Are you a workplace Bully?

angry coworker

Often the national conversation has been about children bullying children, but what about adults who bully their coworkers?

Freedom from Workplace Bullying Week is recognized next week, Oct. 14-20, by the Workplace Bullying Institute, an online resource for employees who feel they are targets of coworker meanness.

“Bullying is a systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction that jeopardizes your health, your career, the job you once loved. Bullying is a non-physical, non-homicidal form of violence. Because it is abusive it causes both emotional and stress-related physical harm,” the site explains.

Celebrations include a few nationwide events and workshops designed to bring an awareness to the surprisingly common problem of workplace bullying.

According to Rakesh Malhotra, founder of Five Global Values (www.fiveglobalvalues.com) and a business leader in organization behavior, workplace bullies may not always recognize their behavior as harmful to their coworkers.

Symptoms of being a bully may include insulting other employees, undermining another person’s work by creating a hostile work environment or consistently drawing attention to another’s flaws, ignoring employee suggestions, or humiliating an employee in front of others.

Malhotra said there is help for bullies including sensitivity training or anger management counseling.

He adds that bullying victims should keep a concise record of inter-office bullying and bring the problem to the attention of the company’s upper management.

Hostility in the workplace is a large enough problem that many are cashing-in on battling office bullies.

An article by Spencer Morgan of Bloomberg Businessweek said the recession has caused an increase in workplace bullying. Data gathered in 2009 by the University of Phoenix found that the recession has given bullies an excuse to mistreat co-workers.

It has also given rise to many anti-bullying coaches who conduct seminars across the country, some receiving more than $7,000 per appearance.

Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute is spearheading legislative efforts to enact several anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bills, including one in Colorado.

His bill would give workers the right to sue their employers for allowing malicious conduct by other employees. Those employers who took steps to prevent and correct the behavior would be exempt from a lawsuit.

Currently, the petition at http://www.change.org has 45 supporters.



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