University of Wisconsin–Madison

Hostile and Intimidating Behavior

Hostile and intimidating behavior, sometimes known by the shorthand term “bullying,” is defined in university policy as “unwelcome behavior pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would find it hostile and/or intimidating and that does not further the University’s academic or operational interests.”

Hostile and intimidating behavior (HIB) can occur in both the private and public sectors, including colleges and universities. Even individual instances of such behavior can have a significant effect on the person it’s aimed at, and can take a physical and emotional toll, reduce the effectiveness of a person’s work, and hamper the ability of individuals – and entire units – to do their work. It is a significant reason for unhealthy workplace climate and culture, and should be addressed immediately.

Hostile and intimidating behavior can occur both within and across employment sectors – faculty on faculty, faculty on staff, etc. – and power differentials, and in any university setting (the office, the lab, in the halls, at meetings; it can happen in groups or one-on-one). Regardless of when and how it happens, it must be addressed and corrected. Hostile and intimidating behavior is prohibited by university policy.

This website is a collaboration between the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Provost.

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