Did you know that workplace bullying is four times more likely to occur than illegal discriminatory harassment? Did you even know that workplace bullying is a real issue?
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 37% of the U.S. workforce (an estimated 54 million Americans) report being bullied at work. An additional 12% witness it. Research conducted by the WBI in 2003 found that targeted individuals often suffer from debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, and even post-traumatic stress as a result of workplace bullying.
Workplace bullying is defined by the WBI as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators.” The WBI further defines workplace bullying as “abusive conduct” that:
- Is humiliating, intimidating, or threatening
- Interferes with or prevents the target’s ability to complete their work – it can be considered sabotage
- Is verbally abusive.
In most cases, workplace bullying is a result of the perpetrator’s need to control targeted individuals. The perpetrator, or bully, will often base their actions on doing things to other individuals in the workplace or will withhold resources from their co-workers. The bully will often have consequences in place for the target if they don’t comply. Bullies may get other co-workers to side with them, either voluntarily or by coercing them to do so.
So why is workplace bullying important to you? Many employers aren’t aware that this kind of behavior can occur in the workplace, and the company will suffer the consequences if a victim decides to take legal action. However, the definition of workplace bullying can be considered subjective based on an individual’s history in the workplace, making it a very difficult claim to defend, especially if you have not made any effort to address the issue within your organization. The cost of defending such a claim could be financially devastating.
Have you reviewed your company’s exposure to such a loss with your insurance agent? Do you know if you are covered? Through our insurance audit process, we can help uncover such gaps in your insurance policies and risk management program. Contact The Whitlock Group for more information today.