Aggressive & Violent Workplace Behaviors

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says harassing conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee …
  • Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.



The ten most common forms of workplace aggression.*


  1. Talking about someone behind his/her back.
  2. Interrupting others while they are speaking or working.
  3. Flaunting status or authority; acting in a condescending manner.
  4. Belittling someone’s opinion to others.
  5. Failing to return phone calls or respond to memos.
  6. Giving others the silent treatment.
  7. Insults, yelling and shouting.
  8. Verbal forms of sexual harassment.
  9. Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact.
  10. Intentionally damning with faint praise.

* Source: Professor Joel Neuman, Center for Applied Management, State University of New York at New Paltz. Data is from samples of more than 600 employees in a variety of work settings.


Violent Workplace Behaviors

These are violent workplace behaviors according to Duncan Chappell and Vittorio Di Martino, Violence at Work, International Labour Organization (2006).

— homicide                                                    — bullying

— rape                                                            — mobbing

— robbery                                                      — victimizing

— wounding                                                    — intimidation

— battering                                                    — threats

— physical attacks                                       — ostracism

— kicking                                                       — leaving offensive messages

— biting                                                          — aggressive posturing

— punching                                                    — rude gestures

— spitting                                                       — interfering with work tools and equipment

— scratching                                                   — hostile behavior

— squeezing, pinching & related actions

— swearing                                                     — shouting

— stalking                                                      — name-calling

— harassment, including sexual &racial abuse

— innuendo                                                    — deliberate silence

(Note: You may not agree that  innuendo and the silent treatment are violent behavior  per se but I agree that they represent, at least, passive violence.  PGB)