Laws, Legality of Bullying in the Workplace

unhappy co workers

Savvan Learning continues its look into research on the impact of workplace bullying with its third article in a series. In this article we will explore the laws and legality of bullying in the workplace.

When we look at our male and female leadership, genuine awareness starts at the top. Based on the 2104 WBI studies we know that 72% of American employer reactions either condone or explicitly sustain bullying; less than 20% take action to stop it. The co-workers’ reaction to bullying in the workplace is notable, as 38% did nothing, and 35% privately/publicly tried to help the target. Therefore there is much work to be done in each workplace whether for profit, not for profit, government, i.e., (politicians and military & civil employees), schools, higher education and sport businesses.iStock_000006971989Large_Clipboard

At this time there are no state or federal laws enacted to compel American employers to address abusive conduct in the workplace. Without a law it means that employers can tolerate the misconduct without legal risk.

    • Tangible costs include unwanted turnover of key skilled personnel, absenteeism, higher insurance costs, health and employment practices liability, and litigation expense.
    • Intangible costs, damage to the institution’s reputation and impaired ability to recruit and retain top talent.
    • Additionally, reputation costs to the individual targets, the bullies, and the mental health and well beings of these individuals are overlooked.

Organizational & Cultural Awareness

gavel on moneyThe 2013 Zogby poll of Business Leaders, CXO-level corporate leaders showed 68% consider “workplace bullying a serious problem” and that 48% of Americans are affected by bullying, yes and there is still little being done to sway the internal attitudes in organizations.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”

~The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

The top three employer reactions to bullying within their organizations are to Deny at 25%, Discount at 16% and Rationalize it at 15%, and those top three issues are at 56% in 2014.Employers Awareness of Bullying

Until there are laws and a willingness for Leadership to address these issues within their organizations, the behaviors in their organizational culture will continue. What is equally important is the number of targets that lose their jobs due to the bullying as accepted practice in their workplace culture. 61% of bullied targets lose their job with their employer; and 74% lose their particular job due to being transferred within the organization.

Loss of Jobs darker title

Additional Reading:

Course Overview: Workplace Bullying is a Leadership Issue that Leaders Can Change

Characteristic Types, Roles and Groups of Bullying

Why Workplace Bullying is a Leadership Issue

Workplace Bullying Definitions

Source: Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the online survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S., January 27-28, 2014. The margin of error is +/-3.2 % points. Graphic Images, (WBI).

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.