Bullying—sometimes referred to as Hostile and Intimidating Behavior—is unwanted offensive and malicious behavior which undermines an individual or group through persistently negative verbal or psychological abuse. There is typically an element of vindictiveness and the behavior is calculated to threaten, undermine, patronize, humiliate, intimidate, or demean the recipient.
Bullying is not about occasional differences of opinion, or conflicts and problems in workplace relationships, as these may be part of working life. Bullying can adversely affect dignity, health, and productivity and may be grounds for corrective disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Examples of behaviors that meet the definition of bullying above include, but are not limited to:
- Cyberbullying: using electronic devices to harass, intimidate or frighten someone
- Physical bullying: pushing, shoving or tripping a person, threatening assault, or damaging a person’s work product or personal property
- Verbal bullying: repeated slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person; shouting at others in ways that create a hostile educational or work environment
- Nonverbal bullying: directing threatening gestures toward a person or invading personal space after being asked to move away
- Anonymous bullying: withholding or disguising identity while treating a person in a malicious manner
Graduate Assistants who believe they have been subject to bullying, or who believe a staff member is engaging in bullying behavior to others, should report the behavior to their supervisors, department chairs, the dean or associate dean of their college, or the appropriate Vice Chancellor or Vice Provost. The assistant should select the reporting method that they are most comfortable with and that is most appropriate to the situation.