Updated 2/11/21. Originally Published 8/6/2015.

Today, you witnessed the racist, demeaning, or bullying behavior of one coworker towards another coworker, while sitting in the meeting.

Last week, you were the actual recipient of caustic tone, the public dismissals, or the microagression.

You noticed that recently you received constant rework assigned to you loudly, while team members witnessed your public humiliation.

Although a coworker witnessed the negative interaction, they did not address the bullying or aggression due to fear.  Secretly, the coworker fears that the workplace bully would turn the attention on them next. Maybe they were just a little relieved that “it wasn’t their turn” this week. 

Targets and witnesses of bullying may wonder if anyone notices the impact of the behavior on them.   Realistically, they may wonder if the organization cares, or has any reason to care.   If the behavior continues, will the organization feel any impact?  

Historically, especially, if the bullying behavior has been a part of the organization culture, and allowed to flourish unscathed, to the target and witness, it may appear that there is little consequence for such behavior within the organization. Is there in fact a cost to the organization?  The answer is a resounding “yes”!

There is a heavy price to pay as the recipient of bullying behavior. 

Does the organization in which this behavior exists – does the organization feel any consequences of such behavior?

COSTS OF THE BEHAVIOR

There is a heavy price to pay for workplace bullying, not just to workers, but also to organizations where the behavior occurs.  According to Catherine M. Mattice, author of the “Bad Behavior in the Workplace”, the costs of bad behavior can be calculated in the expenses incurred due to distraction from assigned work tasks, time lost from work, business expenses, legal costs in dealing with the issues of bullying behavior, and communication breakdown.”  Other workplace costs can include: 

Workplace Bullying:   7 Bottom-Line Costs to Your Organization

  1. Decreased Number of Customers
  2. Impact to Company Reputation
  3. Quality of Work Product Produced
  4. Increased Litigation Expenses
  5. Lost Productivity
  6. Increased Stress-related Illnesses
  7. Employee Absences

   $1 Million Dollars:    According to an article, written by Eric Goldschein and Kim Bhasin, entitled “14 Surprising Ways Employees Cost Their Companies Billions In The Workplace”, workplace bullying litigation settlements can range between $200,000 and $1.2 million.

   $8 Million  Dollars:   This does not include the reported average of $8 million in lost productivity expense.

Additionally, companies report increased Health Care Expenses, because of the behavior. According to a 2015 article posted on the http://www.allonehealth.com site, entitled “10 Facts You Need to Know About Workplace Bullying“, health costs to both the employer and the bullied victim increase in the workplace environment where bullying exists.  The victims frequently report loss of concentrations, anxiety, loss of sleep and frequent headaches because of the reported behavior.

Key actions to consider:   Tracking and measuring consistently the rising costs of workplace bullying.   Identifying  the investment value of proactive prevention of workplace bullying

Supporting those who are continually victimized in the workplace. Providing systems and processes raise awareness across an organization.


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Updated   12/12/17; 4/9/2020