Bullying is a major concern and can lead to long-term behavioural, emotional and physical adjustment problems (Hamburger et al., 2011). Being exposed to bullying at work is a significant source of social stress and might lead to psychiatric problems in victims (Einarsen et al., 2002). While, theoretically, every individual can become a victim, some people seem to be more likely to be targeted.
A study carried out among employees of the National Health Service came to the conclusion that the minority ethnic staff had disproportionate experiences of bullying and harassment (Bécares, 2009). Males with gender minority status are more likely to be bullied, too (Wang, 2012). Age also seems to correlate with bullying as e.g. research in Norway shows that particularly older employees feel affected by bullying (Einarsen et al., n.y.). And, people with a disability are at higher risk of being victimised (Sin et al., 2009).
In other words, being a member of a minority group increases the likelihood of being bullied. In case of intersection, i.e. the individual belongs to more than one minority group (e.g. the person is of a different ethnicity than the majority plus queer), the likelihood of being bullied might rise. For instance, if one is already being bullied for being a sexual minority, then the additional membership of an ethnic or a religious minority group increases the odds of being bullied even more. According to a study, as people move to one additional minority group membership, they are 22 times more likely to be bullied because of their sexual orientation, when they move to two additional minority groups, the likelihood increases 37-fold, and in the case of three minority groups it increases 167-fold (Rivera, 2011).
Bécares, L. (2009) Experiences of bullying and racial harassment among minority ethnic staff in the NHS. A Race Equality Foundation Briefing Paper
Einarsen, S., Hoel, H. & Nielsen, M. B. (n.y.) Workplace Bullying (via)
Einarsen, S., Mikkelsen, E. G. & Matthiesen, S. B. (2002) The psychology of bullying at work: Explaining the detrimental effects on victims (via)
Hamburger, M. E, BAsile, K. C. & Vivolo, A. M. (2011) Measuring Bullying Victimization, Perpetration, and Bystander Experiences: A Compendium of Assessment Tools. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Rivera, L. K. (2011) Bullying of sexual minorities: How does multiple minority status affect the likelihood of being victimized? Master Thesis: Kaplan University
Sin, C. H., Hedges, A., Cook, C., Mguni, N. & Comber, N. (2009) Disabled people's experiences of targeted violence and hostility. Manchester: Research Team - Equality and Human Rights Commission
Wang, M.-L. (2012) Gender Differences Are Predictors of Workplace Bullying. Conference on Arts and Humanities 2012 Conference Proceedings
(photos via and via)