Bullying in the workplace can begin innocuously enough. You might not even realize it at first. Passive-aggressive comments from a cube mate here, a condescending look there. Maybe you've noticed you're being excluded from key meetings. Perhaps your work situation even includes behavior such as near-daily verbal humiliation by your boss in front of your peers.
Each scenario, no matter how banal or extreme, is classified as workplace bullying. A recent study conducted by France's national health agency finds that it might be costing you your health.
The latest study, conducted by Inserm, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, finds that one in 10 workers experience "hostile behavior" at work at least once a week. Those people, the study found, are twice as likely to have sleeping problems.
How prevalent is workplace bullying?
A 2007 study conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) and Zogby International found that 37 percent of all Americans report being bullied now or at some point in their careers.
The WBI calls it a "silent epidemic," with another 12 percent of people witnessing someone they work with being bullied. Employees are hesitant to report the behavior, according to the study, because an overwhelming percentage of bullies are bosses, and employees feel employers ignore the problem.
With nowhere to turn for answers, employees are taking their work frustration home with them, which the French study finds results in sleep disturbances, which begets fatigue and a host of health problems.
Are you being bullied at work?