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Workplace Bullying Institute Logo

Workplace Bullying Still Rampant in US

Latest US workplace bullying survey results from WBI
PRLog (Press Release)Aug 30, 2010 – In August, 2010 the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) commissioned Zogby International to conduct a survey of adult Americans. The results showed that workplace bullying is still a problem for 53 million Americans. In the scientific, national poll [], 34.4% of Americans report personally being bullied. In the frequently cited 2007 WBI-Zogby survey, the comparable figure was 37%. By including those who only witness it, 49% of the population is aware of bullying at work, while 51% say that have neither experienced nor seen it.

Workplace bullying was defined as "repeated mistreatment: sabotage by others that prevented work from getting done, verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation or humiliation."

In a separate survey, a representative sample of 4,210 respondents was asked about employer engagement in anti-bullying activities. The vast majority (79%) either were not sure or were certain that employers do little to nothing to address it. Remarkably, 21% believed that U.S. employers are currently addressing it through policies and enforcement.

Though the question specifically asked about an anti-bullying policy separate from harassment and violence policies, which most employers do have, one-fifth of respondents still believed that employers had additional procedures to stop bullying.

"This surprising result is probably wishful thinking by bullied individuals and their friends who want to believe that their employer cares about them," says Dr. Gary Namie, WBI Director. "Similar studies in Scandinavian countries where anti-bullying laws began in the mid-1990's find a much lower employer compliance rate."

The positive attitude toward employers was further illustrated by 56% of respondents reporting confidence that American employers would voluntarily stop bullying without being mandated by law to do so. Only 32% disagreed, believing only a legal obligation would compel action.

Respondents were also asked whether they support or oppose workplace bullying laws like the ones that have been introduced in 17 states since 2003 by the Healthy Workplace Bill Campaign []. In 2010, both the New York and Illinois Senates passed the bill. However it has not yet become law in any state.

Of the WBI-Zogby respondents, 64% supported having laws to protect workers from "malicious, health-harming abusive conduct" committed by bosses and co-workers (the specific language contained in the introduced bills). 23.8% opposed laws. Gary Namie concludes, "Clearly a majority of Americans want a law. This statistic will be given to lawmakers as proof of the popular appeal of such legislation."

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WBI is the only United States organization dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying that combines help for individuals, research, public education, consulting for employers, and legislative advocacy.

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