Is a poor economy to blame for workplace bullies escalating their bad behaviors? This could well be a distinct possibility.
Increasing unemployment coupled with an increasing dependence on temporary laborers simply means that companies are faced with having more and more vulnerable employees to target.
But while this economic slump that we are finding ourselves in may exacerbate bullying, it doesn’t explain why it is so deeply embedded in our workplace culture.
I’ve heard endless stories and been personally subjected to bosses and even co-workers who rant and rave, give their targets the silent treatment, ignoring them, mocking them, glaring at them, insulting and belittling them right in front of their peers and other co-workers.
They will spread untrue rumors about them, sometimes withholding the precise information needed to do their work — and then take credit for everything they’ve done.
Employees found working in these horrible conditions will often discover their physical health, mental health, and confidence utterly destroyed.
They lack even the basic desire to leave and instead find themselves trapped in a world of psychological injury.
How Prevalent Is Workplace Bullying?
While talking with people about their work, it has been difficult to find those that haven’t had at least one such experience.
This has made me wonder how common these bullying attitudes are in our business environment.
The smallest of these estimates that I have run across is that around 12% of people in the workforce right now are subject to bullying. Other experts think that the intimidation might reach as high as the 50% level.
One thing that surprises us is that female managers or bosses are not immune from being the bully any more than their male counterparts. However, research has shown that female workers are 80% more likely to be targeted by a workplace bully.
Men and women with bullying behaviors will target female employees with women doing the majority of the bullying
There Should Be Laws Against Workplace Bullying.
So widespread is this phenomenon that lawyers seeking some legal remedy have found that in many cases, people see abuse and stress as simply a common part of employment.
David Yamada, an attorney and author of the Healthy Workplace Bill, believes that the only way to put an end to workplace bullying and the damage caused by it is to draft legislation against it. He along with HWB advocates have attempted to introduce this legislation in California and 22 other states but businesses and chambers of commerce oppose it and lobby against it.
That is not to say that the fight is over. “The spiral people experience is horrible,” he says. “I have seen people go from A to Z, and by the time they leave, they are just picking up pieces of themselves. They have to rebuild themselves completely.”
Won’t you be a part of this growing battle against one of the most destructive behaviors found in the workplace? Schoolyard bullying is all over the news and the evidence is overwhelmingly against this type of behavior as far as the damage it does but it is just as devastating in the workplace as well. Please call or write to your state assemblyman and urge them to sponsor and support the Healthy Workplace Bill.