Emotional Distress Caused by Workplace Bullies

Published: 21st July 2009
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Emotional distress claims at workplace are usually caused by workplace bullying by a superior or a co-employee.

The emotional distress could be caused by actions by an individual or a group and workplace bullying can take on different forms.

Workplace bullying can be verbal, non-verbal, psychological, physical abuse or threats of physical abuse. Sometimes bullying can come in the form of passive-aggressive behavior as well.

To define workplace bullying, it refers to the tendency of an individual or a group of individuals to commit persistent and consistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a fellow employee.

It is usually difficult for victims of emotional distress to take action because these workplace bullies usually operate within the established rules and procedures of the business organization.

Here are some examples of workplace bullying that can lead to emotional distress:

• Character assassination

• Not providing resources in a fair manner

• Social ostracizing or isolation

• Physical assault

• Destruction of property or work product

• Falsely accusing someone of work error

Health Effects

According to studies, it was discovered that workplace bullying affects the health of employees.

Workplace bullying could lead to various negative effects in the body that leads to physical, psychological and emotional distress.

As a result, it causes more workers to use "sick days" or take time off from work.

In addition, it does not only affect the individual targeted by the bullying but those around him/her as well.

Studies also discovered that there are negative effects such as fear, stress and increased emotional distress to those who witnesses the workplace bullying.

Likely Targets

The usual targets of workplace bullies are people who are cooperative and have a non-confrontational personality.

With regards to specific demographics, statistics show that 57% of those who reported being a victim of workplace bullying are women and that 60% of those likely to be workplace bullies are men.

The funny thing about it is that the targets of most women bullies are also women.

In terms of race, people of Hispanic race are most likely to be targeted or have been a victim of workplace bullying.

Taking action

The first thing to consider is if there really is workplace bullying. If a boss screams or insults an employee, it may be because of a poorly done job. If two employees are hostile to each other because of a personal conflict then it is not workplace bullying.

Although all these can cause emotional distress, the courts are not expected to resolve every personal conflict that arises in the workplace. They still encourage that the company resolve it internally.

To know if your emotional distress is caused by workplace bullying, consider the following factors:

• Consistency - If the mistreatment occurs regularly over a long period of time

• Escalation - Workplace bullying usually increase in hostility and aggression over time

• Malicious intent - The bullies are acting on a desire to deliberately harm or humiliate someone

If you are suffering from emotional distress because of workplace bullying, you should seek legal assistance to help you take legal actions. An employment attorney should be able to help you file an emotional distress at workplace claim against the offending party.

To pursue emotional distress claims caused by discrimination, get help from our professional employment attorneys. Visit our website and call our toll free number.

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