Mar 18, 2024

Workplace Abuse: Bullying is Not Just For Kids

Workplace Abuse: Bullying is Not Just For Kids - A girl bullying her coworkers

Many of us associate bullying with schoolyard fights and childish name-calling. Bullying, however, is a pervasive problem beyond the schoolyard. It occurs among all age groups, sexes, and social groups.

Workplace bullying is described as “any workplace behavior that’s physically, mentally, or socially threatening.” It happens more frequently than most people realize. In fact, Forbes reports that 96% of Americans have experienced bullying of some kind in the workplace.

Workplace abuse is rarely physically violent, but covers an expansive array of workplace conduct – it can include verbal abuse, bias or discrimination, or even exclusion from company activities. Shouting or insulting an employee in front of his or her coworkers, denying wages, overtime, or equal pay are all considered workplace abuse. It happens all over the country, across industries, and regardless of the chain of command. Workplace bullying can be incredibly stressful, contributing to decreased productivity and issues outside of work.

Employees who have been the victim of workplace bullying may find it hard to cope with the stress of facing daily abuse. Workplace abuse can inflict terrible emotional distress on people, especially if they have been subjected to the abuse for long periods of time. Victims can experience lowered self-esteem, depression, high blood pressure, and even PTSD.

In 2014, the Workplace Bullying Institute asked people what “type” of personality would most likely be targeted in workplace abuse and mistreatment situations.  About 37% of the respondent- the majority- said that employees who were passionate and kind were the greatest targets. This means that, in most cases, victims of workplace abuse may have not actively done something to provoke the abuse, such as taunt their employees or fail to meet the requirements of the job. It’s important for victims of workplace bullying to confront the issue.

In many ways, workplace bullying can be the most malicious and harmful type of bullying as it can cause not only harm to the individual, but also financial and career instability. If you are facing workplace abuse, you do not- and should not- have to face it on your own. There are employment and discrimination laws that may help you in your situation. For example, it is illegal for an employer to terminate or demote an employee because of race, color, or national origin. An employer also cannot treat you differently based on your religious beliefs.

The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have vast experience in dealing with cases involving workplace abuse and unfair legal practices. If you or someone you love has experienced workplace abuse, contact us for more information about your legal options.