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Being Bullied? You’re Not Alone.

Many workers are being bullied in the workplace according to CareerBuilder

CB Bully at workOver the past few years, bullying has made headlines, particularly tragedies that resulted from bullying by kids at school. But is seems that there’s a lot of bullying going on in the workplace too according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.

Almost one third of workers (28 percent) reported that they have felt bullied at work, with almost one-in-five (19 percent) saying that they have left their jobs because of it. The report notes that while certain minorities and those with lower incomes report higher instances, no one in the workforce is immune to bullying.

“One of the most surprising takeaways from the study was that bullying impacts workers of all backgrounds regardless of race, education, income and level of authority within an organization,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Many of the workers who have experienced this don’t confront the bully or elect not to report the incidents, which can prolong a negative work experience that leads some to leave their jobs.”

Among respondents who reported being bullied sometime during their careers, almost one in four (24 percent) said they are being bullied in their current position. Those in management roles said they were most likely to report being bullied. Of survey respondents who reported being bullied at some point in their careers, those who said they were currently being bullied at work were as follows”

Job Level

  • Management (manager, director, team leader, vice president and above) – 27 percent
  • Professional and technical – 21 percent
  • Entry-level/administrative and clerical– 26 percent

Highest Level of Education Attained

  • High school graduate – 28 percent
  • Associate’s degree – 21 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher – 23 percent

Compensation Level

  • Earning less than $50,000 – 28 percent
  • Earning $50,000 or more – 19 percent


Bullies and Bad Behaviors

So who are the bullies? Among workers who said they felt bullied at work 45 percent said the primary culprit was the boss, while 25 percent said it was someone higher up in the organization but not their boss. Forty-six percent cited a coworker as being the bully. While more than half (53 percent) of those who reported being bullied said the perpetrator was someone older, one quarter (25 percent) reported being bullied by someone younger.

While what constitutes bullying varies by whom you talked to there are some behaviors that were noted by respondents. The top seven ways respondents felt bullied on the job were:

  • Falsely accused of mistakes he/she didn’t make – 43 percent
  • Comments were ignored, dismissed or not acknowledged – 41 percent
  • A different set of standards or policies was used for the worker – 37 percent
  • Gossip was spread about the worker – 34 percent
  • Constantly criticized by the boss or co-workers – 32 percent
  • Belittling comments were made about the person’s work during meetings – 29 percent
  • Yelled at by the boss in front of co-workers – 27 percent

What You Can Do

The study reported that nearly half (48 percent) of those who were bullied at work confronted the bully in attempt to stop the behavior. Of those who challenged the bully 45 percent said the behavior stopped while 44 percent said it didn’t make a difference and 11 percent reported that the situation got worse.

While nearly one third (32 percent) said they reported bullying behavior to Human Resources, sadly more than half (58 percent) said that no action was taken.

To read the full report visit CareerBuilder.

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