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:
1. 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
Given 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
City of Tuscaloosa adopts policy against workplace bullying
Reprinted from FOX 6, Oct 15, 2014 3:34 PM EDT
Tuscaloosa city hall
The Tuscaloosa City Council has approved a new policy against workplace bullying which applies to all City of Tuscaloosa employees.
The City’s legal department says the policy covers things that were not already clearly covered by the city’s anti-harassment policy.
Senior Associate Attorney Jimbo Woodson says the policy identifies bullying as intentional, hostile, abusive behavior that makes an employee no longer want their job.
“It wasn’t that many years ago that employers were adopting for the first time sexual harassment policies, then that became anti-harassment policies, and I think this is a natural extension to bullying, to essentially catch all of the inappropriate workplace behavior,” Woodson said.
Woodson also says the policy applies to a number of different scenarios.
“Not only does it direct co-workers, a co-worker who is bullying another co-worker, or a supervisor who is bullying someone they supervise, but it actually could be a group of workers who bully their supervisor,” he said. [full article]
October is a special month for workplace bullying advocates for several reasons. (1) it’s National Bullying Prevention Month and (2) it includes Mental Health Day. Sadly, international research has linked the impact of workplace bullying to severe anxiety, depression, and even suicide. You can take action by signing the National Workplace Bullying Coalition’s #StopThatNow pledge to support your co-workers and make your workplace bully-free.
For over a decade the Workplace Bullying Institute and their volunteer advocacy arm, the Healthy Workplace Campaign, have been lobbying state legislators to pass their Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) as written. None have passed. Criticism of the language or limitations of the HWB has always been met by supporters with resistance and the argument that the (copyrighted) HWB was meant as a foot in the door and a way to “prod” employers to do the right thing; the proverbial carrot on a stick. What to do? Research repeatedly shows that it’s not uncommon for grassroots efforts to change leadership or shift and embrace new approaches in order to evolve with the times and ensure success. True to form, a new leaderless grassroots movement has come up that embraces a variety of legislative approaches to preventing workplace bullying. Pima County in Arizona and Hennepin in Minnesota passed laws to protect their public employees from abuse. Ridgefield, NJ declared their whole town Bully Free with NJ’s first public ordinance against workplace bullying. Finally a sleeping giant has woken up and followed suit. This year Unions successfully pushed three bills onto the Governors’ desks of Tennessee, New Hampshire and California. Two have been signed into law and only one was vetoed. So, while these new laws that are being enacted may not do all that you wish, they sure have been successful and are definitely opening the door and prodding employers. Why are they successful? Most of these new bills focus on something that the HWB doesn’t include; required policies and trainings. On September 9th Governor Jerry Brown signed law that broadens existing Sexual Harassment regulations requiring any employer with 50 or more employees to include “abusive conduct” in their training. As part of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition (NWBC), we helped support Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez in her now successful effort. Shouldn’t every state have that? It’s time for all of us working to prevent abrasive workplaces to respect our differences and come together to support change. Here’s what the latest law says: Continue reading
Broward County Crime Commission’s all-day conference, Adult & Workplace Bullying, on July 24th
I’m proud to be representing the National Workplace Bullying Coalition as one of the panelists at this conference next month. I’ll also be screening one of my early films on the topic, “Jodie’s Law: no job Is worth losing the precious gift of life.” Jodie’s Mom and Aunt Joie will be there to speak about “The Human Cost of Adult Bullying.” The roster of speakers and scope of the agenda is truly impressive so if you’re in the area you should definitely check out the flyer below and go to the Eventbrite link for more information and to sign up. Continue reading