ensure that its inhabitants are fully aware of the legislation that can protect them in this situation.

These are some of the fundamental recommendations for workers:

  • Contact supervisors who have responsibility for the health and welfare of workers.
  • If possible, request a transfer to another work area.
  • Collect evidence.
  • Identify allies in the situation.
  • To know the legislation in force in this regard.

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