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What can be done to confront workplace bullying?

The concept of bullying is something that nearly every person can identify with. Most of the time it brings to mind experiences of childhood when we got picked on regularly by another kid in school or the neighborhood.

It would be nice to think that bullying behavior is something we all grow out of eventually. But such thoughts would be misguided, as a writer in Forbes recently observed. According to that article, bullying in the workplace, whether in Texas or elsewhere, is a common problem. Indeed, by the count of one survey of workers, 98 percent said that at some point in their careers they had been victims of such uncivil behavior.

Not surprisingly, such events have negative consequences on many fronts. Researchers who conducted that survey have found that in the face of workplace bullying:

  • 47 percent of respondents spent less time at work
  • 80 percent fretted so much about the incident that work time was lost
  • 66 percent reported general declines in performance
  • 78 percent indicated a decline in engagement
  • 25 percent said they redirected their anger and frustration at customers

It should also come as no surprise that bullying is somehow limited to the private sector. Indeed, one former federal official who has written a book on the government work environment says government has long suffered from what he calls a locker room culture that allows behaviors among workers such as intimidation, harassment and bullying. And he says it's a culture that leaders need to work to change.

As we have noted, bullying can detrimentally affect victims. In some cases it might prompt filing for workers' compensation, but fighting to obtain benefits might be required. Consulting an attorney is always advised.

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