Workplace bullies pose problems but can be overcome

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For employees who experience unwanted comments, touches or aggression on the job, the workplace is negative experience that can sap the enjoyment from life.

Stress is sometimes a factor in workplace bullying. Persons who are feeling stressed express their emotions in different ways, and in some cases it comes out as aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior.

The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lists a poor social environment and a lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors as job conditions that might lead to stress.

When stress boils over in the workplace, verbal, cyber or physical attacks are sometimes the result. Sabotage or undermining coworkers can stem from job dissatisfaction and pressure to compete.

It’s been said there’s no excuse for bad behavior, but there’s often an underlying reason. High amount of responsibility, little control over work flow, unfair labor practices and constant surveillance of production may result in low job satisfaction.

The frustration of an unfulfilling job can lead some workers to lash out at those around them. Unfortunately, persons perceived as weak might bear the brunt of these assaults.

Importantly, employees can start a positive change by reporting inappropriate behaviors that target themselves or others. A video by Kirsten D. Anderson usefully explains positive steps to take.

Finally, Employee and Family Resources is an employer-offered service that helps persons in the workforce manage the challenges of stressful jobs. They can also address challenges at home and in community settings, including substance use issues.

If you’re not sure whether your employer offers Employee and Family Resources services, ask your Human Resources office.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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