The Effects on Mind and Body of Bullying in the Workplace

The boss humiliates you in a meeting before your co-workers. Your secretary gossips about you in the lunchroom spreading rumours about calls you receive. Your co-worker deliberately withholds crucial information that you needed to successfully complete a project. All of these are forms of workplace bullying, which is itself one of several types of workplace violence. And it’s not just you. The International Labor Organisation says workplace bullying has become so widespread that it represents the greatest threat to success in the workplace in the new millennium.

Definition of Workplace Bullying

Image: article supplied

Workplace bullying is a form of harassment, typically one that is repeated on a regular basis, carried out against a particular person and consists of behaviour done with the conscious intent of harming the target. Examples of workplace bullying include gossip, excluding someone socially, name-calling, threats, intimidation, constantly changing work guidelines, requiring more work for one person than that expected of others, making offensive jokes, setting a person up for failure, teasing, yelling or using profanities, unfairly refusing a person’s requests for leave or training, intruding on a person’s privacy or interfering with a person’s personal belongings.

Mental Effects

People who have been bullied in the workplace experience a wide range of problems. Many experience post traumatic stress disorder, in part because people self-identify so strongly with their work. Prolonged bullying may cause panic attacks, depression, stress breakdown, poor concentration, insecurity and compromised memory. Victims may become irritable, obsessive, hyper-vigilant or overly sensitive. They experience mood swings, indecision or a loss of humour, and may begin biting their nails, grinding their teeth or a relying on such substances as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or sleeping aids.

Physical Effects

Bullied employees experience a wide range of physical effects. The World Health Organisation ties together workplace stress, much of which is caused by bullying, to chronic fatigue syndrome. Bullying also causes stress, anxiety and a lowered resistance to such things as colds, coughs, flue and fever. Other reported symptoms include high blood pressure, migraine headaches, pains in the back and chest, hormone disturbances, physical numbness, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid problems, skin irritations and ulcers.

This was originally published by Chron.

Click here to read the entire article.

One Comment:

  1. Another failure in Duty of Care by employers is when a workplace fails to advise next-of-kin when an employee is absent without leave from work and does not respond to attempts to contact them. The effect of this in my experience was that treatment for a mental health issue was delayed because I was unaware of the situation (on repeated occasions). Effective protocols to check on the welfare of an employee should be in place, no matter how senior they are, and next-of-kin contacted immediately. There is no excuse for this not occurring; concern for welfare trumps “confidentiality” every time, and notifying next-of-kin of a concern for welfare is hardly a breach of confidentiality. And all this took place in a large city hospital, with a Psychiatrist as CEO! Disgraceful.

Leave a Reply