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‘Bullying is discrimination but bullying does not discriminate’.               Christine Pratt. 2005.


A person who hurts, persecutes or intimidates weaker people.  Collins English Dictionary 

Insecurity and lack of confidence may cause the bully to desire to control the individual, using aggressive, physical and psychological strategies.  The late Tim Field, Author of Bully in Sight 

Bullying is discrimination but it does not discriminate“.  What do we mean exactly?  Well, any form of bullying is ‘less favourable treatment’ and therefore discrimination in our view.  Bullying is discriminative by nature!  It does not have to be racist or sexist or fall under one of the reasons covered by discrimination laws.  We are all potential targets – so it does not discriminate in terms of who becomes a target!    Simply, bullying does not discriminate.

Bullying is Abuse of Power.  It is unwelcome attention that is so persistent and controlling in manner that it causes immense distress, often leading to stress that affects one’s ability to think clearly and function normally.   The Bully is often charming and persuasive and may even be the ambassador for the Employer in some way.  A bully may also be weak and feel insecure or threatened by those they bully.  Bullies can be manipulative and persuasive.  Often, a bully is oblivious of the affect his/her behaviour is having on their targets and, when challenged, they convince themselves, and others, that they are ‘not the problem’.   HR& Diversity Management Limited.


Typically, bullying is described as ‘abuse of power’.  It is a deliberate intention to undermine, ridicule, exclude, isolate, humiliate, belittle and embarrass.    Here are some other definitions which are provided by Christine Pratt  from The National Bullying Helpline, from Bullyonline and Tim Field’s book; Bully In Sight

  • constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of a trivial nature – the triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication
  • simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognise your existence and value
  • constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential
  • where you are in a group (eg at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance, everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong – however trivial – action is taken against you
  • being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what’s going on, marginalized, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out, sent to Coventry
  • being belittled, demeaned and patronised, especially in front of others
  • being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others
  • being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (filing, photocopying, minute taking) or with no work at all
  • finding that your work – and the credit for it – is stolen and plagiarised
  • having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away
  • having annual leave, sickness leave, and – especially – compassionate leave refused
  • being denied training necessary for you to fulfil your duties
  • having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them
  • ditto deadlines which are changed at short notice – or no notice – and without you being informed until it’s too late
  • finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented
  • being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation
  • being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own, constructive dismissal, early or ill-health retirement, etc


 If any of the above is familiar to you and you would like some practical advice, do not hesitate to contact us.

HR & Diversity Management Limited

Tel: 07734 701221 or Email: