High Cost of Workplace Abuse

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As an employer, you have the opportunity to significantly improve your workplace environment and company performance by addressing workplace bullying. Here’s how tackling this issue can benefit your organization:

  1. Reduce Health Costs: Bullying leads to stress-related health issues, which increase healthcare costs. Creating a supportive environment can reduce these expenses.
  2. Lower Absenteeism and Turnover: A bullying-free workplace encourages employee attendance and retention, saving the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.
  3. Improve Morale and Encourage Innovation: Employees who feel safe and valued are more likely to be engaged, productive, and innovative.
  4. Protect Against Costly Litigation: Implementing anti-bullying policies can shield your company from legal issues and the associated financial burdens.

The Prevalence and Impact of Workplace Bullying

Polls indicate that at least one in four workers experience bullying at work, typically by a manager or supervisor. The effects are severe, with victims often feeling broken, humiliated, emotionally battered, and isolated. In extreme cases, they may even feel suicidal or homicidal. This abuse not only harms the victim but also affects co-workers who witness the bullying and ultimately impacts the company’s bottom line.

Expert Guidance and Legal Insight

Patricia Barnes, an attorney with experience in domestic violence and employment law, specializes in workplace abuse awareness, training, remediation, policies, procedures, and litigation avoidance. Her insights are crucial in understanding and addressing the legal aspects of workplace abuse, particularly bullying. The U.S. lags behind other industrialized nations in tackling this issue, making it essential for American employers to take proactive measures.

Leveraging Latenode to Combat Workplace Bullying

To effectively address workplace bullying and foster a positive work environment, consider leveraging automation tools like Latenode. Here’s how Latenode can assist:

  1. Automated Reporting and Tracking: Implement a confidential system for reporting bullying incidents, ensuring all cases are documented and investigated promptly.
  2. Policy Enforcement: Use automated systems to disseminate and enforce anti-bullying policies, ensuring all employees are aware of the company’s stance against bullying.
  3. Training Programs: Schedule and manage regular training sessions on workplace bullying awareness and prevention for employees and managers.
  4. Data Analysis: Utilize AI to analyze workplace interactions and detect patterns of bullying, enabling early intervention.
  5. Support Systems: Provide automated access to support resources for victims, including counseling and legal assistance, to help them navigate their experiences.

By utilizing Latenode’s automation capabilities, you can create a safer, more inclusive workplace, reduce the negative impacts of bullying, and enhance overall company performance. This proactive approach not only improves employee well-being but also strengthens your company’s reputation and protects it from potential legal challenges.

The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) declares that “every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and dignity.”  The EU reported that 19 countries in 2011 had legislation or binding collective agreements to address stress or other psychological risks at work.  In North America, several Canadian provinces  (Quebec,  Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario)  have adopted legislation or regulations  to combat workplace bullying, which is alternately known as” mobbing” or “emotional harassment.”

This blog is a member of the coalition Protect-US-Workers that has launched a petition drive asking U.S. President Barack H. Obama to formulate a national response to the problem of workplace bullying.

In addition to its appalling human toll, workplace abuse costs employers and society billions each year – as much as $300 billion –  and contributes to actual  physical violence in the workplace.

The problem spurred a grassroots movement  in the U.S. in 2002 to pass legislation on a state-by-state basis to give targets a right to sue in civil court for damages.  But no state has passed workplace anti-bully legislation. Unless a target falls under the umbrella of state and federal discrimination laws, he/she has little, if any, legal recourse. Courts are either appallingly ignorant or ambivalent about this problem and routinely dismiss these cases in the very earliest stage, before they can even get to a jury.

Some advocates say the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health  Administration should address workplace bullying as a serious health and safety issue under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  The OSH Act requires all employers to provide workers with a workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”  Overwhelming research shows that workplace bullying causes targets to suffer potentially serious mental and physical damage, from anxiety and depression to cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders.

Bullies use many of the same power and control tactics as a batterer in an intimate relationship.  Some learned abusive behaviors from their supervisors and will  in turn teach these misguided “management tactics” to subordinates, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Some bullies are actual psychopaths or have psychopathic tendencies. Sometimes the bully is not an individual but an employer using “strategic harassment” to drive out good employees to avoid a legal obligation, such as downsizing without paying unemployment benefits, or to rid the workplace of a “troublemaker” who demands legal rights.

Workplace bullying  exists because employers allow it to exist.  It exists because state and federal governments  have turned a blind eye to the suffering of literally millions of American workers each year.  It  exists because courts are biased toward employers and perpetuate the outdated concept that abuse is acceptable in the workplace.

Abuse is not acceptable in other spheres of society and it should not be tolerated n the workplace. American workers, like workers in Europe, Canada, Australia and other parts of the world, have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Ms. Barnes can be reached at: [email protected].



Your feedback and suggestions are welcome Please share your opinions and your experience dealing with the problem of workplace abuse. Thanks for visiting! 

Patricia Barnes and “When the Abuser Goes to Work” (2012)