In light of the recent news articles surrounding the Miami Dolphins and the allegations of hazing and bullying, now is a great time for employers to review their own employment policies related to workplace bullying. In a recent study, 41% of all workers reported experiencing some form of bullying at work in the previous year1. 13% of those workers reported experiencing bullying on a weekly basis. Employees who are being bullied at work are more likely to leave a company, have higher absence rates and are generally less productive than other employees. Bullied employees also are more likely to file lawsuits than other employees. All of these issues affect a company’s bottom line. While many employers have policies in place addressing discrimination, it is also important to have clear, well-communicated policies addressing workplace bullying and harassment. Once those policies are in place, it is important to follow up to make sure that employees know who they should report to, feel comfortable doing so and are not retaliated against for raising valid complaints. Employees who are being bullied frequently suffer in silence but clear, well-understood policies provide an opportunity for a company to address issues before they get out of control and cannot be remedied.
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1. Schat, A. C. H., Frone, M. R., & Kelloway, E. K. (2006). Prevalence of Workplace Aggression in the U.S. Workforce: Findings from a National Study. In E. K. Kelloway, J. Barling, and J. Hurrell (Eds.), Handbook of Workplace Violence (pp. 47-89). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.