Workplace Bullying: 3 Reasons One Georgia County Government Banned Bullying
What will it take for employers to enact and enforce anti-bullying legislation, prohibitions, and policies to make a difference for targets of bullying? One county government in Georgia is leading the way. Taking a stand for the rights targets of bullying, forward-thinking leaders in Fulton County, Georgia banned bullying for government employees in the workplace, making it a fireable offense.
Workplace bullying is defined as malicious, intentional, abusive behaviors, not including physical violence. If that awful behavior isn’t enough to encourage employers to prohibit workplace bullying, here are the additional reasons that motivated Fulton County.
Reason #1: Workplace Bullying is Bad for Worker’s Physical Health
Bullying doesn’t just feel bad, it is very bad for your body. From the article, “Voluminous research links prolonged bullying and accompanying stress to cardiovascular problems that include hypertension, heart disease and strokes. It has also been linked to gastrointestinal disease; neurological changes that affect memory, concentration and decision making; and accelerated aging from telomere damage that interferes with cellular replication”
Reason #2: Workplace Bullying Causes Psychological Harm
If the physical problems weren’t bad enough, serious psychological harm can be incurred from prolonged bullying at work. “Psychological and emotional problems can range from panic attacks, anxiety, clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to suicide.”
Reason #3: Workplace Bullying is Bad for the Bottom Line
And who pays for all the lost sick time, lost productivity, and turnover? Ultimately, it is the employer who absorbs the loss, a loss that is extremely expensive.
These losses are unnecessary, and preventable. Despite this, most businesses either ignore, or worse yet, foster workplace bullying. Some believe it is good management to intimidate, abuse, and threaten employees. Others are afraid to stand up to the bully for fear they too will become a target. And still others do not have the power or authority to take action against someone who is bullying others.
For Fulton County, the decision to ban bullying was based on the crucial understanding that workplace bullying costs business and government money and wastes the time and energy of workers, as well as causing physical and psychological harm.
What more data do you need to lead a charge to secure a bully-free environment?
I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.
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