Employers should provide a safe workplace for employees and that includes addressing workplace bullying

The workplace serves as a second home to employees and should be a welcome place where people can express their creativity, do productive work and earn an honest living.  However, for some employees, it can be a place where they dread to work in but must still do so in order to support themselves or their families financially.  The reason behind may be because of a work place bully.

Workplace bullying has become prevalent in many organizations.  Employees who were bullied at work may have experienced verbal abuse, exclusion, being belittled in front of other employees or clients and other negative situations.  Regardless of the form of bullying, the employers are responsible in ensuring that they have the necessary policies and programs to help deal with workplace bullying.

Some businesses or organizations may not have their own anti-workplace bullying rules and may be relying on local or government ruling to cover such cases.   In Canada, most of the states have their own bullying legislation.  This helps to support bullied employees and protect other workers from experiencing the negative behaviors of work place bullies.  Still, it is important for business leaders and owners to have their own policies in place.

Ensuring that anti-bullying programs or policies are are enforced at work will benefit organizations in the long run, given that a positive working environment often yields highly productive employees.  Data from the Canada Safety Council shows that bully victims at the workplace lose 10 percent to 52 percent of work time from avoiding the bully, thinking of how to defend themselves from the bully, talking with co-workers to gain support and simply thinking about the workplace bullying situation.  Employers not addressing the issue may also find themselves subject of a legal action because of the work place bully.

The challenge to deal with bullies at work not only rests on the business leaders or human resources professionals.  Each employee also bears the responsibility of ensuring workplace bullying does not happen in the organization.


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Minnesota Set to Conduct Anti-Workplace Bullying Training for State Employees

October is the National Bullying Prevention month in the U.S. and while most of the anti-bullying activities set for this month are geared towards schools and young teens, some organizations are also taking the opportunity to launch informative sessions to fight workplace bullying.

One example is Minnesota’s series of anti-workplace bullying trainings for supervisors and employees working for the state.  This is in support of the new Respectful Workplace Policy that the state released earlier this year.  Minnesota’s new policy addressing workplace bullies was created with input from groups such as the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE).

According to Anne Moore, MAPE member and public information officer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the associated trainings for state employees will happen this month.

What’s interesting is that the training will feature a series of videos that will show how bullies behave in the workplace and the effect of those negative behaviors.  Using informative clips, such as what Minnesota plans to do, as part of a workplace bully prevention campaign is a good tool to show everybody how damaging bullying can be.

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Workplace Bullying as Prevalent as Domestic Abuse

One of the speakers in a workplace forum held in New Zealand, which was conducted by CultureSafe, said that workplace bullying is just as prevalent as domestic violence.  Robyn Hutchison is a promoter of employees taking a stand after she experienced an unjustified dismissal in May 2011.  Hutchinson even won the employment case she filed against her former employer over the dismissal.

She went on to state that at least one in five employees experience being bullied at work.  Hutchinson added that the prevalence of work place bullies in organizations stems from the reluctance of victims to stand up against the bullying and to speak out.  Similar to how victims of domestic violence deal with their situations, some may be hesitant to let other people know of the abusive behavior they encounter at home.  The same can be said for employees who were bullied at work.  Most of the time, bullied employees chose to remain silent and tried their best to cope with the situation.

However, this has a negative effect on bully victims, not only in terms of their productivity at work, it also impacts their health, both mentally and physically.  In worst cases, it can also lead to the victim contemplating thoughts of suicide.

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Workplace Bullying Hurts Both the Employee and Company


There’s a saying that bullies in the workplace are the same bullies one would have encountered at school, only much older.  In today’s competitive job market and working environment, more and more employees have become victims of work place bullies.  A nationwide survey sponsored by the Workplace Bullying Institute indicated that 27 percent of workplace respondents said that they were bullied at work, while another 21 percent reported to having witnessed a co-worker being abused or bullied in the workplace.

Needless to say, workplace bullying is painful for employees who became a victim of a work place bully.   Being subjected to humiliating situations and abusive bully behaviors are also detrimental to a person’s mental health.  In worst cases, it can even lead to suicide.

