What is workplace bullying?

What is workplace bullying?

Our mission is to raise public awareness about workplace bullying and to compel lawmakers to prevent abusive environments through legislative reform.

Workplace Bullying Defined:

Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

verbal abuse threatening, humiliating or offensive behavior/actions work interference -- sabotage -- which prevents work from getting done.

Bullying, general workplace harassment, is more prevalent than its more famous and illegal special varieties--sexual harassment and racial discrimination. A recent reliable study estimates that approximately 1 in 6 U.S. workers has directly experienced destructive bullying in the past year. (according to a year 2000 scientific sample of State of Michigan residents). Based on these estimates more than 787,000 Georgia workers have been negatively impacted by workplace bullying.

Bullying transcends gender. Half of all bullies (58%) are women. Half of all bullying is woman-on-woman. Women comprise 80% of targets. The vast majority of bullies (71%) are bosses. (Workplace Bullying Institute research).

Bullies bully because they can; they do so with impunity. The complex answer to why bullies bully can be reduced to 3 factors: (a) some workplaces pit worker against worker in zero-sum (cutthroat) competitive schemes, (b) Machiavellian types (who live to manipulate others to accomplish their own goals) see the opportunities presented, and (c) in bullying-prone workplaces, employers reward the aggression with promotions and rewards. Bullies are rarely psychopathic, but are always narcissistic and machiavellian.

Targethood hinges on two characteristics: a desire to cooperate and a non-confrontive interpersonal style. Bullying poses a serious health hazard to Targets by compromising their psychological and physical health, disassembling their social network and risking economic devastation through the loss of their jobs because "employment at will" encourages the bully''s whimsical misuse of power. Targets who are most surprised by the baseless crueltly inflicted on them suffer the most severe effects (PTSD) and take the longest time to heal afterwards. Silent, frozen co-workers worsen the problem often by choosing to cut off support, to tacitly or directly join the bully''s personal vendetta against the Target. Eventually, the workplace is paralyzed by fear, incapable of productive work, and susceptible to costly downtime with an unhealthy workforce and an increased liability for destructive employment practices.