Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

Are women actually the worst workplace bullies?

When you think of Massachusetts workplace bullying, you likely think of male workers bullying their female coworkers. But is this always the case?

Evidently not. Pocket.com recently reported that women bully other women at work. In fact, ongoing research reveals that female-on-female bullying occurs far more frequently than the male-on-female variety.

Study results

Studies show that female workplace bullies fall into the following three broad categories:

  1. Aggressive women (dubbed queen bees) who have achieved a power position within the company and use it to verbally assault their female coworkers
  2. Passive-aggressive women who continually barrage their female cohorts with comments or emails disparaging their competency and/or work ethic
  3. Indifferent women who supposedly lead such busy lives that they make sure their female coworkers get all the last-minute assignments

Bullying causes

While each female workplace bully undoubtedly has her own reasons for engaging in this type of activity, the root causes of female-on-female bullying tend to stem from the following four causes:

  1. High-echelon women in the workplace still represent a distinct minority. Therefore, they often view helping or mentoring other women as a threat to their own positions.
  2. In all likelihood, high-echelon women made numerous personal sacrifices in order to climb the corporate ladder. Therefore, they expect and demand similar personal sacrifices from their female coworkers.
  3. As a group, high-echelon women have been marginalized throughout history. Therefore, they may have internalized negativity toward women in general.
  4. To get where they have gotten, many high-echelon women have had to think of themselves and act like “one of the boys.” Therefore, they often have little empathy for female coworkers who they view as little girls attempting to “nice their way” to the top.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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