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Act Now to Stop Bullying at Work

Bullying behavior doesn’t just happen on the playground. It can happen in the work place too. 

Feel you are being bullied? The offensive behavior probably began long ago. But like many bully victims, you may have remained quiet because you didn't want to seem professionally immature. 

Now, the offenses have gone from your boss criticizing everything about you and making unreasonable demands, to outright intimidation, work sabotage and verbal abuse. When you do mention his behavior to others, their response is, "just tell him to stop" or "he's really a great guy." 

In fact, now you are afraid that you will come across as paranoid if you try to report it to someone. 

As lonely as it feels, you are not alone. 

According the 2014 Workplace Bullying Institute's U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey of 1,000 adults, a total of 65.6 million workers have been affected by bullying. (

The report also says, 
•    27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work
•    21% have witnessed it and
•    72% are aware that workplace bullying happens.  

Furthermore, bullying happens at all levels. It happens from the top down 56% of the time; between coworkers 33% of the time and from the bottom up 11% of the time. 

If you are ready to take control of your situation, you have a tough road ahead. 

"Don't bother confronting the bully; they have no fear," said Gary Namie, Ph.D., director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, the only U.S. research and education organization with a focus on bullying at work. "Fighting is hard because it's hard to find someone to support you in that culture," he said. 

Namie shared these tips to overcoming an abusive situation:

1.    Get yourself some time off, with pay. If the abuse is affecting your health, your physician can give you a time off order. It's the only way to get healthy and plan your next steps. Short-term disability may provide financial support that worker's compensation and FMLA may not. 

2.    Build your business case. Use this stress-free time to research and estimate the costs associated with bullying, such as turnover, absenteeism, healthcare, litigation, etc. for help, check out the Estimating the Cost of Bullying Worksheet (

3.    Create an action plan. With the research you prepared, compose an unemotional argument to present to the highest level that you can. You will need to find someone who is not related to the bullying and who is not in HR. Once you find the person who can demand the behavior be stopped, request an in-person meeting to propose a cost savings plan from the research you prepared. Remember to stick to the facts. The person may still choose the bully over you, but then you'll know that the next step should be out of the door. This is a great time to start your job search.

4.    Finally, help make a difference for others by joining the Healthy Workplace Campaign ( Only 26 states since 2003 have introduced the Healthy Workplace Bill and not one law has been enacted. However, there are 15 states with 21 active bills that address this abusive conduct at work.

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