By Denise Morganthall
Workplace bullying, which can have a negative impact on individuals and companies, is unfortunately common. Workplace bullying is when one person or a group of people in a workplace singles out another person in an unreasonable, embarrassing or intimidating way. Usually a bully is a person in a position of authority who feels threatened by the victim, but in some cases the bully is a co-worker who is insecure or immature. Workplace bullying can involve shouting or swearing at an employee, practical jokes, inappropriate remarks or actions that embarrass the employee or one employee being singled out for unjustified blame or criticism.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to one third of workers may be victims of workplace bullying. About 20 percent of workplace bullying turns into harassment. The New York Times found that 60 percent of workplace bullies are men who tend to bully both male and female employees. Studies show that females have been more likely to bully other females. This may be because there is more pressure on females trying to succeed in male-dominated workplace roles or competition for promotions.
The stress of workplace bullying can lead to absenteeism, low productivity, lowered self-esteem, high blood pressure, PTSD and trouble with relationships outside of work. Workplace bullying is bad for business as well, resulting in high turnover, lost innovations and difficulty hiring quality employees as word spreads that the company has a hostile work environment. Employees who are or have been victims of workplace bullying should realize it is not their fault and seek help.