Mobbing - what is it and how can you recognize it?


For several years, mobbing has been more and more often discussed. You can hear about it in the media on the occasion of political or business scandals, you can often read about them in the literature on people management, but also in the labor code and literature on employee rights. Although almost all of us know the concept of mobbing, not all of us are able to clearly define what it means.

Mobbing - definition

The Labor Code defines the introduction of mobbing deficiencies, it is included in Art. 943 § 2.

Art. 943, § 2
Mobbing means actions or behaviors concerning an employee or directed against an employee, consisting in persistent and long-term harassment or intimidation of an employee, causing him to underestimate his professional suitability, causing or aimed at humiliating or ridiculing the employee, isolating him or eliminating him from the team of colleagues.

In other words, mobbing is deliberate, persistent psychological harassment of an employee verbally or non-verbally by a supervisor or a co-worker, or even a larger number of people or the entire organization (persons managing it). As a consequence of such behavior, the employee is in a bad mental state manifested by lowered self-esteem, a sense of isolation, and even anxiety states.

Is it mobbing?

It is extremely important that in order to consider a specific person a victim of mobbing, all factors must occur simultaneously, that is:

  • the actions or behavior concern the employee or are directed against him,
  • the actions or behaviors are prolonged and persistent,
  • the actions or behaviors consist of harassment or intimidation;
  • the purpose of the impact is to humiliate or ridicule the employee, isolate him from colleagues or eliminate him from the team;
  • As a result of the activities carried out, the employee has an underestimated professional suitability, as well as a sense of humiliation or ridicule, or isolating or eliminating him from the team of colleagues

Mobbing - types of activities

Mobbing can take many forms. Any undesirable effects may have different effects on different aspects of working life. The classification of these activities includes:

  • activities adversely affecting the communication process,
  • activities that have a negative impact on inter-employee relations,
  • activities that have a negative impact on the employee's perception in the work environment,
  • activities adversely affecting the professional position of the employee,
  • activities that have a detrimental effect on the health of the employee.

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Mobbing and the rights of the victim

If an employee feels that he or she is a victim of mobbing in the workplace, he or she should counteract it as soon as possible. The first step is to notify the supervisor of this fact. In a situation where the mobber (mobbing person) is the victim's supervisor, we should ask the senior management or the HR department for help, if we know that we will receive the expected support. From a legal point of view, a victim of mobbing can expect measurable compensation for the harm suffered. The aggrieved party may apply for compensation for damage to mental or physical health - the court, based on the opinion of an expert doctor, determines the amount of compensation. The second possible benefit is compensation for losses incurred as a result of dismissal from work by mobbing. However, before the aggrieved party starts seeking redress for the harm suffered, he must prove to the court that mobbing has actually taken place.

Mobbing - how to prove that you have fallen victim to it?

It is up to the court to decide whether mobbing actually took place. Unfortunately, matters related to mobbing at work are not easy. First, it is usually dealt with for a long time. They require the determination of many circumstances, checking various evidence and questioning many witnesses - most often the victim's associates. Secondly, it should be remembered that, unfortunately, it is the victim's responsibility to prove that the accused actually committed mobbing. It is very difficult for the victim, because as a result of being subjected to mobbing, he is usually an intimidated person who does not believe in his own strength. Additionally, everyday functioning in a professional environment, which is sometimes also negative towards the victim, can be particularly difficult and mentally burdensome.

Mobbing - counteracting is the responsibility of the employer

The Labor Code in art. 943 § 1 indicates that the employer is obliged to counteract mobbing. This means that employers are obliged by law to take all actions aimed at preventing mobbing and to take the necessary actions in the situation that has arisen. The activities preventing mobbing in the workplace include anti-mobbing internal law of the organization, methods of personnel management and creating appropriate ethics and organizational culture of the company.