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Office Bullies Hurt Bottom Line

What happens when the class bully resurfaces at the office? Morale and productivity take the punch, according to a study. Nearly 45% of U.S. workers have toiled for an office bully, according to an Employment Law Alliance survey -- and 12 states are weighing legislation to keep the statistic in check.

Gary Namie, director at the Workplace Bullying Institute, told “Morning Call” bully-busting legislation should define the objectionable behavior as “health-harming, abusive misconduct.” Offering an example, he said that some 30% of women who are targeted by office bullies suffer post-traumatic stress.

But Stephen Hirschfeld, the CEO of Employment Law Alliance, said legislation isn’t needed. Most human-resources executives know very well who the bullies are, he said. “If we can just get stronger policies addressing this, and HR is given the portfolio to actually look at it, and hold people accountable, we can change their behavior.”

However, Namie said executive management is ultimately responsible for the work environment, not human resources: "This is a bottom-line issue,” he said.