In the past 10 years 25 states have introduced Healthy Workplace bills – http://healthyworkplacebill.org/. These laws aim to place consequences on companies that allow the perpetuation of bullying in the workplace and provide incentives to those employers who proactively prevent bullying from occurring. With half the states having introduced some form of anti-bullying laws for our workplaces, its not a far stretch to think that the other 25 will be following suit.
Workplace bullying can come in many forms and results in several undesirable results. Bullying increases absenteeism, causes the loss of quality employees (turnover), increases leaves of absences and worker’s compensation claims. The physical and psychological effects of a person who is the target of a bully can not be measured with just dollars but, make no mistake, it has a significant financial impact on an employers bottom line. In this 2009 case, the bullying this school district allowed to happen (including the HR director as one of the bullies) cost the taxpayers over $545,000! – http://www.workplacebullying.org/2009/04/06/northcutt/
Sadly, bosses are the main perpetrators of bullying. In a 2007 study done by the Workplace Bullying Institute, it was found that bosses were responsible for 72% of bullying in the workplace. I have personally had to deal with a boss that is a bully. One common piece of advice is to report the bullying to HR. Well, that would mean reporting the bullying to the perpetrator in my case. What did I do? After trying repeatedly to confront, re-establish boundaries and addressing with the perpetrators boss, I simply found a new job. In the vast majority of cases, this is the end result leaving the perpetrator to continue to bully and further drive away top talent from the company. In a 2012 study done by the Workplace Bullying Institute it was found that 28% of targets voluntarily quit, 25% were forced out (constructive discharge), 25% were terminated and 11% transferred jobs. In other words, “…once targeted for bullying an individual faced a 78% probability of losing the job he or she once loved.”
The Healthy Workplace laws that are sweeping the country are seeking to change this trend. Just like no kid should be forced to drop out of school because of a bully, no employee should be pressured into leaving a job that they enjoy because of the bad behavior of others.
Adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying in the workplace. Financially speaking, a bully whether it be the CEO or a maintenance worker, just simply isn’t worth protecting.