Workplace Bullying Reaching Epidemic Proportions

Tuesday January 22, 2013

By Sherri M. Gordon

I read an interesting article recently in Industry Week magazine that encouraged employers to develop a workplace bullying policy to accompany their harassment policies. Despite the fact that not a single state has a law regarding workplace bullying, it makes good business sense to address this growing issue.

In fact, workplace bullying is becoming a silent epidemic in the United States. Several surveys by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) and Zogby International found that 35% of workers experienced bullying first hand, and 62% of the bullies were men.

What's more, the WBI found that while perpetrators can be found in all ranks within organizations, the vast majority are bosses, supervisors and executives. As a result, they abuse their power, bring misery to their targets and steal their self-confidence. They also blame others for errors, make unreasonable work demands, hurl insults, steal credit, threaten job loss and discount accomplishments.

And the effects of workplace bullying are disastrous in terms of employee wellbeing and productivity. Bullying creates physical, mental and emotional health issues for the person being targeted. In its more severe forms, it triggers a host of stress-related issues including high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Because there are no laws and no clear definitions of workplace bullying, it can be hard at times to determine if a boss is bullying or not. If you believe your boss might be a bully but you're not sure, check out 8 Signs Your Boss Is a Bully. You also might find How to Spot Workplace Bullying and How to Confront Workplace Bullying useful as well.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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