Difference Between Bullying and Harassment

Bullying vs Harassment

Bullying and harassment are problem behaviors often encountered by people in public places such as schools, workplace, and surprisingly even in shopping malls. Many take them to be one and the same whereas despite being similar, there are many differences between bullying and harassment. Bullying is most commonly seen among children where some kids tend to show aggressive behavior against other kids which cannot be termed as normal. This behavior is termed as offensive, cruel and intimidating by psychologists. Harassment on the other hand is an extension of this bullying at the level of adults and is often seen in workplace.

Have you ever noticed how a group of kids in school try to bully weaker students even hurting them physically? They may throw bags, copies, water bottles and think of imaginative ways to cause trouble for victims, trying to have fun at the expense of misery of weaker students. Harassment on the other hand can take place in a more subtle way at workplace or at other public places. There are instances when people are quietly waiting for their turn to get their items invoiced and someone barges in from side and tries to get his purchase invoiced first? You are hurt and insulted but cannot speak up as the person or group that indulges in harassment is more powerful than you.

Bullying is a relationship issue, while harassment is a human rights issue. Harassment takes place as one or more people form a group and try to discriminate on the basis of age, sex, and race, color of skin, religion or disability. Harassment is dealt under human rights violation in many countries.

Adult harassment is more common at workplace than many people think. Bullying also goes on at workplaces but the major difference between bullying and harassment is that while harassment can be terminated, it is not easy to put an end to bullying. The nature of workplace is such that bullying goes on without other getting to know about it.

Bullying takes place when those who indulge in bullying perceive some people as better than them. On the other hand, one who harasses singles out people who are more dissimilar than others either on the basis of skin color, race or gender.

The best way to differentiate between bullying and harassment is to remember that harassment is based upon discrimination while bullying results from jealousy and insecurity. Another thing to remember is that bullying is an ongoing problem while harassment takes place only occasionally. Bullies indulge in these acts to overcome their own feelings of insecurity while harassers derive vicarious pleasure out of targeting people.

In brief:

• Bullying and harassment are problem behaviors often encountered at workplace.

• Bullying results from insecurity while harassment results from perceived differences based upon skin, gender, race or religion

• Harassment is punishable under law while bullying often goes on unabated