By Deanna Arnold
Workplace bullying is something that hasn’t really been talked about
or made "public" until recently with the allegations of bullying within
the NFL. However, even though it doesn’t get talked about, doesn’t mean
it doesn’t happen.
The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines workplace bullying as
"repeated mistreatment; sabotage by others that prevent work from
getting done, verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation and
The majority of bullies are in management roles, which makes it more
difficult for the victims to feel like they can take action without fear
of losing their jobs. Unfortunately, that is what ultimately happens
in most bullying situations anyway. The victim either quits or they are
pushed out and terminated through the bully.
In 2010, the WBI conducted a survey and found that 35% of adults working
in the U.S. say they have been or currently are being bullied at work.
That is an estimated 54 million workers effected directly by workplace
bullying. That doesn’t account for the 15% that say they have witnessed
workplace bullying and were indirectly affected by what the
experience. When you total that up, that is half of the American
workforce that are going to jobs everyday to try and make a living for
themselves and their families but are subject to mistreatment and
intimidation causing them stress, physical and psychological issues.
So, what can an employer do about workplace bullying? Currently,
workplace bullying isn’t illegal but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that employers create a culture of
respect and fair treatment of all employees in the workplace as well as
have a Workplace Bullying policy that is communicated and enforced
consistently. It is important to not only listen to employees, but also
be aware of the behaviors in the workplace including turnover rates,
lower productivity, etc. Most victims of bullying won’t talk about being
bullied or report to their employer, so it is up to the employer to be
Additional information on the survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute can be found on their website at www.workplacebullying.org.
Deanna Arnold, PHR, is the president and owner of Cornelius,
N.C.-based Employers Advantage LLC, which provides practical and sound
solutions to meet the needs of your business in all aspects of human
resources, including but not limited to, recruiting, benefits, employee
relations, compliance, performance management, HRIS, workers
compensation, safety, facilities/office management, and budgeting. She
can be reached by emailing [email protected] or calling 980-422-7953. www.employersadvantagellc.com