New Year’s Resolution: Stop Bullying Co-Workers

This year I was honored to be among the experts on the eBossWatch panel to determine the worst bosses of the year. The list included “three mayors, five judges, 19 law enforcement officers and officials, 12 restaurant bosses, and a venture capitalist…The states with the highest number of bad bosses on this year’s list are New York (13), Texas (11), California (11), New Mexico (5), Georgia (5), New Jersey (4), and Kentucky (4).” Many of these harassment cases had already been settled or won in court. But, at least for now, workplace bullying isn’t against the law in the U.S. While it’s often hard to detect, it’s no less devastating financially or emotionally and even the most well-meaning employees can suddenly find themselves at one end or the other of a pile on. Here are 10 simple ways you can stop making your co-worker or employee’s life hell in 2015:

definition-150x1501. Stop calling them “defensive.” In fact, having that label attached to the back of an employee should be a clue to any HR person that they are face-to-face with classic workplace bullying and the victim is getting smeared and blamed for the attacker’s behavior. One glance at a dictionary should tell you all you need to know about the situation: “de*fen*sive: adjective, serving to defend or protect <defensive fortifications>”,  “devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack<defensive behavior>”.  Continue reading

HBO’s “Getting On” and Workplace Bullying

409454_PA_Getting-On_27x40Given the epidemic of toxic workplaces in the healthcare industry it shouldn’t surprise viewers that the second season of HBO’s “Getting On” opened with the topic of workplace bullying front and center in a very sensitive way. As the title implies, the show takes place in a hospice center. Nurse Dawn is being pressured by her superior to help with a research project in addition to her already emotionally overwhelming job tasks.

Dawn’s immediate supervisor, Patsy De La Serda, tries to help her understand the situation she’s in:

“Dawn, I think we both know what it is. It’s Dr. James. You’re in an abusive and toxic relationship with a woman who hates women and she’s taking it out on you. I think you have difficulty maintaining firm boundaries and saying no.”

Dawn responds: “I say no to her all the time even though it’s very hard for me. It’s true that I am sensitive and it’s true that I let people take and take and take and take and I’m not very comfortable it doesn’t come natural for me to focus on me.”

Patsy counsels her: “Which is why we need to work on your mindfulness training. You can’t be solid in life unless you’re solid with yourself. I take care of me first and then you. I put my seatbelt on then yours. Mindfulness is mind fullness.” [more below] Continue reading

Workplace Bullying? #StopThatNow

To kick off “October is Bullying Awareness Month,” the National Workplace Bullying Coalition launched their #StopThatNow sign the pledge campaign asking everyone in the workplace to remember that bullying isn’t just in the schoolyard anymore. Millions of American workers, reportedly 1 in 4, suffer from workplace bullying, an epidemic form of abuse that is directly linked to severe anxiety, depression, debilitating physical harm and even suicide. The vast majority of these targets are unprotected and have no legal recourse. For many, the only hope is to quit and face chronic unemployment. How can we stop this?

“Everyone needs to show support for their co-workers or employees and signing the online pledge to be Bully-Free is an excellent place to start,” says Catherine Mattice, NWBC Board Officer, author and founder of Civility Partners, LLC. “Our Pledge is part of the Coalition’s mission to bring together legislators, legal experts for both business interests and employees, labor leaders, business consultants and other interested parties to develop solutions.”  Continue reading

CIA Cracks Down On Bullying & Harassment

An internal CIA document obtained by the Associated Press shows that the agency is disciplining abusive managers: 

“…These days, the CIA says it has a zero tolerance policy toward workplace harassment. And an agency document obtained by The Associated Press said 15 CIA employees were disciplined for committing sexual, racial or other types of harassment last year. That included a supervisor who was removed from the job after engaging in “bullying, hostile behavior,” and an operative who was sent home from an overseas post for inappropriately touching female colleagues, said the document, an internal message to the agency’s workforce.

The examples cited in the message, sent several weeks ago in an email by the director of the agency’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, were meant to show how the CIA is enforcing its strict policy. Continue reading

More Employees Cite “Incivility” As Reason For Leaving Jobs

Even though the 2013 report, Civility in America, showed a sharp decline in workplace incivility in the last two years “there has been a 30% increase in Americans reporting they have quit a job because it was an uncivil workplace.”  This increase in job shifts is surprising because a similar decline was found by the Workplace Bullying Institute in relationship to more abusive situations; down from 13% in 2007 to just 7% in 2014. Continue reading

California Could Be First State To Take On Workplace Bullying

Milestone legislation requiring employers with 50+ employees add workplace bullying to already existing harassment training and education is making great headway in California. Stepping up legislation already on the books is long overdue. This bill is sponsored by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez and fueled by the efforts of Teamsters Local 2010, the Union of Clerical and Allied Service Workers of the University of California. Last month Union members testified at the State Capitol in support of the bill and received a unanimous bipartisan vote out of committee: Continue reading