CareerBuilder has released a new study finding that the number of workers who feel bullied at the office is on the rise. What’s more, a majority of employees who said they reported the bullying to their human resources department claimed nothing was done.

CareerBuilder says that 35% of employees feel like they’ve been bullied at work, up from 27% in 2011. Of those who feel victimized, 17% decided to quit their jobs to get away from the hostile environment and 16% reported suffering health-related problems as a result of the bullying.

Nearly half of bullied workers (48% of whom pointed to incidents with their bosses) don’t confront their antagonizer, and most incidents go unreported, according to the study.

“How workers define bullying can vary considerably, but it is often tied to patterns of unfair treatment,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.  “Bullying can have a significant impact on both individual and company performance. It’s important to cite specific incidents when addressing the situation with the bully or a company authority and keep focused on finding a resolution.”

Among the more common specific accusations to come out of the study were those of being constantly criticized (33%), yelled at by a superior in front of coworkers (28%), subject to different standards and policies than other workers (36%) and falsely accused of making mistakes (42%).

Only 27% of those bullied reported it to HR. Out of those, 57% said that no action was taken.

CareerBuilder recommends the following for who feel bullied:

  • Keep a record of all incidents, including dates, what exactly happened and who witnessed it.
  • Consider talking to the aggressor. Half of those who confronted their bully said the behavior stopped.
  • Focus on solutions. Center discussions on how things can be improved.

For more coverage on this topic, be sure to read the story “Taking aim,” coming in the Sept. 1 issue of EBN.

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