This New Years I’m giving thanks to all of you who have supported my work and helped me create a powerful network of websites and videos. Top on the list is my tech guru and videographer, Patrick Perrotto, who has always been there. He freely donated the use of his state of the art broadcast quality equipment and did much of the driving.
Over the years we’ve been to Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, New York (numerous times), Virginia (numerous times), Pennsylvania and Canada and I even took a few solos to Wisconsin, Texas & Wales. Pat arranged for Ed Hollema to donate his services as Audio & Asst Camera. Let me put it this way, had we all been paid for our time, services, and equipment it would have easily cost upwards of $200,000+. I am forever indebted to them both. Feel free to help by making a donation of any size.
Advocating With Film To Raise Awareness About Workplace Bullying
Many thanks for your surprising support! Advocates and victim/targets all over the country – and even Australia – are taking part in our “use film to create change“ initiative for both individual and community actions.
Some of the actions include:
- Screening Party
- Mailing DVD to local legislators
- Town Hall Meeting
- College courses
- Sharing with fellow employees who are being bullied
- Sharing with family members, friends, and co-workers to show the impact of workplace bullying and validate the experience
- Donating to local library
DVDs have gone out to people across the country in states including:
- New York
- New Jersey
- and even outside the U.S. to Australia
ABOUT THE INIITIATIVE:
Wow! The DVD’s featuring moving personal stories that we offered yesterday for free to use in fighting against workplace bullying have been claimed! However, for a limited time or until they run out, if you are in the U.S. and willing to pay for postage we will send one to each person who emails a request. The only caveat is the same – you have to let us know how you used the DVD to educate others about this issue. Be creative and get the word out! [More Information]
Each DVD contains Tracey’s Law, Marlene’s Law, Jodie’s Law, and the first episode of What Really Killed Kevin Morrissey. Use PayPalto pay for shipping and receive a Free DVD or Send your request to OurBullyPulpit@gmail.com
Our Bully Pulpit combines the power of original documentary film and the reach of multiple media platforms to spark a movement that exposes the devastating effects of workplace bullying. Accurate information, reliable sources, new voices and new ideas are all housed within the new interactive home at ourbullypulpit.com.
Catherine Mattice, president of Civility Partners, LLC, a consulting firm focused on eradicating bullying and other negative behaviors, says, “There are a lot of consultants, therapists, professionals and targets with a point of view and lessons learned to share. Our Bully Pulpit provides a means for them to be heard and to learn from each other. Bullying can only be eradicated if we all work together.”
Real People/Reel Stories of Workplace Bullying
No longer a silent epidemic in the U.S., the workplace bullying issue is increasingly being exposed as a devastating mental, emotional and financial burden for both employees and employers. Founded by documentary filmmaker Beverly Peterson, Our Bully Pulpit provides a forum for informed discussion, will tackle misconceptions about workplace harassment, and will provide tools for legislative and institutional change. Opportunities for experts and the general public—including those most directly affected—to join the dialogue, are the cornerstone of Our Bully Pulpit’s mission to encourage trans-media conversation and action. Last year Ms. Peterson presented portions of this project at the prestigious 2010 7th International Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment in Cardiff, Wales.
“For over four years I’ve been using my skills as a filmmaker to tell powerful and emotional stories of victims of workplace bullying,” says Ms. Peterson. “I’m deeply moved by the conversations that the films have inspired and am expanding my efforts to illuminate more aspects of this damaging issue while at the same time providing a portal for journalists, legislators, practitioners, researchers and targets of workplace abuse to come together.”
Documentary Footage, Resources and a Cross-Media Digital Platform
Currently, the first of nine web installments of Ms. Peterson’s original documentary, “What Really Killed Kevin Morrissey?” is accessible on ourbullypulpit.com, and the remaining installments will be rolled out on the web over the next several months. The documentary footage examines the controversial story that made headlines one year ago: the suicide of Kevin Morrissey of literary journal Virginia Quarterly Review and allegations that his boss and editor, Ted Genoways, had bullied him. The first installment’s launch was featured in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education written by, Robin Wilson, the first journalist to report about Kevin’s suicide. “What Really Killed Kevin Morrissey?” illuminates and sparks debate on the complicating factors woven into the fabric of workplace bullying, turning the conventional conversation around bullying and harassment on its head.
