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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Workplace bullying is increasing workers' compensation claims

Most people think that they are finished with the emotional and sometimes physical harm caused by bullying once they're out of school. Unfortunately, too many adults continue their bullying in the workplace. Office bullying often involves intimidation, gossiping, withholding information and insults.

Obviously, workplace bullying can have a significant impact on its victims. It also has financial costs to employers. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, in 2010, 5.5 percent of absenteeism due to illness was attributed to workplace bullying. Employees who have been subjected to workplace bullying may experience depression, anxiety and stress. Further, it is believed to cost employers over $4 billion a year in employee absences.

Workplace bullying also increases workers' compensation claims. The study done by the NIOSH found that women were more likely to file bullying-related workers' comp claims than men. Further, nearly 18 percent of employees who work for social and protective services agencies as well as those in healthcare support jobs reported being bullied on the job.

Despite these numbers, a sales manager for one workers' comp insurer says that insurance carriers need to do more to educate employers about preventing bullying. He says that the risk of workplace bullying in particular industries could become an underwriting factor for insurers.

If your ability to do your job or your emotional or physical well-being are being harmed by the actions of others in the workplace, you can and should report the problem to your supervisor and, if necessary, to your human resources department. If the problem continues to be so bad that it impacts your health, you may be able to file a workers' compensation claim. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide guidance and support.

Source: Workplace Bullying Institute, "Insurance Business: Office bullying may be driving up workers’ comp costs," Caitlin Bronson, Insurance Business America, accessed Jan. 05, 2016

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