Bullying has become the modern day equivalent of the black plague. Sweeping across the nation and damaging our children's mental and physical health. Though there have been extensive strategies implemented in order to reduce the effects of bullying on children, new research suggest bullying in the workplace goes under the radar.

This week alone, there have been reports of workplace bullying. A Burger King Staff member was allegedly punched by her manager and a senior Auckland Council manager was found guilty of verbally abusing staff members, leading to confidential settlements being paid.

A team of researchers from Massey University's Healthy Work Group and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand believes the government should require work environments to address workplace bullying, its impact and how to manage it.

"The recent cases profiled in the media are a clear indication of the poor understanding organizations have about bullying, and the damage that failure to effectively manage bullying can result in," says Professor Bentley. "There is a clear need for better information for employers about the nature of bullying, its impacts, and how to manage it. Too often good staff have no option but to quit while the bully remains protected by top management."

In a paper composed by the Health Work Group, researchers argue for the development of a government approved code of practice. Currently there is no government policy or regulatory structure that explicitly addresses workplace bullying.

According to Dr. Bevan Catley, director of Massey University's Healthy Work Group, when it comes to addressing workplace bullying under the Employment Relations Act or the Health and Safety Employment Act, neither of the groups recognize the role that workplace structure and process may have in encouraging bullying.

"An approved code of practice would be a good step, especially if there is no political will to amend the legislation. While it doesn't govern the decisions of the courts, an approved code of practice gives the judiciary some guidance when making rulings because they can see what is considered good practice," Dr. Catley said.