In the 1990s, sexual harassment was the most common form of abuse of power. Today workplace harassment, better known as MOBBING, is the most disguised and sophisticated form of torture at the workplace. Mobbing -a variation of bullying- is any abusive behavior (gesture, word, behavior, or attitude) that attends to its repetition or systematization, against the dignity or physical or psychological integrity of a person, endangering his/her employment or degrading his/her labor environment.
Moral harassment at work, are repeated actions, clearly negative, that are directed against employees in an offensive manner and that can lead to their marginalization. The term mobbing -which comes from the English verb to mob which, at the same time, is translated as attacking, mistreating, or besieging- was introduced in the 1980s by the German psychologist Heinz Leymann to describe the severe forms of harassment in companies by coordinators and subordinates.
Mobbing is a corporate version of emotional terrorism, characterized by a series of hostile actions that, taken in isolation, could be harmless but whose constant repetition has devastating effects on an employee. The victim is subjected to a continuous and deliberate verbal and behavioral abuse, directly or indirectly, by a colleague or in rare cases a group of colleagues who behave cruelly with the premeditated intention of achieving their psychological annihilation and as a consequence, obtain its outing of the company through different unhealthy procedures.
Experts have described some 45 different ways of exercising harassment. The first manifestation of harassment is to make the victim a target of fierce and unjustified criticism of his/her work, his/her appearance, or his/her ideas. Mobbing causes enormous suffering in people and reduces the potential competitiveness of companies.
How to survive psychological harassment at work
The public perception of the victim is skillfully manipulated by the person or group doing harassment, in such a way that the victim tends to be blamed for what happens to him or her. When exerting extreme psychological violence, the reputation of the victim is attacked, disturbing the proper execution of his/her work and as a result in most cases, that person ends up voluntarily abandoning the job or requesting a transfer because he/she cannot take it anymore.
But what is hidden behind this moral harassment?
The incisive behavior of the perpetrator is usually motivated by jealousy and envy, fierce competition for a promotion, fear of losing their own job, or even by the simple fact of being a new employee.
Generally, those who are harassed tend to become defensive, generating new attacks by a punisher. Over time, the conflict gets worse and the aggressor manages to deconcentrate, confuse, and even mistake his victim, who ends up behaving in a pathological way.
Types of mobbing
Moral harassment in the workplace can manifest itself in 2 senses: horizontal, among colleagues, and vertical, in a descendant way, from a boss to a subordinate or groups of these with respect to the boss. The most frequent cases are those that manifest from a superior to a subordinate.
Usually, the boss makes an abusive, disproportionate and perverse use of his power. The objective is usually to reduce the social influence of a subordinate in their environment or force them to leave their work voluntarily.
Who can appeal when the harasser is the highest authority?
Probably nobody… First, because nobody has the power to admonish the boss; second, because no one will find it his/her business to meddle in such a delicate matter; and third, because of the difficulties involved in judging with impartiality such a subtle and little evident matter, since the evidence is not always visible.
The less frequent cases are harassment of subordinates to a boss. In these situations, it is common for the boss being a former colleague who has been promoted without consulting the team; being from another nationality; or changing the model of direction so that the team feels handicapped.
Techniques and consequences
A typical stalker, in order to minimize the resistance of his/her company, launches attacks in private or before silent witnesses. He/she even tries to minimize the critical sense until the person is unable to analyze who is right and who is not. Confusion is such that the victim cannot determine what is happening, and it seems impossible for anyone to act in those terms.
The support of family and friends can help overcome the trance. But remember that there is always more than one option; filing a lawsuit; finding another job, resisting, or dealing with the situation. After all, the decision is yours; nobody will decide for you!