... And Employers Do Little to Stop It

Results of the scientific 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey shows epidemic prevalence, with women bearing the brunt of the bullying, employers failing to protect the bullied, and nearly unanimous support for creating a new law.

February 25 — The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defined workplace bullying as “abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or verbal abuse” in its 2014 national survey. Key results: 27 percent of all adult Americans have directly experienced it, 21 percent have witnessed it; 56 percent of the perpetrators are bosses, 68 percent of the perpetrators are male, and 60 percent of targets (recipients) are female.

Since WBI introduced workplace bullying to the country in 1997 public awareness has risen to 72 percent according to the new survey. Similarly positive is that the percentage of bullies who are bosses has declined over the years.

Employers do little to stop workplace bullying. The majority (72 percent) reacted to complaints in inappropriate ways: 25 percent did not investigate, 31 percent either discounted it as not serious or considered it routine, 11 percent defended bullies, and 5 percent actively encouraged the abuse.

In cases where bullying ended, targets lost their jobs 61 percent of the time — either terminated, forced to quit (constructively discharged) or voluntarily quit.

“Unfortunately the victims of this serious health-harming abuse are the ones asked to stop it,” says WBI director Dr. Gary Namie. “If there were a law as in Canada and other industrialized nations, employers would have to protect workers.” [Anti-bullying rules to take effect in B.C. workplaces] [British Columbia Anti-Workplace Bullying Legislation]

According to the survey an overwhelming majority of Americans (93 percent) supported enactment of a new law that would protect all workers from repeated abusive mistreatment at work. Only 1 percent strongly opposed such a measure.

WBI commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the survey of a national representative sample of all adult Americans (MOE ± 3.2 percent); Crowdfunded on Indiegogo with major support from OnLock Digital Authentication LLC.

WBI is the first and only U.S. organization dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying that combines help for individuals, research, books, public education, training for professionals-unions-employers, legislative advocacy, and consulting solutions for organizations. workplacebullying.org

Contact: Gary Namie, PhD, Workplace Bullying Institute, 360-656-6630
Mike Schlicht, New York State Coordinator (upstate), mikes@nyhwa.org 716-316-4388
Tom Witt, State Coordinator (downstate), TomWittNY@yahoo.com 516-426-5508

New York Healthy Workplace Advocates

Gregg Morris can be reached at gmorris@hunter.cuny.edu