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13/05/09


Mobbing, Have You Heard Of It?


Do you feel harassed at work? Do your colleagues avoid you? Is your boss threatening you? Do you lose confidence? Do something, you are not alone!

“Mobbing Asbl” was created in 2001 by the trade unions LCGB and Syprolux to assist and counsel victims of harassment at the workplace. A few weeks ago, the Association published new figures that highlight a significant increase of mobbing at work. Within one year, the number of calls related to mobbing has increased by 70%.

What exactly is meant by “mobbing”?

The word is derived from the verb “to mob” which means “to assault, to torment”. In the 1980s, Swedish psychosociologist Heinz Leymann defined mobbing as “a conflictual relationship in the workplace, just as well between colleagues as between superiors and subordinates. The harassed person, the victim, is assaulted repeatedly over a period of six months at least, with the aim to exclude him/her.”

Harassment can thus express itself in many ways … Colleagues might disclose false information on you; the documents you create might be systematically reworked because no-one trusts your intellectual abilities; you are not given important information or are not invited to meetings …

Who are the victims of mobbing?

The victims are usually those who differ from others by their asserting personality or originality which generate jealousy or fear.

According to Mobbing Asbl, two thirds of victims are women and are aged 40 or more. 63% of people who contact the Association are Luxembourgers, 14% are Frenchmen, 8% are Portuguese, 6% are Germans and 4% are Belgians. Trade is the sector with most victims, but for the last months the health and welfare sector has been catching up with the trade sector.

What are the effects of mobbing?

When someone becomes fully aware that s/he is a victim of harassment, the mood at the workplace deteriorates rapidly. Carelessness of work, irritability and a feeling of forever being put down are the direct consequences. Harassment can lead to depression and even suicide …

Another consequence is absenteeism. Mobbing Asbl points out that it is rising. More than half of the victims who contact the Association for the first time are on sick leave.

What are the solutions?

Mobbing Asbl advocates sending a letter by registered mail to the person who harasses you, by listing all the elements you have evidence of. The most radical solution is to sue the harasser.

Website: www.mobbing.lu


Sophie Sellier
English version: Robert Mouris



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