What Is Workplace Bullying/Abusive Conduct?

State legislation (Assembly Bill 2053) defines abusive conduct as:

Conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.

University of California Guidance including President Napolitano's letter to the Chancellors and the Abusive Conduct Working Group's Report

Click HERE for specific examples of bullying behavior.

Workplace bullying does not include reasonable management action taken to direct and control how work is done, to monitor workflow and give feedback on workplace performance. The exercise of legitimate authority, administered in a professional and constructive manner, cannot be classified as bullying.  A “demanding” supervisor who sets high standards and provides the resources needed to meet them is not a bully.

Who Bullies?
Workplace bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power. However, many bullying situations involve employees bullying their peers. In some cases, subordinates may bully “up.” An individual may bully one or more other employees. A group may also bully an individual.

See: How workplace bullying differs from performance management, harassment/discrimination, and retaliation