After writing an article several months ago about the damage which can be done to school children who suffer from the attacks of fellow students who have bullying behaviors, I received information from a reader about a similar oppressive situation.
It is extremely important to gain control over school-aged bullying, teaching these children a more acceptable form of behavior because as this reader commented, children who develop bullying behavior typically grow up to abuse the adults in their lives.
While abusive adults play a big role in domestic violence, they also play a major role in abusive on-the-job situations. Far too often employees attempt their climb to success by stepping on anyone who may get in their way, belittling and picking at co-workers in order to make themselves look better. Just as often, too many employers and supervisors use abusive techniques to bring those under them into subjection. Both situations are unhealthy for both the abusers and those being abused as is evident by a comment from one reader.
"It's important that bullying be addressed in the schools because student bullies grow up to become bullies in the workplace," Leonard Nolt said. "I learned about workplace bullying the hard way at my former employer...where I was the target of a co-worker bully for over two and a half years before being forced to resign (after working there for 30 years), since I was becoming disabled by the bullying."
According to an article by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, work place bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power. This type of bullying includes repeated behavior that intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates workers in front of others, resulting in feelings of defenselessness in the abused. Behavior such as this weakens an individual's self-esteem while at work.
Individuals who suffer the effects of bullying can experience major physical and mental health problems. At times the outcome of a person being treated with such disrespect can result in post traumatic stress disorder, musculskeletal problems, phobias, sleep disturbances, depression and digestive problems. Because of the many physical and mental side effects abusive behavior produces, employees who find themselves the target of a boss or co-worker may experience many absences from work. This inappropriate behavior will affect both the employee and the company, according to the Washington State Department of Labor.
"Bullies do not run good organizations; staff turnover and sick leave will be high while morale and productivity will be low," the article said. "Stress, depression and physical health problems result in time away from work that is costly in terms of worker's compensation and lost productivity."
The Department of Labor offers some suggestions which might help individuals who become the target of workplace bullying. These people can regain control by recognizing they are being bullied and understanding they are not the source of the problem. The main reason a bully exhibits inappropriate behavior is to gain control over his or her target. Next, the victim should take action by keeping a detailed journal of the abuser's acts. If the bullying persists, the target must take the matter to his or her supervisor. Employers should create a zero-tolerance anti-bullying plan to help put an immediate stop to any bullying behaviors brought to their attention.
Although it might be easy for some people to ignore the bullying of a co-worker, no one wants to become the victim. Unless this type of inappropriate behavior is discouraged by co-workers and employers alike, everyone is at risk.