“It’s a ‘transmedia’ approach. By utilizing every available platform to us, including film, the Internet and digital tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipages, we can dig a little deeper and make real progress in a shorter amount of time,” added Ms. Peterson.
It’s important to know your rights…in many cases bullying IS already illegal
[Press Release from EEOC]
EEOC Explores Plight Of Older Workers In Current Economic Climate
Commission Hears Poignant Testimony of Employee Discharged After 31 Years, Panelists Discuss Scope of Age Discrimination
WASHINGTON— At a meeting held today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heard testimony that age discrimination is causing the nation’s older workers to have a difficult time maintaining and finding new employment, a problem exacerbated by the downturn in the economy. The number and percentage of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have grown, rising from 16,548 charges — 21.8 percent of all charges — filed in fiscal year 2006, to 22,778 —24.4 percent — in fiscal year 2009. Continue reading
I became a co-founder of the fledgling cyber-group called the International Educational Coalition on Workplace Bullying. I’m excited that the Coalition allows me to join so many others in freely promoting critical discussion, context and analysis of all the research taking place and how it impacts the overall understanding and prevention of hostile work environments. Everyone visiting our Facebook Page is encouraged to add their own opinion and approach. Do I personally agree with everyone who posts on the site? No, and I’m proud to say that even the three of us who originally founded the IECWB don’t agree on all aspects of the issue and encourage everyone visiting the site to have that same healthy discourse. Our International focus has allowed different perspectives, coupled with personal experiences, to come together on one page. It’s been eye opening to see how even countries with Workplace Bullying legislation in place are still struggling to define the best resolutions.
We bring together psychologists, lawyers, researchers, business & Human Resource representatives, advocates and victims to create a forum for all our voices. And, there are so many things to discuss, below is just a sampling:
Support of strong Workplace Violence legislation that includes Workplace Bullying (Type 3 Workplace Violence) and making the link to Type 4 which includes Domestic Violence in the workplace as well as specific issue Workplace Bullying bills
Strengthening OSHA health harming protections
Strengthening Workers Compensation and how it can help targets currently suffering
Exploring Arbitration, ADR & Mediation as a way for targets to find relief
Putting aside the demonization of HR and Business owners and creating a true dialogue with those that want to support us
Discussing the types of policies and approaches that are actually effective and encourage a healthy workplace that discourages bullying behavior.
Staying current with evolving research in PTSD, Stress, Anxiety Disorders
Please take a moment to visit the IECWB site to find information, share information, and join the global discussion.
I had a chance to attend Susan Harthill’s presentation at the recent Int’l Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment held last month in Cardiff. Her academic article (“The Need for a Revitalized Regulatory Scheme to Address Workplace Bullying in the United States: Harnessing the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act”) suggests that OSHA may be able to help victims/targets of Workplace Bullying: “OSHA’s existing regulatory scheme should incorporate workplace bullying because OSHA is a singularly appropriate vehicle for such efforts and because prevention of workplace bullying through an existing scheme complements efforts to enact new legislation specifically addressing the problem.” Continue reading
For me, the most interesting part of a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article about the use of mediation in combating Workplace Bullying were the comments and there were LOTS of them. Most argued, I think correctly, that malicious bullies can’t be reckoned with. And, while victims should not be further traumatized in order for an employer to try to make the Bully a better person…is every ‘abrasive‘ boss a bully? I’ve had to deal with both. Continue reading
While researching my documentary on Workplace Bullying, I have often heard people say that it’s impossible to know whether or not a boss is actually a bully or just a tough manager. The definition and list of examples is often so vague and all encompassing that it’s really not unusual for this to be followed by something like, I mean I have to manage people and I suppose I could be considered a bully boss. Which, I suspect, gets to the root of the problem. Finding the right words to convey that seemingly common actions in an office can be devastating when used to demean and humiliate. I recently came across a great series of FREE Powerpoints created by Acas [ http://www.acas.org.uk/elearning/ ] which has a section on bullying & harassment. Here are some things we all need to keep in mind when working with others:
Know your employees?
