With a greater concentration of resources being placed on eliminating bullying at school and incorporation of anti-bullying themes in television shows, it should be no surprise that attention is being focused on bullying in the workplace. In a 2010 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 35 percent of the American workforce reported being bullied at work. Bullying occurs at all levels within an organization and can originate from both men and women.
Workplace bullying is often exhibited in the form of verbal abuse and offensive conduct or behavior, which can be threatening, humiliating or intimidating. In some instances, bullying conduct can prevent work from being performed. Indeed, besides being harmful the physical, emotional and mental health of the targeted employees, bullying damages the business by leading to decreased productivity and increased absences and attrition.
As with many workplace situations, the best way to prevent or address bullying in the workplace is to have effective policies in place and to enforce them. By all accounts, workplace bullying is underreported. An effective policy should at a minimum provide clear examples of unacceptable behavior and working conditions, state in clear terms that the organization is committed to the prevention of workplace bullying, state the consequences of acting in a bullying manner, and encourage reporting of all incidents of bullying or other forms of workplace violence. Organizations should also make available Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to allow employees who have been bullied at work to seek help.