Monday, January 13, 2014

Bullying doesn't stop in school, it's becoming more of an issue in the workplace

Have you ever had that one co-worker or manager who is just a jerk?  He or she is the only person in the workplace who can’t seem to get along with more than a select few and even goes out of his or her way to make your life miserable?  As surprising as it may sound, you may be the subject of workplace bullying.

Over the past few years, bullying has become more and more of an issue with our children. It should come as no surprise that bullying does not stop in our schools or with our kids. In a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management, 51 percent of organizations reported there had been incidents of bullying in their workplace.

Is this a big deal? Maybe the National Football League and the Miami Dolphins can best answer that question with a case that has impacted their organizations and been highly publicized. In 2013, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the Dolphins in mid-season, saying he was bullied and harassed by fellow teammates. According to news reports, teammates called Martin a “big weirdo,” pressured him to pay thousands of dollars for a Las Vegas trip he did not go on and had racial slurs directed towards him. All this has resulted in a player suspension, a major NFL investigation and the potential for future legal liabilities for both the team and the league.

Workplace bullying is a big deal and should be taken seriously by businesses and organizations of any size. It is the foundation of workplace discrimination, harassment, and even violence. On a basic level it can decrease employee morale, productivity, and trust between co-workers. It can increase stress levels and mental and emotional distress, absenteeism and turnover rates. On a higher level it can result in cases with the EEOC, lawsuits, and even death in the workplace.

Workplace bullying will continue to be a major issue in the workplace that likely will have an increasingly alarming impact on businesses and employees. Businesses should take the initiative now to protect their workplaces and their employees by implementing policies prohibiting workplace bullying and provide training to management and employees to educate and create awareness. This in turn will encourage employees to report behavior as it occurs and help stop workplace bullying before it goes too far.