At some point, most people have experienced a workplace bully: the jerk who revels in making others miserable. Most employees do their best to stay under this sadist’s radar, but others are not so fortunate. Some are serial bullies, others choose a single victim.
Employers should know that all office bullies are a drain on both morale and productivity in addition to being a huge contributor to attrition rates. It is also important to realize that bullying often leads to unlawful workplace harassment and sometimes even workplace violence.
Whatever the bully’s methods or motives, a 2010 Zogby poll revealed startling statistics on what appears to be an epidemic of bullying in the workplace:
Twenty states have introduced Healthy Workplace Bills: initiatives that require companies to curb abusive behavior. While most employers know that bullying hurts the bottom line, there is now a strong movement to assess legal damages as well.
This movement seeks to categorize workplace abuse as harassment and give employees that are victims of bullying protected status. It is more important than ever for employers to recognize these behaviors, protect their staff and stay ahead of this disturbing trend. Click here to learn more about online harassment prevention training.
Even with increased awareness of the harm that bullying in the workplace can cause; bullies often go undetected or are overlooked by upper management. Many times this is because of the bully’s so called “kiss up, kick down” behavior: they work hard to curry favor from their own managers, while abusing their subordinates.
Employees who are victims bullying report an extensive range of behaviors that can be subtle or overt - all aimed at demeaning subordinates or colleagues:
While jokes and websites multiply about the “office jerk,” harassment in the workplace on any level is no laughing matter. How can you be aware of this damaging behavior and maintain a productive workplace that is harassment-free? Click here to learn more
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