The High Cost of Bullying

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The truth is, workplace bullies are too expensive for employers to keep. Bullying costs individual workers, families, co-workers, companies, institutions, tax payers, government, and society.

"Bullies only try to hire, and they only tolerate, their own kind. When the unfit are hired and retained, there are direct costs with the damages they do and the costs of removing them, but there are also lost opportunity costs in terms of all the good that could have been done not being done because the non-bullies and competent were not hired.

As Plato put it: “Those who seek power are invariably the least fit to hold and wield it.” Indeed it seems that personality disorders such as narcisism, megalomania, bullying and others are requisite for management positions in academia, business, government and even non-profits." James Craven 6-26-08

Costs to State and Federal Government:

State Disability costs (SDI) 60% of Target salary Social Security Disability costs
Unemployment benefits costs
Medicare, Medi-Cal
SSI (Supplemental Security Income )
Vocational rehabilitation costs
Legal expenses by both sides @ $250 HR. for attorneys, $150 for investigators, & salaries for all others, include the time taken to cover/defend oneself throughout the entire ordeal
In Federal losses: Loss for Internal Revenue Service as SDI is not taxable!

"Workplace bullying is 4300 times more common than workplace homicide, 4 times more common than physical workplace assault, 2-3 times more common than illegal Civil Rights Violations. Half of all perpetrators are women." Workplace Bullying and Trauma Insitute
Examples of Costs to Companies:
Loss of productivity for Target and other employees
Huge Legal costs (lawyer fee $250.00 an hour)
EEOC mediation settlement cost
Court settlement costs
Sick leave costs
Disability cost
Unemployment contribution by the employer
Time lost in futile meetings between lawyer and directors, between director and Target
Loss of cooperation from other employees, low moral induces loss of cooperation and causes loss of revenues
Low morale might even cause other employees to quit
Cost of losing an employee (1 yearly salary)
Cost of hiring and training a new employee
Cost of a temporary agency and loss of business and income caused by an inexperienced employee's mistakes
Extra costs for End of Fiscal Year audits in case of too many employees quitting in any Departments
If case taken to court, media coverage produces loss of business and customers

Examples of costs to targets:

Time-off from work
Healthcare costs, medicine and visits to the doctors, psychoanalyses, therapist etc. for target and family's members not being reimbursed by insurance
Mileages and car costs for doctors visits, therapist session and support meetings
Huge Legal costs
Time off from work for family member to take target to doctors
Relocation expenses if target has to move to a cheaper place
Expenses related to the loss of target house if unable to make mortgage payment due to loss of employment
Time spent in research, letters writing, meetings to fight back
Cost of legal books, paper, printer ink, use of computer, telephone bills etc.
Expenses for job hunting
Divorce costs
Pain and suffering
A new contribution of thoughts, thank you:
Loss of employability based on slander and liable that bullys get away with.
Creates a normative culture.
Impact to children of income earner.
Lost healthcare insurance
It's really not able to be captured within a list.  It is a devastating circumstance that is like being a prisoner of war with psychological torture.  What a waste of good talent, worker productivity, and a life.

To find out more, or contribute to this list, contact us at:


This information was assembled and provided by group members of California Healthy Workplace Advocates, based on our personal knowledge and experiences.