The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) and European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) have produced Guidelines to Shipping Companies on Equality of Opportunity and Diversity in the European Shipping Industry. These guidelines describe bullying as:
'A threatening or intimidating work environment in which a group of people or an individual may become fearful or intimidated because of the negative or hostile behaviour of another group of people or individual.'
Bullying often involves a misuse of power or position and is often persistent and unpredictable. It may be vindictive, cruel or malicious, but sometimes the people displaying bullying behaviour do not fully realise the effect their actions are having on others.