Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t end in middle school. You can still find it alive and well in the workplace. It often takes the form of sexual harassment or harassment based on race, age, religion or other defining characteristics. Why does this happen, and what can we do to put an end to it?

Rough upbringings

Some experts note that bullying starts at home. A child who is abused or neglected by their parents or bullied by siblings may turn to bullying at school as an effort to mirror the behavior they see directed at them. This becomes a pattern as they grow up, which can result in them bullying their coworkers when they become an adult. This is just how they relate to people based on what they learned.

Positions in the company

There are also elements of power in play here. For children, it’s often about social standing. At work, it may be about standing within the company. Someone may feel that they’re more likely to get what they want when they bully those around them, and they can use this aggressive mindset as they try to climb the corporate ladder. It doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t stop people from trying.

Inherent biases

Inherent biases are also a part of the mix. Someone may have a deep-seated resentment for coworkers based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation — even if they don’t realize it. This bias can cause them to treat some people differently. They may be more likely to bully them than someone else whom they view as an “equal” just because they are more similar to one another.

No one deserves to be harassed or bullied. Those who are need to know what legal options they have.