In Brands, Exclusives

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and it’s time to address bullying that happens in the beauty industry. While external messaging may be all about inclusion and wellness, what happens behind the scenes is sometimes anything but inclusive or healthy. Anonymous whistleblower Estée Laundry got a jump on the topic, sparking debate in a recent social media post from an anonymous follower calling for people to share their experiences of bullying in the beauty industry.

“As soon as we posted it, we started getting flooded with DMs from people around the globe sharing their stories on bullying,” an Estée Laundry member told Cosmetics Business.

Very often bullying is carried out not only by management but also by co-workers; however, in almost all cases it is a form of power struggle. Brands that were called out numerous times on the feed included Coty Inc, Estée Lauder Companies, L’Oréal, Charlotte Tilbury, Rodial, Tata Harper, Caudalie, Birchbox, RMS Beauty, Lush, Colourpop Cosmetics, Briogeo, and Tarte Cosmetics.

Some numbers from the Workplace Bullying Institute Survey:

  • Regardless of the gender of the bully (male 70% and female 30%), the majority of those bullied in the workplace are women.
  • Most bullying happens by those in power: bosses (61%), coworkers (33%), and the least, from the bottom up (6%).
  • Employers’ response: do nothing (25%), do “sham” investigation (46%), help the target (23%), punish predator (6%).

“Body shaming, racism, and homophobia seem to be common,” explains Estée Laundry. “So many people have told us that they’ve suffered extreme anxiety and depression as a result of constant workplace harassment. Some of them have permanently left the beauty industry.”

Bullying comes in many forms, but often it is systemic; if the behavior occurs with the founder or is allowed to happen in management, it infects the entire organization. While brands with bullying cultures surfaced in the Estée Laundry feed, we would like to highlight brands in the industry where bullying is not tolerated.

Send us your beauty industry healthy workplace stories to info@beautymatter.com

Photo: Robert Baker via Unsplash

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