From Wikipedia:

  • British anti-bully researchers Andrea Adams and Tim Field have used the expression "workplace bullying" instead of what Leymann called "mobbing" in a workplace context. They identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as "an emotional assault.

  • It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace."

Mobbing - USA:

  • But this is a hostile working environment!” And so it is, but it isn’t necessarily against the law. To management, it is “progressive discipline”: every act of the employee that could possibly be treated as malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance is documented and treated as cumulative. To the employee, it is unfair, demoralizing and counterproductive, but except for “hostile working environment,” employees have not had a single word like “discrimination” to express the concept. Now several writers have put a name on the concept, and have called it “mobbing.”

This specific form of harassment identified in Europe as "mobbing", is it the same in the UK and the US?

Edit: there is a hint at "mobbing" in an answer to This question on The Workplace

  • 1
    I've never heard of the term in the US. Why do you ask this question? Have you been "mobbed" and are wondering if you have a legal case against someone(s) or some company?
    – Joe Strazzere
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:18
  • I am European, and in Germany and Italy for instance the is a specific anti-mobbing legislation fit those who are victims of episodes similar to those described above. What laws in the UK or the Us would help against "mobbing" issues?
    – Josh61
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:23
  • I don't understand why after reading the two definitions you've provided in the links, how they're not fairly similar. Take a look at the article on the State of Oregon Anti-Mobbing Policy. Seems close enough to me, but I'm no lawyer.
    – JeffO
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:50
  • @Josh61 there are anti sectarian laws in both Scotland and northern Ireland
    – Pepone
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 21:17
  • Under the eyes of Canadian law, that could certainly be assault. In Ontario, discriminating someone for any reason constitutes a human rights violation as well.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


Short answer: yes and no.

I've never heard of this term before, but what you are calling "mobbing" does, in fact, sound like the dictionary definition of type 2 sexual harassment, at least if said "mobbing" is done with a sexual bent.


This type of sexual harassment occurs when a co-worker or supervisor in the workplace makes sexual advances or comments to an employee that, while not affecting promotions or the future of the employee's job, makes the working environment of the employee offensive and hostile. In general, the comments tend to affect the employee's ability to do her job.

Note that this is completely different from "type 1" or "quid pro quo" style sexual harassment, which is the kind that everyone is aware of; however, this version occurs quite often as well and is pretty well codified.

Again, that's straight-up sexual harassment, though; there are other illegal forms of harassment that deal with singling out someone because of their race or creed, for example. That being said, I am no lawyer but the simple act of ganging up on a worker is not, I don't think, in and of itself illegal. If you're being ganged up on because you're black, or because you were a whistle-blower, that's one thing, but if people are ganging up on you simply because they don't like you, well, I'm sorry but you probably don't have any recourse (please note that I am not a lawyer and that this is not a site to receive legal advice from).

More info on "mobbing":


  • So mobbing itself isn't explicitly defined, but many of its manifestations fall well within the established definition of harassment.
    – rath
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:36
  • Not, as far as I can see, in its own legalistic terms, no. Again, not a lawyer!
    – NotVonKaiser
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:46

Speaking for Australia, the behaviour that you describe is not named but would fall under the broad umbrella of bullying, the Safe Work Australia guide. The Definition is:

repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying is a workplace risk that person's conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) are required to prevent, respond and investigate under the Work Health and Safety Act(s). This is harmonised legislation that, apart from administrative matters, is the same in each state and territory and at the Commonwealth level.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .