A new study by CareerBuilder.ca finds 45% of workers said they have felt bullied at work; a third of these workers reported they suffered health-related problems as a result of bullying and 26% decided to quit their jobs to escape the situation. The study also found nearly half of workers don’t confront their bullies and the majority of incidents go unreported. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from May 14 to June 4, 2012 and included more than 550 workers nationwide.
Of workers who felt bullied, most pointed to incidents with their co-workers (24%) or boss (23%), while 17% have been picked on by customers, and 17% by someone higher up in the company other than their boss. More than half (55%) of those bullied said they were bullied by someone older than they were, while 26% said the bully was younger.
The most common way workers reported being bullied was not being acknowledged and the use of double standards followed by getting blamed for mistakes they didn’t make. The full list includes:
- Used different standards/policies toward me than other workers – 50%
- Ignored – 49%
- Falsely accused of mistakes – 47%
- Constantly criticized – 36%
- Belittling comments were made about my work during meetings – 30%
- Someone didn’t perform certain duties, which negatively impacted my work – 30%
- Gossiped about – 29%
- Someone stole credit for my work – 25%
- Yelled at by boss in front of coworkers – 24%
- Purposely excluded from projects or meetings – 22%
- Picked on for personal attributes – 20%
“How workers define bullying can vary considerably, but it is often tied to patterns of unfair treatment,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Bullying can have a significant impact on both individual and company performance. It’s important to cite specific incidents when addressing the situation with the bully or a company authority and keep focused on finding a resolution.”
More than half (54%) of victims reported confronting the bully themselves, while 46% did not. Of those who confronted the bully, 43% said the bullying stopped while 14% said it got worse, and 44% said the bullying didn’t change at all. A third of workers who felt bullied reported it to their Human Resources department.
If you’re feeling bullied in the workplace, remember the following tips:
- Keep record of all incidents of bullying, documenting places, times, what happened and who was present.
- Consider talking to the bully, providing examples of how you felt treated unfairly. Chances are the bully may not be aware that he/she is making you feel this way.
- Always focus on resolution. When sharing examples with the bully or a company authority, center the discussions around how to make the working situation better or how things could be handled differently.
This survey was conducted online within Canada by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.ca among 552 Canadian workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between May 14 and June 4, 2012(percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 552 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 4.17 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.