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Is workplace bullying a problem at your job?

Many Maryland employees have had a coworker or two who has been hard to work with. Some have even had colleagues that were downright mean. While some might accept these situations as a part of life, others may undergo more serious harassment in the workplace that is tantamount to bullying.

In fact, between 30 percent and 60 percent of workers in the United States experience bullying at some point. These numbers indicate that bullying may have become even more prevalent than sexual harassment. Advocates say that the issue of bullying needs to be addressed in employment laws, since some bullying victims may be targeted in a long-term, malicious way that can impact their health.

Bullying is apparently more prevalent in some industries, including education, health care, finance, and the legal industry. It also appears to occur more often during a bad economy.

Experts say that bullying victims should try to avoid reckless responses to bullying behavior in the moment, and instead should think about a long-term strategy for dealing with workplace harassment. This can include discussing the issue with supervisors or human resources professionals, as well as seeking outside help from a social worker or therapist with experience in this field.

Bullying can have some very serious impacts on people, particularly when the stress becomes overwhelming and manifests in physical symptoms.

Sometimes bullying behavior can be resolved through legal actions, depending on the specific context of the case. If the bullying is based on racial discrimination, sexual harassment, or other protected categories, then the employer has a duty to act to resolve the situation.

Source: Main Street, “This Workplace Offense is More Common than Sexual Harassment,” Susan Kreimer, Aug. 7, 2013

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