The Cost of a Bully Employee

Joe Weinlick
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Whether an office bully intimidates co-workers with emotional, mental or physical abuse, the result is detrimental to the organization. Even if you don't see it or aren't a direct target, bullying in the workplace could be costing your company a great deal of time and money. Find out six negative effects an office bully's bad behavior may have on your organization.

1. Increased Medical Expenses

A 2012 study conducted by UCLA found that negative social experiences, such as run-ins with an office bully, increase inflammatory proteins in the body that may lead to cancer, depression or heart disease. Staffers who have to deal with torment from an office bully may use more sick days and seek medical treatment more often than employees who work in a harmonious environment.

2. Decreased Morale

An office bully creates a toxic work environment riddled with gossip and negativity. When your employees experience low morale, they become uninterested in their work and disengaged from the organization. As a result, communication often suffers and employees become distrustful of their superiors or colleagues.

3. Increased Legal Fees

A tormented employee pushed too far by an office bully may file a legal case. This costs the employer its reputation, which may turn off clients, partners or future employees. The organization also loses out on any money and time spent defending the organization or attending court dates. The organization may even be required to pay out a settlement.

4. Decreased Productivity

Along with low employee morale comes a decrease in productivity. Workers who are stressed because of an office bully are often unmotivated. Your organization may also notice an increase in absenteeism, as bullied employees take more personal time off work to avoid facing their tormentor.

5. Increased Turnover

Office bullying may result in an unpleasant work environment that leads tormented employees to quit or seek new employment. While they may not be direct targets of the bullying, those employees who witness the bad behavior are also likely to leave due to the hostile work environment. Quality employees leave, and your organization is left with the office bully.

6. Decreased Profits

An increase in employees seeking medical treatment may cause your organization's health insurance premiums to rise. An office with low morale is less effective, which may affect product quality, output or customer service standards. Companies that experience high turnover rates spend extra money and time recruiting, hiring and training new employees. All of these scenarios, caused by bullying in the office, cut into your company's profits.

While you may not be the target of an office bully, your organization still experiences the negative effects of the damaging behavior. Encourage your employees to report bullying behaviors to HR as soon as problems arise.

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