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Workplace bullying more pervasive than one may imagine

It has been reported that bullying is still as pervasive in the workplace as it was on the playground
It has been reported that bullying is still as pervasive in the workplace as it was on the playground

One might be under the impression that once kids get through the adolescent phases of elementary and high school that bullying becomes virtually non-existent. However, according to an article published by Chicago Tribune subsidiary RedEyeChicago, bullying continues to be pervasive even as children grow into adults and enter the workforce.

According to a 2010 study conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 35 percent of the 4,210 individuals polled responded that they had been victims of some kind of harassment in their place of employment.

Compounding the problem though is the fact that there is virtually no legal recourse that can be taken against a tormentor creating a hostile working environment. While the RedEye article mentions that a healthy workplace bill has been proposed in Illinois that would hold any wrongful parties responsible for negligence, the bill has been tied up in the bureaucracy for a year.

"Without legislation, it's up to each company to come up with an anti-bullying policy or unions to include anti-bullying language in their contracts," said Suzy Fox of Loyola University Chicago's Institute of Human Resources and Employment Relations. "Some companies think bullying … is covered generally in codes of conduct and employee ethics codes under harassment. But, the problem is when it's not specifically called bullying, the actual protection in many cases [doesn't] take place."

As such, it falls under the employer's job description to facilitate a workplace free from violence and bullying. While an employer may not feel confident in their ability to do so, turning to a workplace violence consultant to factor strategic action protocols into a business continuity plan is an excellent solution.

For example, by attending the Workshop On Emerging Trends And Approaches: Integrating And Collaborating Resources In Preventing Violence In The Workplace, at the Business Continuity Insights Management Conference 2012 starting on April 16, officials will gain valuable knowledge on how to issue specific statements against bullying, state that is will not be tolerated and create a system to safely report any incidents.