harassment is such a widespread phenomenon that many European countries
are now devising legal provisions to deal with it. Psychological harassment
at work is defined as repeated actions carried out by an employer
or any person representing the employer with the aim of demeaning
the employee and forcing him/her to work in humiliating conditions.
Its success is tied to the fact that professional life and private
life are closely linked, since one's job is often determined by socio-cultural
factors and personal background.
type of harassment, which aims to destroy a person's emotional balance
in order to satisfy economic or power goals, targets a person's bodily
presence at work. The harassed employee's movements and gestures become
subject to arbitrary criticism. Contradictory orders and certain forms
of moral persecution can strongly affect an employee's perception
of reality and severely impair thought functions, making it virtually
impossible to work.
harassers have genuine harassing techniques: denial of personal contacts
(the harasser no longer speaks or looks at the person), of working
abilities (impossible tasks), punitive techniques, and isolation of
the person to prevent other members of the group from siding with
him/her. The harassed person reacts defensively, feels humiliated
and incompetent, and can develop post-traumatic stress syndrome (nightmares,
anxiety attacks, etc.)
in the new context of the labor market, individual self-defense or
collective solidarity mechanisms no longer work as they used to: due
to widespread unemployment, people selfishly defend their personal
interests and are willing to do anything not to lose their job. This
attitude can lead to situations of domination and submission between
employer and employees.
this case, moral suffering comes from a loss of self-esteem and guilt
feelings for not having defended a colleague, for instance. Shame
and guilt are overcome through a transformation of negative values
such selfishness, aggressiveness, violence, etc., into positive values.
In the professional world, cynicism is synonymous with strength of
character: it is good to dominate others; injustice and the suffering
of others are considered "necessary" and valued, and willingness
to go along with such attitudes is seen a sign of "manliness."
nothing is done to end psychological harassment, its impact on a person's
mental and physical health can be very serious. For this reason, it
represents a serious public health problem. Networks of clinical specialists
are now setting up cooperative programs with physicians and psychotherapists
to listen to victims of harassment, help them analyze their situation,
pull them out of isolation, rebuild their self-esteem, and help them
find new jobs and live a normal life.