Keely Goodall2 February 2024 | 10:47

How to deal with workplace bullying in the digital age

Workplace bullying can make your job a nightmare, and this includes digital harassment.

How to deal with workplace bullying in the digital age

Picture: @ pitinan/

Clarence Ford speaks with Labour and education expert Dr Linda Meyer

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

In almost every office environment there is some kind of office politics to navigate.

Sometimes this amounts to nothing more than harmless gossip by the coffee machine, but sometimes it crosses over to full on workplace bullying and harassment.


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When this happens, it becomes extremely complicated and can affect someone’s personal and professional life.

Meyer explains that negative actions become bullying when it is a repeated pattern of harmful behaviour towards a particular employee or by a particular employee or group.

“That includes verbal abuse, social isolation, being cut out of meetings, deliberately being cut out of emails and professional sabotage.”

- Dr Linda Meyer, Labour and education expert

In this digital age the scope of workplace bullying has expanded and can manifest in a myriad of ways.

This can involve sending provocative messages to distress the recipient, sharing private information without consent, creating fake profiles to harass and comment on someone’s social media, and more.

“People even set up fake profiles on sex sites and put their colleagues’ number there.”

- Dr Linda Meyer, Labour and education expert

“The maliciousness of the behaviour is clear.”

- Dr Linda Meyer, Labour and education expert

If this is happening to you Meyer says the first thing you should do is document every instance of the bullying and the dates and times, as the bullies will most likely deny and gaslight you.

Once you have this proof, you must formally report the bullying to human resources or your line-manager, depending on what your company’s policy is.

If your employer does not deal with this, Meyer says that you could have a case with the CCMA.

After this, you should seek support for your mental health such as from a therapist, friend, or family member.

It is important to note that there is a distinction between workplace bullying, and an employee being firmly called out for not performing adequately.