Media Release 07 May 2008: Workplace bullies too expensive to keep - Know Bull! Australia :: Workplace anti-bullying website

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Media Release 07 May 2008: Workplace bullies too expensive to keep

For Immediate Release

With an annual estimated cost of £18bn in the UK, $74 billion in the USA, and $6-$13 billion in Australia...‘workplace bullies’ are far too expensive to keep!

Bullying in the workplace is on the increase, largely 'unaddressed', and wreaking 'havoc' on staff, and organisational productivity said Australian-based Know Bull! when announcing the '
official' launch on 1st May 2008 of their website that’s designed to raise awareness of, and highlight the need for eradicating bullying from workplaces.

According to Ms Jennifer Wilkins, the founder of Know Bull!, workplace bullying research is scant at best. However, one of the most salient findings of the largest scientific survey of bullying in the US, the 2007 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, is that a staggering 83% of the workforce is affected by bullying either as bully 'targets', or as witnesses to bullying, and that in order to make the bullying stop—around 77% of bully 'targets' will lose their jobs. 

“While the ‘targets’ of workplace bullies endure a series of health-harming effects ranging anywhere from anxiety to post
traumatic stress —bullying in the workplace impacts on the entire organisation as a whole. With an estimated cost of £18bn in the UK, $74 billion in the USA, and $6-$13 billion in Australia...‘workplace bullies’ are just far too expensive to keep!” Ms Wilkins said.

The findings of the 2007 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey are both comprehensive and concerning.

“We suspect that similar results apply to the Australian context, but we require more up-to-date data in order to verify our suspicions one way, or the other. So, we’re asking that our website visitors take the time to fill in our 25-question, online survey.” Ms Wilkins stated. 

“The stark reality,” said Ms Wilkins, “is that no company or business can afford to ignore, or is immune, from bullying in the workplace. Just one serial bully has the potential to reduce the performance of their targets by half, and that of other employees by up to 33%. Workplace bullying can destroy morale, lower productivity, contribute to employee absenteeism, devastate a company’s culture, and ruin an organisation's reputation.”

“And dismissing workplace bullying as either ‘tough management’ or ‘personality clashes’ just doesn’t wash anymore,” Ms Wilkins said, “and the courts do not look favourably on any organisation, regardless of size, that has an incident of bullying, but no policy or procedure in place informing its employees how to deal with and report incidents of bullying or harassment. Further, just tossing a few paragraphs about workplace bullying into the organisational policy and procedure manual is also no guarantee an organisation won’t be on the receiving end of a million-dollar-plus, workplace-bullying lawsuit. Employers need to understand their responsibilities include not only ensuring such policies are very clearly understood, but are enforced.”

“On 3rd June 2008 we’ll be launching Know Bull! Day, which is essentially a national day of awareness and action where individuals and businesses can demonstrate their commitment to fostering safe and respectful workplaces. And through this initiative we’re aiming to raise awareness in organisations about workplace bullying as not being an issue of personality differences, but an organisational risk that needs to be managed. When organisations begin assessing the true cost of keeping bullies in their workplaces, hopefully we’ll start seeing an increase in workplace culture reforms to remove the toxicity,” Ms Wilkins concluded.


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