They supply seemingly endless fodder for movies like "Office Space," "9 to 5" and "Swimming with Sharks," but for many Americans, nasty bosses are a reality.
Considering that most people spend at least eight hours a day at work, a mean boss can have a hugely detrimental impact on someone's quality of life. According to one poll, 40 percent of people say their job is either "very" or "extremely" stressful.
Researchers in Finland found that workers who felt they were being treated fairly had a much lower incidence of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in all Western societies. They tracked the 10-year incidence of heart disease in more than 6,400 male civil servants in London. Researchers found that men who felt they were treated fairly at work had a 30 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.
"The evidence is becoming increasingly clear that stress, wherever it's coming from, is becoming hazardous to our health," said Dr. Bruce Spring, assistant professor at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
Health care costs are 50 percent higher for those who are stressed out at work. In addition, poor employee-supervisor relationships can take a toll on workplace productivity.
"You're not going to have good productivity if you have employees taking sick leave every once in awhile because they can't handle the stress," said labor attorney Rania Sedhom.
Mean bosses also drive many people out of their jobs for good. The No. 1 reason people quit is because of a bad boss -- and according to a Gallup poll, half would fire their boss if they could.