Workplace Bullying is Everywhere - What HR Needs to Know


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What HR Professionals Need to Know About Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying, just like childhood bullying, is when individuals or groups intentionally humiliate another person. At school, the victim is another student. At work, it is another employee—and it may be more rampant than you think!

In 2012, the Workplace Bullying Institute conducted a survey about the prevalence of bullying in the workplace ( Fifty-eight percent of respondents reported being bullied currently, 39% reported having been bullied in the past, and 3% reported having witnessed workplace bullying. Most perpetrators (63%) and victims (79%) were women. Women bullies torment women in 89% of cases; men bully women in 63% of cases. Most of the bullies (75%) are bosses; 18% are coworkers or peers, and 7% are subordinates.

The effect of bullying can range from lower job satisfaction and health complaints to suicide. Stress is the most predominant health effect associated with bullying in the workplace and can result in an increase in the use of sick days or time off from work. Workplace bullying is also expensive: Author Robert Sutton reports that one company estimated annual losses of $160,000 from handling problems caused by one salesman’s bullying behaviors.

In this interactive online training program, participants will learn:

What employees can do if they are being bullied at work
What employers can do to create a zero tolerance toward workplace bullying
The benefits of addressing workplace bullying
How to manage real-life scenarios


Judy Lindenberger
President, The Lindenberger Group

Judy Lindenberger "gets" leadership. She is a certified career coach and HR consultant capable of coupling personal growth with professional development, which is why top companies and individuals invite her to work with them. Judy's background includes designing and facilitating the first-ever sexual harassment prevention training for federal government workers, leading the management training department for a major financial organization, and creating a highly successful, global mentoring program for a Fortune 500 company which won the national Athena Award for Mentoring for two consecutive years. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Training and Development Magazine, and other publications. Judy holds an MBA in human resources and is based in New Jersey.

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Workplace Bullying is Everywhere - What HR Needs to Know

