Adding OSHA to the arsenal against workplace bullying – it’s about time!

English: Logo for the United States Occupation...

English: Logo for the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“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.” [Susan Harthill]

Several years ago Susan Harthill presented her findings at the 2010 International Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment to leading advocates, researchers, and practitioners within the global workplace bullying movement.  Besides Harthill, keynote speakers included Professor David Yamada, author of the Healthy Workplace Bill, and Dr Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute. Rather than incorporating Harthill’s ideas as a quiver in the U.S. battle against office abuse, advocates for the WBI’s Healthy Workplace Bill chose to advocate only for their legislation.  That is, of course, their prerogative. But, imagine how much further things may have advanced if it were a multi-pronged effort dedicated to protecting workers through a variety of approaches. Several members of the broader effort to stop workplace bullying have embraced a national petition bearing nearly 8,000 heartbreaking signatures asking the Obama Administration to explore options to protect U.S. workers from bullyng. Continue reading

Bullied Federal Workers May Get Help

Below is a great article from Patricia Barnes, author of SURVIVING BULLIES, QUEEN BEES AND PSYCHOPATHS IN THE WORKPLACE.  She is also one of the people who created the Care2 petition asking for a national answers — please help bring attention to this petition!  Sign it and pass it on http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/protect-us-workers/ :

Federal Agencies Urged to Address Workplace Bullying

When an incident of assault, harassment, intimidation, or bullying occurs in a federal workplace, it is usually caused by an employee rather than a customer, criminal, or someone who has a personal relationship with the victim. Continue reading

How Should We Protect Offices From Workplace Shootings?

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: Continue reading

Beware the Angry Office Mob

Everyone Agrees With Me

Recently a woman, I’ll call her Sue, contacted me to share her  story of being physically harassed by an office thug.  The public humiliation included a stinging verbal assault of lies that culminated in: “…and it’s not just me.  I emailed everyone in the office and they all agree with me!”  The power of that sentence was not lost on Sue.  She knew that anything she now said about the incident to any of her co-workers would be perceived as coming from that far from equal framing: “defensive.”  Continue reading

Isn’t it time to re-link Workplace Violence and Workplace Bullying?

…The shootings came during an apparent counseling session between ICE supervisor Kevin Kozak and a lower-ranking supervisor, Agent Esequiel “Zeke” Garcia, where a third agent was in the room as a witness. During the hearing, Mr. Garcia allegedly drew his service weapon and shot Mr. Kozak six times. The third agent drew his weapon and killed Garcia… [February 18, 2012, CS Monitor]

During the 1990’s workplace shootings were prominently splashed across headlines in the mainstream news.   In response the FBI joined together with prominent researchers and leaders in this area and adopted the four (4) types of workplace violence (WPV).  One of those, type 3, was labeled worker-on-worker and research at the time already recognized the link between performance evaluations and tragic deadly shootings. At that same time a movement was underway by advocates to carve much of Type 3, which was often referred to at the time as “workplace aggression” into it’s own niche area by advocates of “workplace bullying (WPB).”

Continue reading