May 4th, 2009

Workplace Bullying: Psychological Violence?


By Steve Oppermann
FedSmith.com
December 3, 2008

I have written previously on workplace violence; this time, I am going to offer a few thoughts on bullying in the workplace, which a number of experts see as a form of workplace violence. Dr. Gary Namie has described bullying as “psychological violence,” and I think that is a very good description. The article will also touch on cyber-bullying, a new form of bullying that is as current as today’s headlines. (See, also, Pondering the Impact of Workplace Violence.)

You may have read the very recent – and profoundly disturbing – headline about a Missouri woman who was found guilty of misdemeanor crimes in a “MySpace” cyber-bullying case linked to a 13-year-old girl’s suicide. According to prosecutors, the woman conspired with her young daughter and a business associate to create a fictitious profile of a 16-year-old boy on MySpace to harass Megan Meier, apparently in an effort to humiliate Megan for saying mean things about her daughter.

The “boy” sent flirtatious messages to Megan, but then abruptly changed to a very harsh tone, telling her “The world would be a better place without you.” After receiving that message, Megan hanged herself with a belt in her bedroom closet. According to prosecutors, the woman knew that Megan suffered from depression and was emotionally fragile.

A major USA Today article dated November 19, 2008, entitled “Bullying devastates lives,” and chronicled the sad stories of three women who experienced constant bullying in school – one for having red hair, one for being shy, and one for being “different.”

The three women, now ranging in age from 28 to 52, continue to be affected by the bullying that they suffered in school. According to Daniel Nelson, medical director of the Child Psychology Unit at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “…there’s no question that ‘unrelenting,’ daily hostilities that maybe escalate to threats or actual aggression can be on par with torture…,” or that ” repeated and severe bullying can cause psychological trauma.” Nelson went on to observe that “There’s no question that bullying in certain instances can be absolutely devastating.”

A companion article talked about a high school girl whose epileptic seizures – of all things! – had made her a target in three different schools. She was so traumatized by the tormenting that she dropped out of school and is now pursuing independent study; the young woman “suffers so much that she could not be interviewed” for the article. Sisters Emily and Sarah Buder, appalled by the news, wrote letters to the girl and asked friends to do so as well. They hoped for 50 letters; the current total is 6,500, and counting!

I also ran across a November 7 Reuters article entitled “Bullies may get kick out of seeing others in pain.” In this one, University of Chicago “researchers compared eight boys ages 16 to 18 with aggressive conduct disorder to a group of eight adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression.” The article went on to state that, in the “aggressive teens, areas of the brain linked with feeling rewarded…became very active when they observed video clips of pain being inflicted on others. But they showed little activity in an area of the brain involved in self-regulation…as was seen in the control group.”

Researcher Benjamin Lahey noted that “It is entirely possible their brains are lighting in the way they are because they experience seeing pain in others as exciting and fun and pleasurable.” Lahey went on to say that “the differences between the two groups were strong and striking, but cautioned that the study was small and needs to be confirmed by a larger study.”

How does all of this relate to the Federal workplace?

Bullying, whether via the latest technologies or by more traditional means, is a growing problem in American workplaces of all kinds, and I don’t see why Federal agencies would be exceptions.

In fact, I just received an e-mail from a woman who indicated that she has been bullied so severely in her current job, to include being screamed at in anger by managers and treated with no respect by some of her co-workers, that she felt compelled to tell her story to someone. I have received similar comments from other FedSmith.com readers in the past in response to articles I have written that may have touched on the subject, so I know that there are employees in a number of Federal agencies who feel they are being bullied.

I think the following guidance, adapted from Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide, published in 2001 by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS), is worth a look whether you are a Federal manager, supervisor, or non-supervisory employee.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could ‘mentally’ hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.

What are Examples of Bullying?

While bullying is a form of aggression, the actions can be both obvious and subtle. It is important to note that the following is not a checklist, nor does it mention all forms of bullying. This list is included as a way of showing some of the ways bullying may happen in a workplace. Also remember that bullying is usually considered to be a pattern of behavior where one or more incidents will help show that bullying is taking place.

Examples Include:

  • Spreading malicious rumors, gossip, or innuendo that is not true
  • Excluding or isolating someone socially
  • Intimidating a person
  • Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s work
  • Physically abusing or threatening abuse
  • Removing areas of responsibilities without cause
  • Constantly changing work guidelines
  • Establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail
  • Withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information
  • Making jokes that are ‘obviously offensive’ by spoken word or e-mail
  • Intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking
  • Assigning unreasonable duties or workload which are unfavorable to one person (in a way that creates unnecessary pressure)
  • Under work – creating a feeling of uselessness
  • Yelling or using profanity
  • Criticizing a person persistently or constantly
  • Belittling a person’s opinions
  • Unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment
  • Blocking applications for training, leave or promotion
  • Tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment.

