Harassment and Adult Bullying

What are the Differences?

Harassment and adult bullying in the workplace are not the same thing. The bullying occurs more often than people think. Some are not even aware that it occurs at all. Many people think bullying in the workplace is the same as harassment. While they are similar, there are differences between bullying and harassment. There is a fine line in many cases, but one of the major differences between bullying and harassment is that harassment is easy to stop. Whereas bullying is not.

One of the main differences between bullying and harassment is that harassment has physical components such as:

  • unwanted touching
  • intruding in personal space
  • damaging possessions.

Bullying is almost always emotional or psychological and involves verbal and written communication and actions. The subtle nature of workplace bullying makes it harder to stop than harassment.

What are some Other Differences Between Harassment and Adult Bullying

Another one of the differences between bullying and harassment is that adult bullies will target anyone, even popular successful people. Adult bullies will target people they perceive as a better than tem at their job not people who are a minority or weaker than themselves.  Harassment, however, usually singles out people who are different based on racial, gender, and other differences. Occasional harassment of these minorities is identified and even expected, but bullying of people who do not have these differences is harder to identify. Harassment is based on discrimination. One of the differences between bullying and harassment is that bullying is based on jealousy or insecurity.

Only one instance of harassment is needed to identify it as harassment. The differences between bullying and harassment are that bullying is an ongoing problem. Harassment can happen repeatedly but it does not have to. Bullying always occurs more than once and many time very frequently. Harassment it also obvious and involves things that companies make very clear.

Bullying Can Be Subtle

Bullying can be much more subtle and the victim may not even realize they are being bullied until after it has been occurring regularly. The differences between bullying and harassment are that harassment victims are recognized and sympathized with. On the other hand, bullying victims are often not recognized or dealt with in the appropriate manner.

Another one of the differences between bullying and harassment is that harassment is often done in the open and to boost the image of the person doing the harassment. Or prove to their peers that they are macho. These motives behind harassment are different than the motives behind bullying. Bullying usually occurs in private and is not publicly admitted. A workplace bully does not want others to know what they are doing. In fact, they will deny that anything is going on at all. Adult bullies just want to damage their target enough so that they are not a threat anymore.

Where Does Harassment and Adult Bullying Happen?

Harassment can take place both inside and outside of work while bullying occurs mostly in the workplace. Harassers often take pleasure in targeting others, while bullies do it to hide their own insecurities and to eliminate the threat they perceive in other people. There are many differences between bullying and harassment, which must be identified in order to differentiate between both types of injustices.

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