Workplace bullying and workplace harassment are ugly members of the same family. They thrive in the workplace, wreaking havoc in the lives of innocent employees.
While workplace harassment and workplace bullying are closely related, they have some striking differences. For those of you who have been a target of workplace bullying – you need to know the real damage.
Here are some differences:
Sandy Hershcovis of University of Manitoba and Julian Barling of Queens University studied the relationship between one form of harassment – namely (sexual) harassment and workplace bullying. They found that those bullied were more stressed, angry and anxious, and were less committed and more likely to quit their jobs, than were victims of (sexual) harassment. Targets of workplace bullying also had a lower over-all sense of well-being.
Workplace Bullying: is deliberate, disrespectful and repeated behavior toward a target for the bully’s gain.
Harassment: is defined as “unwanted conduct that violates people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.
There are reasons why workplace bullying is more injurious than (sexual) harassment:
Dr. Heinz Lymann, a Swedish researcher, worked with victims of workplace mobbing. He found that the chances of healing were reduced if the perpetrator went unpunished, and the target was not properly supported. He further discovered that the chances of healing were reduced if the target felt that his or her safety was in question.
Employers need to sit up and take notice. If they want to have a healthy, committed work force they need to actively promote workplace harmony. Employers need to enforce strict rules prohibiting bullying at work, while governments need to pass solid legislation providing protection for targets.
Many places are facing a labor crunch and employers are competing for the best talent. Eventually, good employees will not tolerate workplace bullying of any form. Targets of workplace bullying, just as victims of sexual harassment, deserve the protection of their employers and their governments. Nothing less will suffice.
The REAL damage is that without effective workplace bullying policies and proper workplace bullying legislation, the problem of workplace bullying becomes a company culture issue, a societal issue, and a moral issue.
Stopping workplace bullying is everyone’s responsibility.
Does your company have a policy for workplace bullying? How effective or ineffective is it? What should a workplace bullying policy include? Feel free to contact us anytime to set up a free consultation.
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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.BullyFreeAtWork.com
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