The NEA (National Education Association) published this article showing how union contracts can protect employees from bullying. Most interesting is the section on Massachusetts and the fact that Workplace Violence laws currently in place arguably offer protection from bullying:
Two must read mainstream articles were published this week. USA TODAY quoted an expert, Dorothy Espelage, who argues that because it’s “being used for everything from rolling eyes to ‘not wanting to be your friend’ to sexual assault, the word ‘bullying’ has really obscured our ability to focus on what’s happening… To call what’s happening with 18-to-22-year-olds ‘bullying,’ when in fact some of it is criminal behavior … it’s a disaster.” In Psychology Today Dr. Janice Harper brings the “bully label” argument to adult behavior in the workplace.”I don’t know what scares me more,” she writes, “the memoriesof venomous torment I’ve personally endured in school and in the workplace, or the troubling tide of anti-bullying rhetoric that I fear will do far more to embolden than control those mean-spirited people who consider their behavior acceptable as long as they convince themselves that it’s “deserved.” But I have discovered that to even discuss these concerns often leads to accusations, hostility and silencing responses nearly as aggressive as bullying itself…” Harper makes a strong argument and she’s not the only one pointing to the “demonizing” rhetoric used by “society” as part of the problem.
If you think the C-Suite isn’t aware of the havoc abusive bosses heap on their employees, think again. According to the startling results of the 2013 Zogby Survey conducted for the Workplace Bullying Institute just *15% of upper management still clings to the outmoded idea that bullying only happens in schools and playgrounds — and perhaps for those lucky few that’s true. In fact, nearly *70% recognize it is a serious problem. Unfortunately, despite this welcome increase in corporate insight, those of us who have been on the receiving end of abusive behavior can certainly argue that this new corporate awareness is less often reflected in how our complaints are addressed. Clearly it’s time to include enlightened employers in the discussions about prevention of abusive work environments. Here’s how Zogby broke down the survey responses:
The Hartford News publishes a regular column on racism and homophobia by the Community Party. They are currently focusing on claims of abuse at Connecticut Valley Hospital and note that “Rep. Matt Ritter has agreed to meet with CP and CVH employees next month to discuss abusive workplace conduct at the facility.” The CP is hoping that workplace bullying legislation would strengthen protections for CVH employees. With permission, here’s an excerpt from the Community Party’s latest article:
Years ago when I made my first documentary on the topic of workplace bullying & harassment I found the old training film for secretarial schools posted below. In it a young-ish woman is about to take her first clerical position. No one bothered to mention to her that she’d probably be called “girl” “sweetie” “honey” or that her bosses would make rude insinuations she’d have to ignore in order to keep her job. That enlightenment was still decades away. Here’s a link to a great resource with thorough information on sexual harassment laws today. I send a big warm hug to all of the women who worked so hard over the decades to fight for our rights.
Legislators, journalists, advocates and targets will find this book by Patricia G. Barnes a much needed resource with tons of information about workplace bullying and a special focus on current and possible legislation. Barnes offers honest critique of the proposed Healthy Workplace Bill and brings a fresh perspective and much needed voice to this effort. You can, like me, send a “gift” copy to your state legislator to use as a reference that outlines a variety of approaches to prevent bullying. Barnes is an appellate and trial court judge, a licensed attorney and an author of legal books, magazine articles and newspaper op-ed columns. She became interested in workplace abuse and bullying issues
The Office was expected to include a scene highlighting workplace bullying in this season’s season opener. Humor takes broad liberties but this topic didn’t need to enter mainstream television as a trivial joke — far too many of us have suffered the humiliating physical and financial ramifications. But, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. The deleted clip was dead on in depicting what far too many trainers and experts have fed to the media — the concept that bullying is “intentional” (check out the text on the blackboard). As the dialog and interactions of the cast members show, bullies are often clueless to their actions and the impact of their actions. Here’s the scene – judge for yourself:
I began working on a documentary about workplace bullying in 2007. At that time it was next to impossible to “pitch” my project because no one had a clue what I was talking about. Since then things have definitely changed. A simple google search of “workplace bullying” will bring up tons of hits. Add to that “psychological harassment” “toxic workplace” “hostile workplace” and it’s obvious that we’ve finally made it to water cooler conversations. The downside is that most of the coverage is shallow and simplistic and doesn’t really dig deeply into what we need to understand to really combat this issue proactively in our offices. I’m currently developing a new website that will go beyond my current work at NoJobIsWorthThis.com Feel free to leave a message here, on our Facebook group site, or shoot me an email if you have suggestions for what you’d like to see. Lots more discussion about this to come… [email@example.com]
Have city workers in Norfolk, Virginia find a solution to clean up toxic workplaces. Is this something you can replicate? Maybe, with a little help from your union…
[ABC WVEC.com David Ham full article and video] NORFOLK – A new workplace bullying policy is being developed for nearly 4,000 city employees.
The new policy would include workplace bullying in its harassment policy.
City workers say bullying has been an increasing problem throughout all departments.
“In some cases, supervisors may just have it in for somebody and then they tend to try to find every little thing they can write them up for,” said Jane Bethel, president of NAGE Local 200.
Assistant city manager Melanie Purcell says she’s drafting the new policy to let all employees know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.
“Bullying is characterized by intimidation- both physical and mental intimidation actions that would make someone uncomfortable, and it’s persistent,” said Purcell.
While she’s drafting the new policy, Purcell has suspended all disciplinary actions until each case can be reviewed again.
The new policy is expected to be formally announced to all employees in June.