by Tom Isler | June 01, 2008

Illustration by Dave WheelerBullying, as defined by Dr. Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute (, is not mere incivility, but a “laser-focused campaign of destruction” waged by one individual against another, preventing the victim from succeeding at work and causing health problems, such as depression, along the way.

Define it. Namie says the first step for victims is to think of the abuse as serious harassment, more akin to domestic violence than playground posturing. Address your health and well-being first, and seek support from a psychologist or other professional.

Make a business case. While some bullying constitutes discrimination, many forms of bullying aren’t illegal, and consequently employers might not take action against offenders. Victims should point out to higher-ups that employing the bully costs too much in lost productivity, absenteeism and health care.

Get out. If employers are not persuaded by dispassionate pleas and the bully continues to harass, find a new job. Namie says there really aren’t other options, and the sacrifices made by staying put are too great.