It has only been in the past few years that companies have begun to recognize bullying's financial costs on the workplace. According to scholars at The Project for Wellness and Work-Life at Arizona State University, "workplace bullying is linked to a host of physical, psychological, organizational and social costs."
Leaving the place of employment is often the only option for the victim of bullying because there are few laws that protect against it, yet those who attempt to endure are often under so much stress that it has significant negative effects on both mental and physical health.
"The effects of bullying are often so severe that posttraumatic stress disorder and even suicide are not uncommon," wrote assessment and rehabilitation consultant Noreen Tehrani. The physical and mental damage left from bullying is similar to that of battered women and victims of child abuse.
Organizations need to recognize the costs involved with keeping a bully on staff. There's a loss of productivity for the victim and other staff members who are also affected. There are medical and sick leave expenses from stress-related health issues. According to the American City Business Journal, a survey of 9,000 federal employees indicated that 42 percent of female and 15 percent of male employees reported being harassed within a two-year period, resulting in a cost of more than $180 million in lost time and productivity.
Nobody likes a bully, but what can be done? Suggestions for how to deal with them are all over the board -- and often not realistic. With a job market like the one we have now, making a change isn't something most bullying targets are able to do.
Which makes words like "bullycide" one we grow more accustomed to hearing.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.