Bullying at Work

Most individuals do not worry about running into bullies when entering the workforce, as most people think this is something they left behind in grade school. However, throughout the years, research has focused more and more on how bullying at work can impact adults. 

Bullying at Work
Bullying at Work

Bullying Behaviors in the Workplace

Due to ongoing research, there are many workplace behaviors towards others that have been identified as bullying. These behaviors can target one individual or a group of individuals and can occur in numerous ways where individuals are ridiculed, humiliated, or treated unfairly. Research has shown that approximately 19% of individuals have experienced bullying in the workplace while over 60% are aware of the bullying. 

Every individual may face some criticism in the work environment; however, when an individual is being bullied by someone who holds more power, the criticism is meant to humiliate the targeted individual. These behaviors may occur in various ways, such as excessive monitoring, threats, pranks and inappropriate jokes, given false information that impacts the individual’s work performance, and being denied basic employment benefits. Many individuals may fear reporting bullying in the workplace due to the possibility of experiencing some retaliation. They may fear that that retaliation may impact their chances of gaining a promotion or they may be accused of fabricating information, ultimately impacting their reputation in the workplace.

Effects of Bullying on Mental and Physical Health

Being a victim of bullying may impact an individual in various ways, including their mental and physical health. The ongoing stress and anxiety symptoms as a direct result of workplace bullying may lead to the individual to experience somatic symptoms, such as stomachaches, digestive problems, headaches, or changes in appetite. Increased stress could also lead to high blood pressure, difficulties sleeping, decreased self-esteem, anxiety, excessive worry and depression. In extreme cases, some individuals may begin to experience suicidal ideation when their work environment is hostile and intimidating.

Ways to Address Bullying in the Workplace

The majority of individuals feel at a loss when they are bullied in the workplace. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively address these inappropriate behaviors in the workplace despite feeling powerless. Reporting the bullying at work to the human resources department is crucial. Most companies will have policies put in place for these behaviors, which can also provide guidance to resolve the issue. When reporting behaviors considered to be bullying, the individual should provide documented evidence of the bullying, detailing when and where the bullying occurred. In addition, seeking legal advice may be necessary if company policies and your rights are not being respected. 

Due to the significant amount of stress that is associated with resolving bullying in the workplace, it is often recommended that victims of bullying seek psychotherapy services. A qualified psychologist can provide support while helping the individual cope with the difficulties associated with workplace bullying through therapy. Licensed psychologists at Miami Psychology Group are currently accepting patients in the Miami and Miami Beach area. Please contact us for further information.