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BRIEF Poll: 90% of workers say they’ve been bullied at work

  • Ninety percent of professionals have been bullied at work, according to a new poll from Monster.
  • Monster data showed that 51% of respondents were bullied by their superiors. Nearly 40% said their bullying came from a fellow coworker. Four percent said they were bullied by a client, customer or someone else other than a coworker.
  • Monster cited the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), which defined bullying as “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; work sabotage; or verbal abuse.”

As the Monster poll revealed, more than half of respondents who were bullied reported their superiors as the perpetrators. Bosses who bully not only damage the mental well-being of their workers — they also compromise employee judgment and create safety risks, according to recent research from Portland State University. When workers face bullying, they’re more likely to forget safety procedures, according to the report.

Those whom bullies target may develop physical and psychological issues, Kim Shambrook, vice president, Safety Education, Training and Services for the National Safety Council, previously told HR Dive. These issues, along with the bullying itself, may drive absenteeism and turnover. HR won’t ever eradicate bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute Director Gary Namie previously told HR Dive, but it can take several steps to curb its presence in the workplace.

As HR moves to reduce bullying in the workplace, it may want to consider the consequences it will turn to when workers report bullying, Namie said. HR should be careful not to promote and praise a person who demonstrates aggressive behavior, he noted. It follows that HR will need to rely on a robust reporting system to ensure it investigates any reports of bullying, even if the allegations appear to be minor. HR may want to provide training to help supervisors, leaders and workers recognize bullying and know how to address it.

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