Ever since the landmark workplace bullying case was upheld by Indiana’s Supreme Court, the Joint Commissions has required that Hospitals address civility issues as a requirement in their accreditation process. Many states require lawyers adhere to civility codes for conduct in the courtroom. Now, according to NewHampshireSentinel.com, Rep. Susan Emerson, R-Rindge, is proposing a bill to stop bullying among legislators in her state capitol. Continue reading
Tag Archives: workplace bully
Unions join fight to stop bully bosses…
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.
A plea to fellow fighters of Workplace Bullying
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.
Here’s a link to our Press Release if you are interested in learning more about the IECWB. http://prlog.org/10829919
Documentary features NY fight for Workplace Bullying Law
Several major publications have recently posted articles on the topic…hopefully this means victims will start getting the attention they deserve and a better law. As someone whose life was turned upside down by an abusive boss all I can say is — it’s about TIME. I’ve been making documentaries for 20 years that have been well received at major film festivals and on TV (HBO, PBS etc). Last year I launched an online documentary about the struggle to pass legislation to stop abusive bosses. This is probably the hardest of all the topics I’ve taken on. The stigma attached to victims makes it difficult for people to take seriously. And the mainstream press rarely goes beyond the “go to” sites to do some real in depth reporting…it’s much more complicated than the ‘branding’ that’s out there.
Are you a “bully boss”?
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?
Bullied at work in the UK
Recently I asked people who are currently being bullied to send me their stories to share with others. Here’s one from TWITTER representing the UK:
Anonymous: “I’m still with the same employer, its been an an absolute nightmare. It started with a newly appointed manager; being particularly nasty, abusive voice mails on my personal phone which escalated to not being invited to meetings, disability discrimination both direct and third party. I’m partially deaf and was refused safety equipment that the same manager provided for another member of the workforce, being told I would gain no further promotion owing to my disability, being accused of lying about attending the hospital when our son, who is autistic, was rushed into hospital. So, I took that through the grievance procedure and the manager was moved to a more prestigious job with more responsibility and even perks. His PA developed stress and eventually resigned at his new place of work owing to his behavior and treatment towards her…I’ve been with the company for 15 years, and worked hard to get to where I was. Continue reading