Harassment and Bullying

Harassment and Bullying

Did you know? Harassment and bullying happens at schools and offices, effecting students and employees alike.

Workplace and school bullying continues to rise. Recent studies reveal that nearly half of all American workers have been affected by bullying in the workplace. That means that an estimated 54 million Americans have been bullied at some point their career. Did you know that bullying can occur between a boss and employee or between co-workers.

Facts and Figures About Bullying

  • It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
  • 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
  • 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
  • Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
  • Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.

Types Of Bulling and Harassment

Bullying usually includes the following types of behavior (have any of these ever happened to you or someone you know?):

Verbal: Includes name calling, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, inappropriate remarks, teasing, sexually suggestive language and offensive remarks.

Physical: Includes hitting, kicking, punching, scratching, spitting and damage to someone else’s belongings.

Indirect: Includes gossip and rumor spreading and exclusion from social groups.

Cyber Bullying: This newest form of bullying includes any type of bullying that is carried out by electronically such as text message bullying, E-mail and chat room bullying.

Workplace Bullying On The Rise

What is workplace bullying? According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal and physical abuse.
  • Offensive conduct and behaviors which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating.
  • Work interference and sabotage which prevents work from getting done.

Workplace bullying continues to rise and has a serious negative impact on employees and companies. Bullying in the workplace is just as common as school yard bullying but often goes overlooked or ignored, leading to detrimental consequences. Everyone in a company benefits from recognizing, understanding and addressing workplace bullying.

Workplace bullying happens when one person in an office (or a group of people) single out another person for repeated treatment which is unreasonable, embarrassing, or intimidating.

It is estimated that 1/3 of all workers may be the victims of workplace bullying at some time in their career, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. About 20% of workplace bullying cases cross the line into harassment, leading to serious problems for companies and their Human Resource and management departments.

Workplace Bullying Is Bad For Business

Here are just a few of the ways companies suffer due to bullying on the job:

High Turnover Rates: It is expensive for companies to lose workers due to harassment because of the time and resources companies invest into hiring and training new employees.

Low Productivity: Bullying at work causes employees to lose motivation and dedication, leads to disengagement and leads to more sick time due to stress-related illnesses and employee avoidance.

Lost Innovations: Bullies are more interested in attacking victims than advancing the company through hard work and dedication, leading to loss of innovation and quality, and the victims become less likely to generate or share their ideas for fear of ridicule and attack.

Difficulty Hiring: As rumors spread that a company has a hostile work environment, Human Resource managers have a harder time recruiting and retaining quality talent.

Legal Exposure: Many bullying situations may become harassment cases, placing companies in legal, compliance and discrimination situations.

Caring, Social and Collaborative Targets 

Studies reveal that women are more frequently bullied than men and that team members with pro-social orientation traits such as collaboration, team building and sharing are often the targets of bullies.

While team-orientated character traits are an important part of a healthy work team, these same traits tend to exacerbate bullying. Bullies often target employees who are fair, honest and ethical or have strong morals and integrity. This means it is even more important for managers and leaders to protect all members of their teams, especially those team members who may be more susceptible to harassment by more dominant co-workers.

Racial Minorities and Women

Workers and students of ethnic minorities can be singled out by bullies and women can be the target of sexual harassment and discrimination. Managers are encouraged to act in ways that protect women and minority employees from discrimination and bullying.

Steps to Address and Prevent Workplace and School Yard Bullying

Bullies bully with near impunity, experiencing negative consequences in only 23% of cases. – U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey

The high cost of workplace bullying includes 100 million UK working days lost; companies losing hundreds of Billions annually; 71.5 million US workers affected; Bullying law suits claiming more than $1 Billion.

Organizations are not doing enough to identify and combat bullying and violence in the workplace. “Workplace bullying is on the rise, yet despite the prevalence of bullying and its damaging impact, organizational responses are spotty, at best,” says the Crisis Prevention Institute (USA).

Proper human resource training and systems, open door policies which encourage worker engagement and harassment education programs for managers and employees, all do their part to help address and reduce workplace harassment.

Need help with these delicate issues? Contact Dr. Mary Welsh at (586) 501-3700 for harassment compliance, workplace resolution and personality training tools to help reduce and address some workplace conflict situations faced by companies.

About Dr. Mary, SPHR Color Code Diversity Training