“Those who can Do, Those who can’t, BULLY”
Workplace bullying is a serious issue It’s an issue that I don’t think gets enough attention, considering how big of a problem it is.
I was really shocked and surprised when I learned at how often bullying in the workplace takes place. A recent survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute shed some important light on this issue.
Let’s look at some of the more interesting numbers from the survey:
- 27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work
- 21% have witnessed bullying
- 56% of the time it was from the top-down (more on this later)
- Hispanics and African american workers experience more of the bullying
- Most employers either deny or discount the bullying
- 38% of co workers did nothing (although I don’t blame them)
These numbers are incredible.
The 2 numbers that really stick out at me, are the fact that 56% of the time, it comes from a manager or senior leader, and that most employers deny or discount (25% and 16% respectively).
It’s been proven many times that power corrupts, and so it doesn’t surprise me that most of the bullying comes from someone in a higher position of power than you.
For the employer to hide or discount it as not being serious is so stupid. It’s incredibly serious, because it has a major effect on your company culture. According to a study from the Sauder School of Business at UBC, workers who witness bullying have a stronger urge to quit than those who experience it firsthand.
A lot of people don’t stop to think about this. The bullying doesn’t only affect the person that was bullied. It has a terrible effect on morale. And as the study showed, just witnessing workplace bullying gets people to want to quit. This is what happened to me personally at a company I used to work for.
I was treated very well, but my coworkers dare I say my friends were treated horribly, and as much as you could argue that I had no reason to leave, since I was treated so well, I couldn’t stand the fact that they were treated so poorly.
In the UBC study, they also mention that even if the witnesses don’t quit their jobs, productivity suffers, because they’re not engaged anymore.
A woman named Meredith Boucher in Windsor, Ontario, successfully sued Wal-Mart for experiencing bullying in the workplace, you can read the facts of her case here:
Here’s the interesting part of the story.
- The bullying started because her manager had asked her to do something unethical and illegal, and she refused.
- She suffered all kinds of health issues, and lost 25 pounds due to the stress alone.
- She was awarded $1.4 million, but the craziest thing is that the manager wasn’t fired. He was transferred, and now manages a store somewhere in the US.
- Your relationship with your direct manager or a boss can have a huge effect on your health.
- According to a study at the Stress Institute in Stockholm, they found that “employees who had managers who were incompetent, inconsiderate, secretive and uncommunicative, were 60% more likely to suffer a heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac condition. By contrast, employees who worked with “good” leaders were 40% less likely to suffer heart problems”
Have You Ever Experienced Workplace Bullying?
Footnote: This case also serves as a warning to managers/supervisors and employers that they may both be held accountable for behaviour towards employees that is abusive, unfair or insensitive. Courtesy of Melanie Warner and Sarah Boyle, Summer Law Student ~ Borden Ladner Gervais LLP