Fortune/CNN Money’s article by Jonathon A. Segal, “Hard to Define: Even Harder To Ban,” clearly recognizes the severity and devastating impact of workplace bullying on the American worker and their employers. It’s been over ten years and 25 states since the first version of the Healthy Workplace Bill was introduced and still no takers. Segal sees a message in this #fail.
BACK OFF! is a remarkably useful and engaging survival guide that can help millions of targets, bystanders, and bullies that want to change their vile ways. I was especially impressed with the practical and powerful guidelines for battling against bullies without becoming one yourself. – Robert Sutton, Author of No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss
It’s important to dispel myths about workplace bullying. One of these myths is that you have NO recourse here in the U.S. The truth is that there are some protections in place that might come into play but they are often hodge podge and extremely difficult to win. Which brings home the need to ignore the self-interest of well-meaning advocates and instead rely on individualized advice from an actual employment attorney to see what recourse, if any, applies to your situation. The EEOC has noted that the majority of cases that fall under harassment protections – or outside as they do in many workplace bullying situations – are often won on retaliation claims. Here’s a Connecticut case that is making it’s way through the courts and represents a variety of today’s labor issues; forming a union, whistleblowing, retaliation and bullying. It also shows the difference in how individual states interpret Federal law such as, in this case, free speech. It’s frightening to think of the number of government regulations meant to protect our lands that are ignored because an employee would be fired for speaking up about their managers actions to their superiors. That’s the claim in Ozols vs. Town of Madison — read it for yourself below.
Found this article this morning and thought I’d share it. The Huffington Post’s reports that the maker of the documentary they’ve all been talking about will finally be revealed. I have to admit I haven’t watched the show regularly in a long while but I’ll be checking out this one:
Guest blog article by Angela Monaghan [Ontario, Canada] – Advocate, Educator, & Counsellor addressing bullying issues. Founder of On T.R.A.C. for BULLYING PREVENTION, a not-for-profit organization promoting education, awareness, healing, and an empowered society that won’t let bullying thrive. Angela co-founded the International Educational Coalition on Workplace Bullying.
Short-sighted Business Trend
There’s been a disturbing two-fold trend in workplace bullying. In short, employers are mistreating particular employees as a way to encourage these employees to quit and serving as an example to others to `tow the line, do more with and for less, shut up and put up or this will happen to you`. The targeted employee becomes the example to others who desire to keep their jobs in an unsettled economic climate. Since bullying is all about control it`s a way management gains the upper hand. Unfortunately, this `upper hand` is NOT the healthy control resulting from a hierarchy. Rather, this is the unhealthy control based on fear and it promotes the bullying culture in an environment.
Dr. Susan has a great article with tips on how to hang onto the most important survival tool you have: hope. She includes this song in her list of favorite resources for keeping strong while facing an office bully. PLAY IT LOUD. PLAY IT OVER AND OVER.
So, your boss is making you miserable and you’re in that space where you just can’t stop talking about what they did to you today? yesterday? tomorrow? Detail after humiliating detail? And, it’s just not fair and you’re mad and you can’t think of enough miserable adjectives to describe the truly despicable way you’ve been treated? And, now it’s late at night and you’re at the computer and you just want to tell the world? Here’s a sobering infographic I found on the Internet that let’s you see just who is checking out what you have to say.
We all know it exists. The co-worker that just makes their boss’ life miserable and meetings are power struggles that hinge on games meant to humiliate the manager and make them look foolish. Or the employee refuses to provide important information or perform a task on time in order to sabotage their Boss and make them look inept to their superiors. Maybe the employee’s ideas weren’t implemented or they don’t like the performance review they received. Maybe they don’t like authority. Groundbreaking research in this area shows that the impact is the same. The study below found that: “Over half of the interviewees (including most of the managers who experienced an experience of upwards bullying) reported an increase in stress, along with anxiety symptoms such as shaking and sleeplessness. Interviewees also reported experiencing anxiety attacks and clinical depression.”
News reports reveal that weeks before the “Dark Knight Killer” murdered 12 innocent victims, his psychiatrist told the “the Threat Assesment” committee at the University of Colorado that Holmes was a possible danger to the campus community. But, since Holmes dropped out of school at about that same time, the alerts to the danger he posed fell through the cracks. The debate now begins about what the University should or could have done to prevent the tragic deaths we morn as a nation. Shortly after Holmes’ senseless masacre a Maryland man was arrested for making general threats that he too was “the Joker” and, with a substantial arsenal sitting in his home, that he would shoot up his workplace. He will soon be freed on a misdemeanor. Here is a reprint of a CNN news report that raises serious issues and concerns about how workplace violence can be assessed and prevented:
“We are living in the age of arrogance”
Stanley B. Silverman says he was intrigued with the idea of measuring the level of arrogance in the workplace. Silverman, Russell E. Johnson and several Colleagues came up with the 22 item WARS scale to define these behaviors and the result is both fascinating and confirmation of what many of us have always suspected. The higher the level of arrogance the lower the level of performance, self-esteem and humility. At the core of the arrogant boss is the idea that they need to make sure that “their candle burns brighter” than anyone else by making “everyone else’s look smaller.” In a real life replay of the emperor’s new clothes, messengers are destroyed if they don’t tell these bosses what they want to hear – even if it actually destroys the business.
Other industrialized countries have enacted workplace anti-bullying protections – some decades ago. Australia now takes the lead as it conducts an impressive inquiry into workplace bullying. Early testimony released by Australia says national legislation requiring employers to implement strong, clear policies is needed.
U.S. Falls Farther Behind
The following text is from the organization lobbying State by State for passage of their anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill:
…it doesn’t mandate the state to do anything and it has no fiscal impact, nor does it make employers do anything. If they want to be abusive then they operate under the threat of litigation. Which should scare them but truth be told it doesn’t scare them too much…
When Policies Don’t Work
I would give anything to have the U.S. replicate the broad national investigation of abuse in our work cultures that Australia is currently undergoing. [sign our petition] At least we can watch from halfway around the world and learn from information being presented. Because, one of the issues being discussed is that policies in the workplace need certain components if they are going to be effective. Unfortunately, here in America the most popular template for legislation, the Healthy Workplace Bill, doesn’t even require employers to put policies in place much less dictate that the point person for employees to complain to should be separate from HR. Hopefully that will change and the bill will be amended by some smart legislator before it passes.
Video testimony of a woman who says she left her job in Human Resources because her boss bullied her and her health deteriorated. She now regrets that prior to her own experience an employee had come to her for help but she didn’t understand how devastating workplace bullying can be.