Addressing the issue of workplace bullying is not an easy task.  However, it is imperative for companies to learn how to deal with bullying and avoid such instances from happening in their organizations.  Turning a blind eye to such negative behaviors and not imposing policies covering bullying or having programs on anti-bullying, will eventually affect the company’s bottomline, productivity and employee retention.

What’s critical is for the organization’s leaders to accept accountability and have ownership over the issue, in order to combat workplace bullying.

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Upcoming Human Resources Training Series to Tackle Bullying and Other Workplace Regulations

A human resources consulting firm based in Vancouver, Canada will be conducting a three day human resources training this October that will tackle various workplace issues including bullying and harassment.  The informative training series will also touch on the effect of social media in the work place, as well as provide sessions on leadership, effective communications and workplace culture change.

The first day session will also cover the human rights of employees in the workplace and will incorporate topics such as dealing with discrimination, harassment, workplace bullying, along with abusive and disrespectful behaviors.  The training series is a timely session given the rising instances of bullying in the workplace.  Learning about work place bullies and how employees and employers can deal with it is very important for any organization.

Typically these information sessions also provide updates about legislations and rulings that would govern workplace bullying or harassment.  It would help also if the three day training will provide benchmark data and best practices that will aid organizations and human resource professionals in promoting and keeping a positive work environment.

For this three day learning session, Cruise HR Solutions will provide the essential skills and information about workplace issues.  The human resources training series will run on October 6, 13 and 20.

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How to Stop Workplace Bullying: Some Tips for Employers

We’ve been hearing a lot of reports on how workplace bullying has become a common occurrence in organizations.  Several studies and research also showed that the number of cases or victims of work place bullies is rising.  According to Sandi Verrecchia, President and CEO of Satori Consulting, workplace bullying is happening more frequently than it should.  Now, this actually sounds scary.  Such scenarios suggest unhealthy working environments and negative organization cultures.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides in having bullies at the work place, is that these individuals can chase away the company’s good employees.  Data from a book, “The Bully At Work,” showed that 40 percent of victims of workplace bullying decided to leave their job in order to avoid the abuse and negative working environment.  Surprisingly, 24 percent of the victims were fired by the organization. On the other hand, only 24 percent of these work place bullies were punished.

So what should employers do in order to stop workplace bullying?  Satori Consulting’s Verrecchia shared a few tips on how to address the issue.  Note that these tips may sound simple, but it may pose a challenge for some organizations, since it’s not only about adopting zero tolerance policies and workplace bullying prevention programs.  One key factor is being transparent and implementing a culture change that needs to come from the top, and not a bottom-up approach.

To learn more about the ways on how to combat workplace bullies, click here.

Victims of Workplace Bullying More Likely to Contemplate Suicide

Suicide is such a strong and scary word.  Who would have thought that an unhealthy working environment would push an employee so much that he or she would contemplate doing this?  According a Norwegian study, victims of workplace bullying, or those exposed to such hostile working environments, have a higher risk of thinking suicidal thoughts.

Morten Birkeland Nielsen, professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen, as well as lead author of the research paper, said that the study was evidence that workplace environments has an impact on a person’s mental health.

The study, which ran from 2005 until 2010, followed a sample of 1,850 people all throughout the five year period.  One of the findings of the research indicated that less than 5 percent of the participants reported thoughts of suicide during the period, however, they were twice as likely to do so after becoming victims of work place bullies.

Another highlight of the research showed that the perception of being bullied at work is actually a precursor of suicidal thoughts and not a consequence, according to Professor Nielsen.

To other people, this situation may seem too extreme.  However, for a bullied employee to contemplate taking his or her own life means that the workplace abuse has been going on for some time.  Although, for some victims of workplace bullying, the period of abuse may not matter.  It is the gravity of the act, or that feeling of helplessness that they can’t stop the situation, that may push a victim to think about suicide as an alternative to end the bullying.

Experts are now calling on organizations and businesses to take a closer and harder look at the issue of workplace bullying.  Learning to spot it, implementing anti-bullying programs and cultivating a positive working environment will help to protect the employees, and ultimately create a more productive organization.

To learn more about the details of the study, click here.