Harassment and Violence in the Workplace – Negative Behaviours Matrix

Harassment and Violence in the Workplace – Negative Behaviours Continuum infographic
Harassment and Violence in the Workplace Negative Behaviours Matrix

Note: This table provides examples of inappropriate behaviours and is not meant to be exhaustive. While these behaviours may be perpetrated by subordinates, peers, or superiors, behaviours listed under abuse of authority and discrimination are more likely to be perpetrated by superiors.

Psychological aggression Physical aggression Abuse of authority Online behaviour Criminal behaviourFootnote 1 DiscriminationFootnote 2
  • Making inappropriate facial gestures at someone (e.g., rolling your eyes) or laughing at someone.Footnote 3

  • Ignoring or ostracizing someone (e.g., not inviting a team member to a team lunch).

  • Being disrespectful to someone (e.g., purposefully misusing their pronouns or mispronouncing their name).

  • Coercing someone to engage in a ceremony or event (e.g., initiation rite) that demeans, belittles, or causes them personal humiliation.

  • Speaking to someone in a condescending, degrading, or abusive manner (e.g., using racial slurs).

  • Making inappropriate sexual or non-sexual comments (e.g., making fun of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation).
  • Engaging in behaviour that does not involve physical contact (e.g., banging on a table, throwing an object).

  • Standing over someone or invading their personal space.

  • Engaging in behaviour that involves physical contact (e.g., spitting at someone, pushing someone).

  • Threatening to hurt someone (e.g., “I would like to hit you right now”).

  • Threatening to damage someone’s property.

  • Making inappropriate sexual gestures (e.g., gyrating in a suggestive manner).
  • Withholding information from someone who needs it to perform their work.

  • Asking subordinates to take on personal errands.

  • Engaging in favouritism/disfavourtism.

  • Belittling someone’s work.

  • Taking advantage of a position of authority to exploit, intimidate, blackmail, threaten, or mistreat someone.

  • Misusing power or authority to interfere with or influence someone’s career.
  • Purposefully leaving someone out of group emails who should be included.

  • Cc’ing others when pointing out someone's mistakes.

  • Posting defamatory material about someone online.

  • Being hostile towards someone online through words or pictures.

  • Sharing material about someone online without consent.

  • Making online threats to someone.
  • Damaging someone’s property.

  • Engaging in voyeurism.

  • Sharing intimate photos of someone without consent.

  • Stalking someone or making death threats to someone.

  • Physical (e.g., hitting) or sexual (e.g., unwanted sexual touching) assault.

  • Hate crimes.
  • Denying someone a promotion despite their qualifications.

  • Refusing someone a reasonable accommodation.

  • Denying someone training opportunities or limiting their training opportunities.

  • Denying someone a transfer.

  • Denying someone a posting.

  • Providing someone with an unfair performance evaluation. 
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