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University of Silesia in Katowice

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things to know about mobbing

What is mobbing?

Briefly, mobbing is an intense and recurring form of emotional abuse.

According to the Labour Code, mobbing indicates actions or behaviours concerning an employee or directed at an employee consisting in persistent and long-lasting harassment against or bullying an employee, evoking low esteem of professional usefulness, causing or aiming at the humiliation of an employee, isolating them, or eliminating from the co-worker team.

Its distinctive features are:

  • recurrence,
  • longevity,
  • escalation,
  • imbalance of power,
  • harm,
  • purposefulness of mobber’s actions,
  • communication issues.

Mobbing behaviour might manifest itself in various ways; these are mostly:

  1. Actions that prevent free expression, e.g. interrupting, bullying, ridiculing, criticising, or using humiliating gestures or looks.
  2. Actions that affect social connections, e.g. ignoring, forbidding contact with other employees.
  3. Actions that decrease an employee reputation, e.g. ridiculing, questioning their decisions, spreading rumours about an employee, suggesting that an employee suffers from a mental disorder.
  4. Actions that undermine a professional position, e.g. assigning too much or too little work, overburdening with duties, taking away previously assigned tasks, commissioning meaningless work.
  5. Actions that have a negative impact on physical health, e.g. assigning to health-endangering work, putting people in fear of violence.

Mobbing and discrimination

mobbing is a long-term and persistent activity can be a one-off act
does not refer to a legally protected characteristic, does not have a certain catalogue of violations qualified as mobbing the provisions on discrimination indicate that the discriminated person has a specific feature that affects their unequal treatment. However, the catalogue of these features is for reference only
a plaintiff has to prove they have been mobbed a transferred burden of proof: it is the employer who proves that no unequal treatment occurred and while differentiating the employee’s scope of rights, the employer has had different objective criteria
characterised by an offender’s deliberate actions or behaviours, intentionality motivation does not matter
mobbing occurs within the relations between members of a given organisation, e.g. employer – employee discrimination, on the other hand, may occur before employment where a future employee can be discriminated against during a job interview. Legal regulations protect a job candidate in the recruitment process to some extent

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