Is adult bullying just as serious as school bullying?
Yes! Some adults dread going to work, and not for the standard reasons, but because they are the target of adult bullying.
European researchers have been studying the phenomenon since the 1980s, but it’s only recently that the idea has gained traction in the United States. It is estimated that about 53.5 million Americans are bullied at work each year, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. This is approximately 35 percent of the entire U.S workforce.
What constitutes workplace or adult bullying?
The Society for Human Resource Management defines workplace bullying as behavior that is persistent, offensive, abusive or insulting, as well as unfair actions that cause the victim to feel threatened, abused, humiliated or vulnerable.
The biggest obstacle to combating workplace bullying is that there are no clear laws against it yet, like there are with sexual harassment. Forty-four percent of companies currently do not have a formal workplace bullying policy.
Workplace bullying can lead to serious health problems, including anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, and in some cases post-traumatic stress disorder.
Legislators are also beginning to take notice of these issues. New York created the Healthy Workplace Bill, which extended protections to victims of workplace bullying.
If you are being bullied at work, the first step is to contact your employer’s human resources department. It is also advised to keep a journal of incidents as evidence. If the problem persists, consider contacting the Workplace Bullying Institute.