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7 steps to help prevent and address workplace bullying

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in Centerpiece,Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

Bullying We all knew schoolyard bullies, and, if we were lucky, they left us alone. The less fortunate sometimes suffered devastating, long-term effects from bullying. Society has increased its focus on school bullying over the years, but new challenges have arisen as bullying has moved into cyberspace with widespread impact. We continue to strive, however, to provide children with safe, healthy environments in which they can flourish and meet their full potential.

Costs of bullying

But what about our workplaces? Sadly, research indicates many workers are targets of “workyard” bullies. A 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute survey (www.workplacebullying.org) revealed 19% of adult Americans have experienced abuse on the job; 37% (including witnesses) have been affected by workplace bullying. Most employees, 63% of workers, believe workplace bullying happens.

Workplace bullying comes with significant costs. Victims can suffer physi...(register to read more)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Leonard Nolt December 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for the article. I was the target of a workplace bully at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho from Jan, 2004 until Aug. 2006 when I was forced to leave after 30 years of employment there since I was becoming disabled by the chronic abuse. St. Alphonsus is a part of the Trinity Health Care System headquartered in Novi, Michigan. Management refused to do anything about the bully’s behavior even though she was jeopardizing patient care on a daily basis. That was bad enough, but what was even worse is that the Respiratory Care Dept. Manager refused to include the bully’s behavior as a performance problem, even after it was documented that I was being injured by the bullying and had been diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD. The diagnosis was made by professionals working for my employer, but still I was not offered any protection from additional injury, no resolution to the problem, and no offer of treatment for the injury! Apparently bullying is so bad in the Trinity Health Care System that the only choice a target has is to leave. Thanks again for helping to raise awareness of the very serious and very common problem. For more information about my experience check my blog at http://www.leonardnolt.blogspot.com under the heading “Workplace Psychological Abuse.”


steve howard November 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Great article. This article hilights the precursors to more aggressive interactions in the workplace. This problem is growing at a rapid rate and a majority of organizations are slow to respond or respond ineffectively. Hawaii is a state that is in dire need of this type of legislation along with mandated training for managers on early intervention procedures as well as stronger policies stating zero tolerance for such activity.


Maxwell Pinto November 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Targets, victims and witnesses of bullying have a few avenues to pursue (as compared with victims of sexual harassment) when subject to obvious acts of aggression, spreading malicious rumours, excluding someone socially or from certain projects, undermining or impeding a person’s work or opinions, unjustified exclusion from certain projects, removing areas of responsibility without cause, insulting a person’s habits, attitudes, or private life and intruding upon a person’s privacy. Others include being rude or belligerent, destroying property, assaulting an individual, or setting impossible deadlines. In the United States, although bullying is recognized as detrimental to occupational health, there is little political or corporate interest in stopping it.

In schoolyard bullying, the bullies are children, whose behaviour is controlled by the leaders, i.e. the school administration. In workplace bullying, however, the bullies are often the leaders themselves, i.e., the managers and supervisors. Therefore, reporting a bully to the HR dept, for example, exposes the target/victim to the risk of even more bullying, slower career advancement, or even termination, on the grounds of being a “troublemaker!”.

Workplace bullying has severe consequences, including reduced effectiveness and high employee turnover. An employee who suffers any physical or psychiatric injury as a result of workplace bullying can confront the bully, report the bully to the HR department or to the trade union, if any, or bring a claim of negligence and/or a personal injury claim against both the employer and the abusive employee as joint respondents in the claim. If the law does not persuade employers to deal with workplace bullying, the economic reality will persuade them. Training sessions can help when combined with a confidential reporting structure, but it is difficult to alter the basic nature of some individuals, who may need counselling.

For free abridged books on leadership, ethics, sexual harassment and bullying, etc., write to maxpin1@hotmail.com
Maxwell Pinto, Business Author


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