The Importance of Squashing Bullying at Your Workplace – and How to Do It

Rachel Nauen

What does your workplace and high school hallways have in common? Bullying. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, roughly three in 10 workers (29 percent) report feeling bullied at work. This rate is higher in LGBT workers (40 percent), younger workers ages 18-24 (39 percent) and women (32 percent).

It’s not always easy to identify bullies
Bullying can come in many forms - among the most common examples of bullying given by workers were:

-              Falsely accused of mistakes you didn’t make (45 percent)

-              Being ignored (i.e., comments were dismissed or not acknowledged) (42 percent)

-              Constantly criticized by boss or co-workers (37 percent)

-              Used different standards/policies for you than other workers (34 percent)

-              You were gossiped about (36 percent)

-              Belittling comments were made about your work during meetings (28 percent)

-              Someone didn’t perform certain duties, which negatively impacted your work (29 percent)

-              Yelled at by boss in front of other co-workers (26 percent)

-              Purposely excluded from projects or meetings (20 percent)


Consequences of Bullying
Working in a harmful environment can be a major detriment to a worker’s health, and can even have real costs to a business like lower productivity, lower employee morale and higher absenteeism.

While these groups aren’t mutually exclusive, 12 percent of women have called in sick because of feeling bullied, compared to 8 percent of men. Forty-one percent of LGBT workers have left a job because they have felt bullied, compared to 27 percent of women and 20 percent of men. Nineteen percent of women have suffered from health-related problems as a result of being bullied at work, compared to 12 percent of men.

And it’s not just entry-level workers reporting these effects. Directors and managers are more likely than any other job level to leave a job because of bullying (29 percent).

How to keep bullying out of your workplace
Employers can minimize bullying by being on the lookout for all types of bullying, creating sensitivity training for teams, and taking a proactive approach to confronting bullies and counseling their victims. Employers have a responsibility to create a safe working environment for all employees, and ones that do will find they have a happier, more productive and engaged workforce.

For more information, check out this five-step plan on how to stop workplace bullying.

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