Workplace bullying can seem like the set up for a Dilbert cartoon. But if you’re the target, it’s no laughing matter.
John Challenger is CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
“It’s a big issue for people who are being bullied [to] have a boss who singles them out and yet are in a job where they just can’t afford to leave the job, take the risk of being unemployed. It puts them in an untenable position.”
Harassment can range from verbal abuse to sabotage of a target’s work. In extreme cases, it can lead to violence. Victims are often reluctant to report the mistreatment to their human resources office.
“There is risk. Sometimes it puts that person in a position where they could lose their job. Often their boss is the bully.”
Challenger says that as hiring improves, many workers who rode out the recession in place will start to look for better jobs. For offices with a bullying problem, he says, that could lead to an exodus of talent.