Nonetheless, when the actions of a coworker or higher-up appear to be both hostile and detrimental, it may be appropriate to consider filing a complaint or to take administrative steps to address it.
People with authority within an organization should familiarize themselves with different forms of bullying and the signs that bullying is occurring. Organizations should adopt a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy and communicate it to all employees. Human resources departments should be supportive of employees that lodge complaints about bullying. Employees should know the signs of bullying and not be afraid to go through proper channels to stop it.
Bullying causes damage to individuals and the organization. Employees begin to experience physical and psychological effects that cause their productivity and even job attendance to diminish. An individual's symptoms of bullying are anger, anxiety, family problems, frustration, headache, helplessness, self-isolation, withdrawal, inability to sleep, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, loss of confidence, panic, stomach pain, and vulnerability. The organizational effects of bullying are absenteeism, accidents, low morale, poor customer service, stress, high turnover, and all the costs associated with those things.
Forms of workplace bullying include things such as abusing someone physically, maliciously changing guidelines, criticizing excessively, discriminatorily excluding someone, gossiping, intimidating someone, making offensive jokes, shouting, spreading rumors, spying, tampering with another's belongings or workstation, sabotaging another's job, e.g., by withholding crucial information to which the bullied employee is entitled. Although there is some debate as to whether such behavior must be persistent to warrant being categorized as bullying, it can be argued that, since crimes do not have to be repeated in order to be prosecutable, a single instance of prima facie bullying behavior should constitute sufficient grounds for investigation.
Another moot point is whether "passive aggressive" behavior, such as non-compliance, withholding information and the like, should be categorized as bullying, which is normally understood to be active intimidation, interference, etc.
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