  1. 1. PRESENTED BY Judy Lindenberger The Lindenberger Group, LLC SPONSORED BY
  2. 2. Workplace bullying defined The definition, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, is “repeated, healthharming mistreatment of one or more persons, by one or more perpetrators, in the form of verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behavior and work interference.”
  3. 3. Bullying behaviors A 2006 study of workplace bullying identified bullying behaviors. F. A. Moayed, N. Daraiseh, R. Shell, and S. Salem, “Workplace bullying: a systematic review of risk factors and outcomes,” Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, vol. 7, pp. 311–327, 2006  Threat to professional status  Threat to personal standing  Isolation  Overwork  Destabilization unwarranted or invalid criticism and blame without factual justification being sworn at, shouted out, or humiliated preventing access to opportunities, withholding necessary information, or using silent treatment to “ice out” and separate the victim from others being given unrealistic work deadlines failure to acknowledge good work, allocation of meaningless tasks, setting the target up to fail
  4. 4. Bullying stories “I had to make a bank deposit so I left the office and locked the door. When the bully could not get in, she called me, screamed, and threatened to have me fired. The next day another employee showed her the office key on her key chain. She never apologized. Her response was just ‘Oh, silly me.’”
  5. 5. Top 10 bullying tactics Talking behind back Interrupting Flaunting authority Belittling Failing to communicate The ‘silent treatment’ Insults, shouting Verbal sexual harassment 9. Negative eye contact 10. Condescension 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
  6. 6. Gender differences Women bullies  Tend to use subtle tactics  ‘Silent treatment’  Encourage colleagues to turn against the victim Men bullies  Tend to use overt tactics  Ridicule or yell publicly
  7. 7. Ways men bully              Public screaming Sabotaging a person’s contribution Post-complaint retaliation Timing mistreatment to correspond with medical or psychological vulnerability Withholding resources for success, then blaming the target Name calling Threatening job loss Interfering with pay or earned benefits Blocking access to equipment and resources Assigning person to an unsafe work environment Threatening to do physical harm Boasting about owning and proficiency with a weapon Engaging in physical aggression
  8. 8. Ways women bully When bullies are women, they choose other women as their prey the majority of the time  Rolling their eyes  Spreading rumors  ‘Silent treatment’  Encouraging colleagues to turn against the target
  9. 9. Bullying by the numbers Workplace Bullying Institute (2012)  56% reported being bullied   http://www.workplacebull     currently 39% reported having been bullied in the past 3% reported having witnessed workplace bullying Most perpetrators (63%) and victims (79%) are women Women bullies torment women in 89% of cases Men bully women in 63% of cases Most bullies (75%) are bosses; 18% are coworkers or peers, and 7% are subordinates
  10. 10. What’s the cost? Author Robert Sutton reports that one company estimated annual losses of $160,000 from handling problems caused by one salesman’s bullying behaviors. Plus serious health effects…  Hypertension  Auto-immune disorders  Depression  Anxiety
  11. 11. Bullying stories In addition to emotional and psychological turmoil, victims can have their work and career disrupted. “I did not go to the satellite office for months because I did not want to see the bully.”
  12. 12. How do bullies see themselves? Rakesh Malhotra, founder of Five Global Values, writes, “most bullies portray themselves … as polite and respectful, as they are charming in public.” Gretchen, from the movie, Mean Girls, says, “I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me … but I can’t help that I’m so popular.”
  13. 13. Bullying stories Bullies often see themselves as the victim and don’t get or care how they make others feel. Says one bully, “The biggest problem I have at work is that I don’t get respect from others.”
  14. 14. Why do they do it? Most believe that bullies have psychological issues (88.1%) while others see bullying as career-driven: to weed out competition (60.3%) or to get ahead (52.4%).
  15. 15. Name some famous bullies!
  16. 16. Bullies by name Eddie Haskell Idi Amin Saddam Hussein Al Capone Cleopatra Bluto from Popeye Attila the Hun Donald Trump Mike Tyson Queen Elizabeth II Marlon Brando Angelica from Rugrats Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  17. 17. Why put up with it? Most bullies are at a level above the victim!
  18. 18. The boss as bully In the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Andy says about her boss, “She's not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal.”
  19. 19. Bullying in the news Former Asheville Citizen-Times editor Susan Ihne settled a $15 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the newspaper's publisher Randy Hammer and the parent company, Gannett. Ihne’s Claims:  Hammer yelled and raised his voice at her  Belittled and degraded her on the job  Misused his power  Calculated efforts to destroy her selfconfidence and get her to resign from her job
  20. 20. Bullying in the news Two employees in Texas were awarded $250,000 Plaintiffs’ Claims:  Supervisor continually yelled at them  Put his head down and “charged at them like a bull”  Made an employee wear a sign that said "I quit"
  21. 21. How to spot bullying Is the employee…  intimidated, threatened?  picked on unfairly or unreasonably?  humiliated in front of others?  being threatened with dismissal without cause?
  22. 22. What should employees do if they are being bullied at work? (Mark all that apply) Group Poll P1
  23. 23. What should be done Over 90% think that discipline is the best course of action, 88.8% favor policies, 86.4% want to know how to report bullying, and 84.8% favor training. Says one executive, “It’s important to take complaints seriously and handle things quickly.”
  24. 24. What should happen if an employee forgets to follow someone’s directions? Group Poll P2
  25. 25. What should happen if a co-worker is angry at another employee? Group Poll P3
  26. 26. Benefits of addressing workplace bullying  Greater satisfaction  Higher retention  Positive reputation  Increased productivity  Reduced liability  Risk management
  27. 27. Share your voice… What experiences have you had regarding workplace bullying? What have you done about it? What must organizations do to prevent workplace bullying?
  28. 28. What organizations must do Human Resources Managers Leaders  Develop policies, provide training, let employees know how to report bullying, offer coaching, and create exit strategies  Take complaints seriously and follow through with disciplinary action  Create a culture to prevent workplace bullying
  29. 29. Sample policy The Company will not tolerate bullying behavior. Employees found in violation of this policy will be disciplined, up to and including termination. Bullying may be intentional or unintentional. When an allegation of bullying is made, the intention of the alleged bully is irrelevant, and will not be given consideration when meting out discipline. As in sexual harassment, it is the effect of the behavior upon the individual which is important. The following are examples of bullying:  Verbal Bullying: slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his/her family; persistent name calling which is hurtful, insulting or humiliating; using a person as butt of jokes; abusive and offensive remarks  Physical Bullying: pushing; shoving; kicking; poking; tripping; assault, or threat of physical assault; damage to a person’s work area or property  Gesture Bullying: non-verbal threatening gestures, glances which can convey threatening messages  Exclusion: socially or physically excluding or disregarding a person in work-related activities
  30. 30. Sample policy (cont’d) In addition, the following examples may constitute bullying in the workplace:  Persistent singling out of one person  Shouting, raising voice at an individual in public and/or in private  Using verbal or obscene gestures  Not allowing the person to speak or express him/herself (i.e., ignoring or interrupting)  Personal insults and use of offensive nicknames  Public humiliation in any form  Constant criticism on matters unrelated or minimally related to the person’s job performance or job description  Ignoring/interrupting an individual at meetings  Public reprimands  Repeatedly accusing someone of errors which cannot be documented  Deliberately interfering with mail and other communications
  31. 31. Sample policy (cont’d)  Spreading rumors and gossip regarding individuals  Encouraging others to disregard a supervisor’s instructions  Manipulating the ability of someone to do their work (e.g.; overloading, under loading, withholding information, setting meaningless tasks, setting deadlines that cannot be met, giving deliberately ambiguous instructions)  Inflicting menial tasks not in keeping with the normal responsibilities of the job  Taking credit for another person’s ideas  Refusing reasonable requests for leave  Deliberately excluding an individual or isolating them from work-related activities (meetings, etc.)  Unwanted physical contact, physical abuse or threats of abuse to an individual or an individual’s property (defacing or marking up property) If you observe or experience workplace bullying, report it immediately to your supervisor, Human Resources, or any member of management.
  32. 32. Thank you! What did you learn? What will you do differently?
  33. 33. The Lindenberger Group 609.730.1049 SPONSORED BY Affordable, virtual outplacement services.