The Proper Way to Handle an Office Bully

Sue Ellen Eisenberg has been quoted in The Fiscal Times’ recent article about bullying in the workplace.  According to the article, bullying causes serious consequences for both employers and employees.  More than half of bullying targets report panic attacks as a result of the experience, 30 percent are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and about 60 percent had heart palpitations or hypertension.

Companies in which bullying happens also lose productivity from their workers.  Bullied employees are less productive, feel less attached to the companies they work for, and use more sick days.

Proper Way to Handle an Office Bully-219738391However, there are options for targets of bullying to pursue.  The article states:

“Targets should find out whether their employer has policies proscribing the bully’s behavior, says Sue Ellen Eisenberg, whose Michigan law firm focuses on employee rights. Some organizations now have specific anti-bullying policies, she says. (Forty percent of those surveyed in 2011 by SHRM did.) Others have guidelines that might cover bullying, like those that protect whistle-blowers, prevent retaliation, prohibit workplace sabotage, or ensure that there’s an open door to management to report behavior that’s disrupting workplace functioning, she says. …

“Eisenberg says victims can also consult an employment lawyer. Though there are no state laws prohibiting workplace bullying, depending on the specifics the abuse could be covered by harassment, discrimination, or stalking provisions of state or federal law. …”