Peer Abuse at work continues to be an underappreciated issue in our nation as we continue to enable this problem in our companies and organizations. However, things “down under” seem to be taking a more serious look at this problem.

A recent court decision in Hawthorn, Australia ordered a company, Café Vamp, to pay $335,000 in fines which resulted in an employee committing suicide over the abuse she was receiving at work by her peers. Four workers pled guilty to not taking reasonable care of its employees and failing to provide a safe working environment. A fine was also issued of $220,000 and the cost would have doubled if the defendants had not pled guilty to their behavior. A report conducted by the Productivity Commission estimated that this abusive behavior costs Australia itself $10 billion a year and costs to the economy of about $14.8 billion a year. Wow, that’s a lot of money. So much emphasis is placed upon physical hazards and not nearly enough is placed upon psychological hazards. However, it appears as if the tide is turning in Australia.

Now, we need to start following their lead. As adults, we should know better yet we don’t. We continue to feed into this behavior and nothing is ever done to remedy the problem. When this behavior is allowed, the victims start to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression and it costs a company a lot of money. Not to mention the many absences that are a result of this problem. In America, we have hit an economic low and cannot afford to loose money. We also focus on the physical issues such as environmental control and safety on the job. Organizations exist where they come in, monitor these problems and if action is needed it is taken. Why are we not paying attention to these psychological problems that also exist? If action was taken immediately on a bully at work, I can bet that money would be saved and employees would be working to their potential. A person cannot focus on the job with this negativity in the company.

America, wake up and smell the reality! Take a lesson from Australia! If we were to start imposing these fines on the companies in our nation, I bet this problem would decrease dramatically. Employees, stop feeding these bullies at work. They are capable of anything and by siding with them, it will not make your life easier. Stand up to them and put them in their places. At the end of the day, people just want to go to work, do their jobs and go home. Why increase the stress? If anything, increase the peace! It sure would make a workday a lot easier for everyone. I’m just saying.

Elizabeth Bennett is the Social Justice Guru seeking social justice for all. She is also the author of “Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective” along with the e-book “Child Safety Online: Top Tips to Protect your Child from Internet Predators.” Please visit Peer Abuse Know More! To learn more.

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