Is workplace bullying really on the rise – or does the media just make it seem that way?
How you answer may depend on your own workplace experience. Most of us have worked with or for someone we didn’t like, but wouldn’t classify that person as a bully.
Yet a surprisingly high percentage of employees say they’ve felt bullied at work – nearly one in three, based on a recent CareerBuilder/Harris poll.
Even worse: About a fifth of those people left their jobs because of it.
A bully in the midst of an otherwise great company can push good people out the doors and make those who stay on uncomfortable – for little or no gain.
More than 3,300 full-time, private sector employees were polled. Here are the results:
- 28% say they’ve been bullied at work
- the gender gap is significant: 34% of women and 22% of men, but
- about the same racially: 27% of blacks, 25% for Hispanics and 24% for whites.
Watch for these warning signs
Your HR staff are trained to spot signs of potential workplace violence.
Bullying behavior can be a signal that there’s a potential problem employee in your company.
Survey respondents who said they’d felt bullied on the job cited these actions:
- Falsely accused of mistakes (43%)
- Concerns were ignored or dismissed (41%)
- Held up to different standards than co-workers (37%)
- Subject of gossip (34%)
- Constantly criticized (32%)
- Belittled at meetings (29%)
- Yelled at in front of co-workers (27%)
- Excluded from projects/meetings (20%)
- Credit for work was stolen (20%)
- Picked on for personal attributes (20%)
While any of these actions may or may not signal an actual bullying problem, they’re all serious enough that a sit-down between the people involved may help.
The key: Don’t fail to act. Companies that try sweeping charges of bullying under the rug risk big payouts in discrimination cases.