Bullying in the workplace is an international issue

If you thought you left bullying behind along with jump ropes and gym uniforms, think again. The Workplace Bullying Institute, yes there is such a thing, reported last year that 37 percent of the U.S workforce or 54 million employees are being bullied now or have been bullied at the workplace at some point during their careers.

"Organizations don't realize that just rude behaviors, ongoing discourteous types of behaviors, have such negative effects on employees," Sandy Hershcovis, assistant professor of business at the University of Manitoba, told livescience.com.

Although there are no laws on the books, several states have considered healthy workplace legislation to ban bullying behaviors, according to The Inside Training Newsletter. Since 2003, these states have included: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

A form of workplace aggression, bullying behaviors include incivility, yelling, spreading gossip or lies, insulting employees, as well as hostility, verbal aggression, and angry exchanges. Various proposed laws define abusive conduct in a broad sense as "conduct of an employer or another employee that a reasonable person would find hostile or offensive," Susan K. Lessack, a partner with Pepper Hamilton's Labor and Employment Group told The Inside Training Newsletter.

For the past few years, Britain has held a Ban Bullying at Work Day with more than 300 organizations and an estimated three million workers participating. On the official day, employers are encouraged to promote bullying awareness, inform employees of company policies on bullying, and distribute promotional materials. The UK's Ban Bullying at Work Day is scheduled for November 7. The Ban Bullying at Work Web site states, "Workplace bullying is a silent disease affecting millions of people through the UK. Nobody is immune, so turning a blind eye or a deaf ear is no longer an option."

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