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Bullying rampant in the workplace

By Nick Easen for CNN
Many businesses already have anti-bullying policies in place.

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(CNN) -- If you thought bullying was just the domain of juveniles in a playground, think again. New research suggests it is as common in the boardroom as it is at school.

More than two thirds of UK workers, in a recent survey by online recruitment firm Monster, admitted that they had been bullied at work.

Bullying normally involves the repeated and persistent attempts by one co-worker to torment, wear down, frustrate or get a reaction from another.

"In the workplace (it) is a serious problem that employers need to be aware of," says Hernan Daguerre of Monster.

"Victims of bullying are not the only ones to suffer greatly from these practices, it often results in increased absenteeism and lost productivity."

Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 20 percent said they are currently being bullied, and 44 percent said they have been bullied in the past.

A separate UK survey by pollsters MORI in October 2003 also found that 21 percent of women and 24 percent of men had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against in the past 12 months.

The polls also comes on the back of an industrial tribunal, in which a British woman who accused her boss of bullying won £8,000 ($14,700) in compensation.

Many businesses already have anti-bullying policies and systems in place so that workers can report violations correctly.

"Victims of bullying should keep a log of their mistreatment, so that any allegations can be substantiated," says Daguerre.

Bullying can occur between bosses and staff, as well as within peer groups.

Behavior ranges from the malicious or the offensive, to impossible deadlines and even blackmail.

Symptoms of bullying can cause a loss of self-esteem and confidence, and may result in stress-related illnesses, say researchers.

Studies conducted by the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) show that the effects of work-based bullying are responsible for a third to a half of all stress related illnesses.

And another research project by the anti-bullying center at Trinity College, Dublin, found that intimidation at work is linked to suicidal behavior.

The Andrea Adams Trust at is the only charity in the UK dedicated workplace bullying and has a wealth of information on the topic.

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