NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- With children heading back to school and parents potentially fearing a rekindling of any bullying that occurred last year, many may not realize that grown-ups face similar ostracism after the morning school drop off: Workplace bullying.
EAP care managers at ValueOptions®, the nation's largest independent behavioral health and wellness company, have noticed an increase in people accessing the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) because they are being bullied on the job.
"When you see it on the playground, it's clear," said Rich Paul, vice president of Health & Performance Solutions at ValueOptions®. "At work, bullying can be less obvious and occur over a long period of time, resulting in extreme stress and anxiety for the employee."
The stress caused by being bullied on the job can cause physical and mental health problems, can result in increased use of sick days and has affected many bullying victims so greatly that they experience posttraumatic stress disorder, experts say.
"Workplace bullying doesn't just affect the person being bullied," Paul said. "It divides work teams, distracts from the job and causes untold hours and days of lost productivity for the employer." One alarming trend, notes Paul, is the rise of group bullying, which isolates and targets an employee for his or her differences.
Bullying on the job takes many forms: a manager assigning undesirable work, encouraging someone to quit or transfer, stealing credit for another person's work or verbal put-downs of race, gender, an accent or disability.
The Workplace Bullying Institute reports that the top five tactics used by workplace bullies are:
- Falsely accusing someone of errors that weren't made
- Staring, intimidating or otherwise showing hostility
- Discounting a person's thoughts during a meeting
- Using the silent treatment to isolate
- Exhibiting unpredictable mood swings in front of the group.
Bullying is often masked as a communication issue and, as such, may not receive the attention it deserves, Paul said. For many bullies, their behavior has never been challenged, and they are often shocked when this behavior is ultimately addressed as a performance issue.
Paul recommends that employers use their Employee Assistance Program to consult with managers and employees about how to best address on-the-job bullying.
"Employers need to be diligent in addressing workplace bullying and understand the potential consequences of ignoring it," Paul said. "Not only can bullying become a morale and productivity issue, but when victims of bullying finally reach their boiling point, they may quit or lash out at company property or co-workers."
About ValueOptions®, Inc.
ValueOptions® Inc., the nation's largest independent behavioral health and wellness company, provides services to more than 23 million individuals through a variety of contracts with state and county agencies and, additionally, with health plans and employers. ValueOptions® specializes in management for all behavioral health issues and promotes health and wellness through innovative programs. The mission of ValueOptions is to improve the health and wellness for the people it serves.
SOURCE ValueOptions, Inc.