What is bullying and demeaning behavior?

The UC Berkeley "Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Faculty Bullying and Other Demeaning & Disruptive Behavior" define bullying or demeaning behavior as

"a pattern of behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the University’s legitimate business or educational interests."

Such behavior may take many forms including physical, oral, or written acts or behaviors. Ordinarily, a single act or behavior will not constitute prohibited conduct unless especially severe and egregious. Examples of bullying or demeaning behavior include:

  1. Persistent or egregious use of abusive, insulting, or offensive language directed at staff, students, or other faculty

  2. Criticism or feedback that is delivered with yelling, screaming, threats, or insults

  3. Regularly teasing or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes

  4. Spreading misinformation or malicious rumors about others, orally or in writing, including via electronic means

  5. Behavior, correspondence, or language that frightens, humiliates, belittles, or degrades

  6. Making repeated inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance, habits, or interests

  7. Telling jokes or anecdotes intended to demean others or make them feel unwelcome

For more examples of behaviors that are bullying or demeaning, please see the Guidelines.