Workplace harassment. Mobbing phenomenon

AuthorMarius Ezer/Oana Florentina Ezer
Assistant professor Marius EZER
PhD student Oana Florentina EZER
Moral hara ssment at the workplace has become in the last period a very often met phenomenon that
severely affects the work relations and repr esents a significant health a nd safety danger. This problem has become in
the la st period a n important issue for the European Union which has initiated a series of studie for analy zing the
consequences of this pehenomenon on the normal process of the work r elations, tha t has lead, in its turn to an
awareness of this new dimenion of harassment between the employees at the internal level.
Key words: hara ssment, working rela tions, mobbing, liability
JEL Classification: K31
At the international level, there is no universally embraced definition of moral harassment
in the workplace. Moral harassment at the workplace may be defined as a n irrational repeated
behaviour towards an employee or group of employees, which represents a health and security
. Within this definition, „irrational behaviour” is to be intended as a behaviour that a rational
person, taking into account all the circumstances, considers that it victimizes, humiliates,
disaccredits or threatens; t he term „behaviour” comprises both individual or group actions. A
work system may be used as a mean of victimization, humiliation, disaccreditation or threat; the
phrase „health and security risk” refers to the risk of affecting the physical or mental health o f an
employee. Moral harassment in the workplace may imply bad performance of duties or abuse of
office, against which the persons in question may encounter difficulties in defending themselves.
Moral harassment may imply both verbal and physical aggressions, as well as more subtle
actions, such as the disaccreditat ion of a work colleague’s activity or his/her social isolation. Any
person in any enterprise may be the victim of moral harassment. According to the results of an
inquiry at the European Union level
, of the employees within the EU, respectively 12 million of
people, have declared that they have been subject to moral harassment in the workplace, for a
period of 12 months, during the year 2000. There are, though, some big differences among the
EU member states, regarding the incidence of this phenomenon. It is possible that these
differences may not be exclusively due to the incidence, but also to the cultural differences
among the states regarding the attention paid to this phenomenon, as well as to its registration and
communication. The cases of moral harassment are more frequent in the fields of activity with
high demands and a low level of activity self-control, which lead to high levels of anxiety.
There are two types of moral harassment:
1) harassment as a consequence of an interpersonal conflict that has aggravated;
2) the case in which the victim has not been involved in the conflict, but accidentally finds
himself in a situation in which he becomes the object of aggression performed by the author of
the harassment. A person’s turning into a „scapegoat” is an example of this type of moral
Marius Ezer, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Law Department,
Oana Florentina Ezer, „Nicolae Titulescu” University, Bucharest,
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Sheet no. 23, published on the site
The third European inquiry into work conditions 2000, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working
Conditions, Luxembourg 2001.

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