The awareness of bullying has increased as a result of its growing coverage on the internet and in social media. Nearly half of the affected individuals, however, fail to recognize that repeated harassment at work is bullying. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, approximately 61% of employees across the U.S. surveyed in 2017 categorized a manager or supervisor at their job as a bully.
As reported by Business Insurance, 20% of employees surveyed revealed they have personally experienced bullying or abusive conduct while at work. When 71% of those workers reported the misconduct, however, their employer’s response harmed them more than the actual bullying. Researchers also found that an abusive supervisor had a negative impact on employees’ behavior relating to safety issues.
Recognizing abuse or misconduct causes harm
Without properly documenting the harassment and disciplining or terminating a bully, the abuse most likely continues. A serial bully may repeatedly make threats, voice painful off-color remarks or belittle another employee with an intention of causing harm. When management makes no attempt to stop or correct the antagonistic behavior, it tends to continue unabated or it increases.
Working in a hostile environment eventually takes its toll on employees in the form of stress. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that stress contributed to 80% of workplace accidents and accounts for financial losses estimated at $500 billion. Performing workplace tasks while under constant duress typically results in a reduction of care, attentiveness and caution, which in turn causes accidents and often serious injuries.
Seeking relief for psychological and emotional injuries
An employee exposed to continued workplace bullying may begin to suffer from symptoms of extreme stress. This carries the potential to develop into lingering psychological or emotional harm. Some of the symptoms may include anxiety attacks, depression, hypertension and post-traumatic stress disorder. When these debilitating conditions occur as a result of workplace bullying, the need to take time off to recover may justify a workers’ compensation claim.