Many Workplace Bullies Don’t Get Reported

April 20, 2011 ( – Twenty-seven percent of workers in a recent survey admitted they’ve been bullied in the workplace and most have neither confronted the bully nor reported the incident.

A news release said the segments more likely to report feeling bullied were women, workers ages 55 or older, and workers ages 24 or younger.  

According to CareerBuilder, women reported a higher incidence of being treated unfairly at the office; 34% of women said they have felt bullied in the workplace compared to 22% of men.

Twenty-nine percent of workers ages 55 or older and 29% of workers ages 24 or younger reported they had been bullied on the job, the highest among age groups.  Workers ages 35 to 44 were the least likely to report feeling bullied, at 25%.

Twenty-eight percent took their concerns to a higher authority and reported the bully to their Human Resources department.  While 38% of these workers stated that measures were taken to investigate and resolve the situation, the majority of workers (62%) said no action was taken.  Of those who didn’t report the bully, one-in-five (21%) said it was because they feared the bullying would escalate.

When asked to describe how they were bullied, workers pointed to the following examples, according to the news release::

  • My comments were dismissed or not acknowledged – 43%
  • I was falsely accused of mistakes I didn’t make – 40%
  • I was harshly criticized – 38%
  • I was forced into doing work that really wasn’t my job – 38%
  • Different standards and policies were used for me than other workers – 37%
  • I was given mean looks – 31%
  • Others gossiped about me – 27%
  • My boss yelled at me in front of other co-workers – 24%
  • Belittling comments were made about my work during meetings – 23%
  • Someone else stole credit for my work – 21%


“Bullying is a serious offense that can disrupt the work environment, impact morale and lower productivity,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources, in the news release.  “If you are feeling bullied, keep track of what was said or done and who was present.  The more specifics you can provide, the stronger the case you can make for yourself when confronting the bully head on or reporting the bully to a company authority.”

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 5,671 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non government); ages 18 and over between February 21 and March 10, 2011.