A Significant Increase in Workplace Bullying and What You Can Do About It

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Have you ever felt bullied at work? If you answered yes, you're not alone. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by CareerBuilder found more than one out of three (35 percent) workers said they felt bullied at work, a 30 percent increase in the past year. Sixteen percent of those said they even suffered health-related problems as a result of bullying and 17 percent decided to quit their jobs just to escape the situation.

The study also found nearly half of workers don't confront their bullies and the majority of incidents go unreported. In most cases, this is the exact opposite of what you should do.

Who are These Bullies?

Apparently, they're everywhere, on the trading floor, in the c-suites, in operations. According to the survey, most bullying incidents (48 percent) were between bosses and subordinates, followed by co-workers (45 percent), clients or customers (31 percent) and by someone higher up in the company than the immediate boss (26 percent). More than half (54 percent) said they were bullied by someone older than they were, while 29 percent said the bully was younger.

How the Bullies Bully

The most common way workers reported being bullied was getting blamed for mistakes they didn't make (42 percent), followed by not being acknowledged (39 percent) and the use of double standards (36 percent). Other types of bullying include:

  • Constantly being criticized – 33 percent
  • Being yelled in front of co-workers – 28 percent
  • Belittling comments about your work during meetings – 24 percent
  • Gossiped about – 26 percent
  • Someone stole credit for something you did – 19 percent
  • Picked on for personal attributes – 15 percent

What You Can Do About Bullying

If you're feeling bullied in the workplace, here are some tips on how to deal with it.

  1. Talk to the person you feel has bullied you and tell them why you feel that way. Quite often they may not even be aware of it.
  2. Keep a record of all incidents of bullying, documenting places, times, what happened and who was present.
  3. Focus on a resolution. When sharing examples with the bully or a company authority, center the discussions around how to make the working situation better or how things could be handled differently.


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