Bullying doesn’t just happen on the playground. It can happen at work too. Workplace bullying hurts both individuals who are bullied and the companies they work for. A Workplace Bullying Institute 2010 survey found that 35% of employees had been bullied in the workplace – more than one in three people.
What does bullying involve in the workplace?
- Verbal abuse
- Job sabotage
- Misuse of authority
- Deliberately destroying relationships
This behavior was both repeated and harmful to health. Other survey results include:
- Bullying is 4X more prevalent than illegal harassment.
- 62% of bullies are men.
- 58% of targets are women.
- Women bullies target women in 4 out of 5 cases.
Per BullyingStatistics.org, workplace bullying is when one person or group of people in a workplace single out another person for unreasonable, embarrassing, or intimidating treatment. Usually the bully is a person in a position of authority who feels threatened by the victim, but in some cases the bully is a co-worker.
Workplace bullying can take many forms:
- Shouting or swearing at an employee or otherwise verbally abusing him or her.
- One employee being singled out for unjustified criticism or blame.
- An employee being excluded from company activities or having his or her work or contributions purposefully ignored.
- Language or actions that embarrass or humiliate an employee.
- Practical jokes, especially if they occur repeatedly to the same person.
Workplace bullying can have serious negative effects on employees, such as:
- Lowered self-esteem and depression
- Digestive upsets
- High blood pressure
- Trouble with relationships due to stress over work
This impacts companies through absenteeism, low productivity and poor morale.
What You Can Do
Employees who are or have been victims of workplace bullying should realize that it is not their fault that they are being bullied. If they are suffering negative effects from the bullying they should seek help from a doctor or counselor. Organizations often have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that can provide counseling to staff.
Workplace Bullying Institute