When is exclusion a form of bullying or a one-off snub in the workplace?


Not all bosses and employees get along well. Sometimes the less said between colleagues, the better. But in any job there always comes a time when two people who work closely together, regardless of the relationship between them, need to discuss something. This is a prime example of that.

Your boss didn’t have to apologize. They didn’t need any lengthy explanations. You didn’t have to pretend you were doing better than you are and that “it was all about the numbers”. But they had to say something. At least they had to let you know just so you wouldn’t be caught off guard by the news.

It may have been an awkward conversation for both of you, but you are adults; it wouldn’t have been agony. And the discomfort of not saying anything is so much worse – certainly for you and I expect for some of your more thoughtful colleagues as well.

It’s unbelievable, but not impossible, that your boss could have become really good friends with a large number of people on your team but not you. Even if that’s exactly what happened, and your refusal to invite you doesn’t seem like the most scathing insult, her failure to mention a word of it to you, let alone who was present, is thoughtless to an almost absurd degree. The silence was so loud it must have felt like a provocation.


This, as I said, may not be an example of bullying, but unless it’s just outright spite, it seems a clear example of pathetic communication skills and poor management.

What now? It probably goes without saying, but the discussion horse has run away. If you still love parts of your job despite feeling left out, maybe you should try to clean the air. But I have the strong impression that this would be a futile endeavor.

If you have the opportunity, the desire, and the wherewithal, I would take whatever energy you might be expending worrying about the snub and put it all into finding a new job where you are valued and not extravagantly disregarded.

Send your questions to Work Therapy: jonathan@theinkbureau.com.au

https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/when-does-exclusion-become-bullying-in-the-workplace-20230208-p5ciyk.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business When is exclusion a form of bullying or a one-off snub in the workplace?

Brian Lowry

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