"Occupational psychologists believe that workplace bullying is a growing social problem in the US. This has been proven by a 2007 study which showed that 24 percent of employees have been bullied in their workplace at some point in their life, while 12 percent said they have witnessed an incident of workplace violence.
Several studies suggested that majority of cases of workplace bullying and harassment were perpetrated by managers, supervisors, and other high-ranking employees.
According to Work Trauma Foundation, workplace violence comes in three forms:
1. Physical Violence
The perpetrator uses physical force against another person or group that intends to cause sexual, physical, or psychological harm.
Examples of physical violence are kicking, pushing, slapping, and beating.
2. Psychological Violence
This kind of violence includes bullying/mobbing, intimidation, threats, and harassment. The use of physical force may also be considered as a form of psychological violence.
Sociologists believe that most cases of psychological violence are rooted from discrimination (based on gender, age, disability, race, etc.) and are commonly used to retaliate against a worker who filed a complaint about discrimination.
3. Structural Violence
This kind of violence usually involves unfair company policy, intentional use of power, and organizational system that targets certain individuals or groups, thus creating an abusive workplace for them.
These are some of the examples of structural violence: giving unrealistic workload to a certain person or group; policies and regulations that are discriminatory in nature; and intimidation.
Psychological Ramifications of Bullying and Violence
Some experts believe that one of the main purposes of bullying is to isolate a person in the workplace. By doing this, perpetrators think that their target will have no way to defend himself.
In addition, some psychologists believe that workplace bullying is an assertion of power through aggression which comes in many forms: intimidation, humiliation, and lowering the morale of a person.
Meanwhile, several studies found that victims of workplace bullying experience severe stress, depression, sleep deprivation, chronic headache and stomachache, and low self-esteem.
There are also some reported cases in which workers had committed suicide after experiencing workplace bullying.
Preventing Harassment and Bullying
Most cases of harassment and bullying are rooted from discrimination based on a workers gender, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability. With this, the federal law makes employers generally liable for such abusive practices.
But sometimes, bullying is a way to retaliate against a person who has reported an incident of discrimination or violations and fraud committed by his company.
If the workplace bullying and harassment is rooted to discrimination and retaliation, victims should report the incident to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
There are also labor departments and organizations that provide legal assistance and moral support to victims of workplace bullying. "
To help you deal with issues involving harassment in the workplace, consult with our experienced employment law attorneys. Visit our website and dial our toll free number.