Bullying is a moral wrong. It is also a failure in the practice of business ethics when it is tolerated and a gross breach of duty when committed.
Much has been written about bullying recently because of shocking events that often go along with it like violence and suicide.
But this new research (discussed below) takes bullying and show that it is a much more serious evil that had been previously thought. The effects last much longer, decades longer than was believed before.
This makes it a more serious offense and there will be changes in policy and law to reflect this.
As a business person, it would be wise to take a careful look at the company policy on bullying because now when we talk about damages we’re not just talking about the current situations, we’re talking about decades of after effects. That is going to be a lot of money both in terms of punitive damages and payouts for pain and suffering. And if your workplace encourages or tolerates bullying, you should have to pay every penny.
The New Bullying Prevention | Ethics, Equality and Equal Rights
Victims of bullies suffer the psychological consequences all the way until middle age, with higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicide, new research shows.
The immediate ill effects of bullying have been well documented, with experts increasingly seeing it as a form of child abuse. Influential studies from Finland have made the case that people who were bullied as kids continued to suffer as young adults – girls who were bullied grew up to attempt and commit suicide more frequently by the age of 25, for instance, and boys were more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
Now a trio of researchers has taken an even longer view. They examined data on roughly 18,000 people who were born in England, Scotland and Wales during a single week in 1958 and then tracked periodically up through the age of 50 as part of the U.K.’s National Child Development Study.
Back in the 1960s, when the study subjects were 7 and 11 years old, researchers interviewed their parents about bullying. Parents reported whether their children were never, sometimes or frequently bullied by other kids.
Fast-forward to the 2000s. About 78% of the study subjects are still being tracked at age 45, when they are assessed for anxiety and depression by nurses. By the time they’re 50, 61% of them remain in the study, and are asked to fill out a questionnaire that measures psychological distress.
The researchers found that people who were bullied either occasionally or frequently continued to suffer higher levels of psychological distress decades after the bullying occurred. They were more likely than study subjects who were never bullied to be depressed, to assess their general health as poor, and to have worse cognitive functioning. In addition, those who were bullied frequently had a greater risk of anxiety disorders and suicide.
From Around the Web.
Bullies are getting a lot of press nowadays, but it’s difficult to tell whether bullying behavior is on the rise, or we’re just noticing and talking about it more than we did in the past. In our obsessively politically correct environment, there is an ever-increasing push to avoid confronting or even defending one’s self against a bully, and to opt instead for a more positive developmental response to aggressive behavior. We are also being told that the best way to deal with bullying is to ensure that our children don’t bully others in the first place. Our children’s schools often take a zero-tolerance approach to any physical confrontation, punishing both the victim for defending him or herself and the instigator for initiating the behavior. This is patently unfair to the victim, and does little if anything to stem the aggressive behavior other than forcing the bully to practice his or her aggression somewhere out of the school’s sight and/or jurisdiction.
While eliminating the violence in the first place is admittedly the ideal solution, we have to realistically acknowledge that it is not the whole solution. Sometimes, you simply have to fight back if you hope to get the bullies to leave you alone. Fortunately, by helping our children to understand what drives the bully, we can better prepare them to deal with it in the most effective manner. In short, fighting back needn’t always involve physical violence. By understanding and responding directly to the underlying causes of bullying, the bullied child can emerge from the situation with an increased level of self-confidence, which is kryptonite to the bully’s attempt to be Superman (or Superwoman). …