Bullying is usually reserved for the schoolyard in movies, where the taller than average, burly boy steals a poor unsuspecting kid’s lunch money. But bullying extends deeper than the stereotypes, and way beyond the schoolyard. Bullying in the workplace has become a rampant problem with significant consequences.
A study by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 35 percent of the U.S. workforce, estimated at 53.5 million Americans- report being bullied at work. An additional 15 percent report witnessing bullying in the workplace. Not only was bullying common, there is often a need for medical intervention. A study by a Finnish research group BMJ Open found that men and women who were bullied were 50-200 percent more likely to have a prescription for anti-depressants, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers.
Workplace bullying can have a significant impact on mental health, including psychosocial distress, and a higher risk of both mental and physical health problems. It causes stress, absenteeism, lowered self-esteem and anxiety. It is costly for business too. High turnover, low productivity, lost innovations and difficulty in attracting quality employees can all hurt your business as a result of workplace bullying.
Workplace bullying can take on many forms including shouting or swearing, singling out employees for unjustified criticism, humiliating employees, and excessive practical jokes aimed at a particular person.
“Our study showed that workplace bullying is associated with subsequent psychotropic medication based on objective register data reflecting medically confirmed mental health problems. In addition to current workplace bullying, also earlier bullying and observing bullying were associated with psychotropic medication. Workplace bullying needs to be tackled proactively in an effective way to prevent its adverse consequences for mental health.”
For more information, please see the Workplace Bullying Institute.
At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we understand that human resource issues are an important component of an employer’s risk profile. We’ll help you evaluate HR issues and exposures and help you implement programs to ensure your company’s growth in today’s challenging and highly regulatory environment. Contact us today for more information on our Connecticut Human Resource Consulting services.