Study finds mean, unattractive people bullied at work

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For some, bullying unfortunately doesn’t stop after high school.

A new study shows that unattractive, mean people are also more likely to be bullied in the workplace.

According to the Workplace Bully Institute, about 35 percent of working Americans, approximately 53.5 million people, admitted to being bullied at work.

“Frankly, it’s an ugly finding,” lead investigator Brent Scott, associate professor of management at Michigan State University told MSU Today. “Our findings revealed that both personality and appearance matter.”

The study included 114 health care facility workers. They were questioned on if they ever experienced mean behavior, such as being made fun of, having hurtful things said, and being treated in a rude way by colleagues.

Friends and spouses of the subjects were asked to rate their friendliness. Another group were given photos of the 114 people and were asked to rate how attractive they were.

The results show that the unattractive people were treated worse by their co-workers. Those who rated as not as friendly were also more likely t be bulled at work.

“If you’re unattractive and mean, watch out … they were bullied the most,” Scott told MLive. “The flip side of that, if you’re mean but attractive, then the attractiveness sort of buffers that relationship a little bit.”

Scott said that this study, which was published in Human Performance, is like may other studies on prejudice and discrimination where, just being aware of our own biases can help reduce them.

Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant


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