Do you know everything about the opinions, beliefs and lifestyles of your employees? As the answer to this question will inevitably be ‘no’, is it possible that you might be using language or expressing opinions that effectively amount to harassment?
Too much of a perfectionist?
Do you sometimes feel frustrated by your employees? Do you find yourself getting irritable at what you consider to be their lack of competence or initiative?
If so, are you, perhaps, a true perfectionist unable or unwilling to accept that not everybody will work to your exceptionally demanding standards?
Passion and commitment
If you are the owner/manager of a small business, are you perhaps failing to recognise that your employees can never share the passion or commitment that you will have?
Speed of learning
Are you an exceptionally fast learner who can pick up new skills and carry out new tasks with a minimum of effort?
Remember, this may not be true for all your employees. Perhaps you are forgetting to see a situation through the eyes of someone who needs a little more time to assimilate new information.
Is your organisation selling into a fast-paced, ever changing market? If so, are the requirements you have of your employees constantly shifting?
Is it possible that this could be creating an environment of fear and uncertainty?
Too much change?
Are you simply asking your employees to deal with too much change? Is it possible that they feel they spend their working lives in a permanent state of flux? Have you considered how unsettling this could be for some people?
Keeping the business afloat
If you are the owner/manager of a business, are you constantly struggling to bring in enough revenue to cover all your overheads?
If yes, is it possible that you are constantly communicating your concerns about this in a way that makes your employees just worry about job security?
Could you communicate this information in a way that emphasises a team-spirit and encourages a desire to work together to improve profits and job security?
Are you often tetchy and irritable during the working day?
Do you fly off the handle when faced with the smallest problem or challenge?
Are you inaccessible to your employees when they need a decision from you?
Are you constantly changing your mind?
Do you explain why decisions might need to change or do you simply communicate the change?
Just as your language and opinions could unwittingly be causing offence, so could your body language.
What distance do you stand or sit from employees? Might some of them consider that you stand or sit too close when giving instructions or explanations? Might some of your employees interpret this as being intimidating?
A touch on the arm
Do you sometimes touch people lightly on the arm or shoulder during conversation. You may feel this is a warm and friendly gesture. Is it possible that some employees may see this behaviour in a different light?
Do you avoid making eye contact with people during conversation or perhaps you make an effort to maintain eye contact. Your reasons for doing this are perfectly innocent. Could they be misinterpreted by someone else?
Some time ago NY passed a Workplace Violence policy to protect public employees and part of that law includes worker-on-worker violence. But, Matt London of PEF, one of the main people crafting the policy, says: “the current law only covers bullying if there is a physical assault or the explicit threat of physical violence.” Instead they are “strongly encouraging agencies to have their programs include a broader definition of workplace violence, one which includes bullying.” The Healthy Workplace Bill recently passed in the NY State Senate and now waiting for a vote on the Assembly side is expected to fill that gap — and it protects private employees as well!
The Wall Street Journal reported that the anti-workplace bullying legislation that slid through the NY Senate this month met with complaints that it’s too subjective to define. The same argument that was used against Sexual Harassment and Domestic Violence . Continue reading
Is the Healthy Workplace Bill too business friendly?
“Do you think employers sat around and said ‘women are so mistreated we must have policies to protect women?’ No! When we had a law they listened to the law only because of the fear of litigation.” – Gary Namie, co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI)
This year the WBI’s Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) is pending in several States and recently passed through the Illinois Senate. David Yamada, author of this anti-workplace bullying legislation, is encouraged but laments on his blog that the Illinois bill only addresses public employees.
But, perhaps those employees in the private sector praying for help should actually give a sigh of relief that there’s still time to modify the HWB. Continue reading