It is sometimes hard to know if bullying is happening at the workplace. Many studies acknowledge that there is a “fine line” between strong management and bullying. Comments that are objective and are intended to provide constructive feedback are not usually considered bullying, but rather are intended to assist the employee with their work.

If you are not sure an action or statement could be considered bullying, you can use the “reasonable person” test. Would most people consider the action unacceptable?

How Can Bullying Affect an Individual?

People who are the targets of bullying may experience a range of effects. These reactions include:

  • Shock
  • Anger
  • Feelings of frustration and/or helplessness
  • Increased sense of vulnerability
  • Loss of confidence
  • Physical symptoms such as:
    • Inability to sleep
    • Loss of appetite
  • Psychosomatic symptoms such as:
    • Stomach pains
    • Headaches
  • Panic or anxiety, especially about going to work
  • Family tension and stress
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Low morale and productivity

How Can Bullying Affect the Workplace?

Bullying affects the overall “health” of an organization. An “unhealthy” workplace can have many effects. In general these include:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Increased turnoverv
  • Increased stress
  • Increased costs for employee assistance programs (EAPs), recruitment, etc.
  • Increased risk for accidents / incidents
  • Decreased productivity and motivation
  • Decreased morale
  • Reduced corporate image and customer confidence
  • Poorer customer service

What Can an Employer Do?

The most important component of any workplace prevention program is management commitment. Management commitment is best communicated in a written policy. Since bullying is a form of violence in the workplace, employers may wish to write a comprehensive policy that covers a range of incidents (from bullying and harassment to physical violence).

Final Thoughts: I believe that managers and supervisors are morally responsible for ensuring that employees are not bullied in the workplace, but I also think that it makes good business sense.

For example, I can see real potential for people who feel they are being bullied relentlessly to eventually reach their limit and attempt to hurt either themselves or others. I believe that many of the students who have wreaked violence on their schools, such as Harris and Klebold at Columbine High School, or planned to do so, cited being picked on relentlessly as at least one of the motivating factors for their attacks.

While most employees who are bullied are unlikely to strike out at their perceived tormentors – in fact, they are more likely to absorb the bullying without saying anything to anyone – I can’t imagine anyone doing their best work when they are feeling bullied and humiliated and/or are fearful for their safety. Accordingly, I maintain that it is in management’s interest to maintain a respectful work environment and not to tolerate any bullying behavior.

I would advise managers and supervisors to start by examining their own behavior – soliciting feedback from trusted colleagues might be part of the process – to make sure they are not engaging in any bullying of their own, however inadvertent. I would also suggest that they let employees know that bullying, like workplace violence and threats, will not be tolerated, and tell employees who feel they are being bullied to report it to management immediately.

As always, I welcome the thoughts of FedSmith.com readers.

© 2009 Steve Oppermann. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Steve Oppermann.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 6:11 pm and is filed under Bullying & Health, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI in the News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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  • Pat Navadomskis

    I am a nice person. I always did MY JOB.
    i deserve a stable paycheck in a non hostile enviroment. not a living hell of SCREAMING MEME”S

    • Pamela N

      Yes I think there is such a fine line but in my case sometimes you can become the culprit and behave reflectively without even realizing it. In my case, that is what happened and I am bottled with so much anger regarding the incident. The water cooler, rumor mill is just wrong no matter how you look at it, and you can’t isolate yourself in an office all day. You will have to still communicate and relate on some type of level, until you aren’t in that office anymore. It is a tough place to be, especially when you are the minority and not the majority. It enrages me that our society can grow in one spectrum like becoming more compassionate and concerned with humantarian rights but then exhibit animalistic behavior towards another, no less at work when any business is built on relationships and maintained by communication. I hope to see an effective change, world wide similar to going green. It’s great not to waste so much paper products, and recycling is good. However, stepping on someone’s soul or esteem is just as equally important.

      • Serita

        Hi Pamela,

        I SO agree with you. I was subjected to workplace bullying and as a result ended up losing my state job of 24 years. It’s been two years and it still affects me. I have been unemployed since June 2008. Although I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons by going back to school full-time, I just can’t get past it. The fact that a person can have so much power and make it his sole purpose to make another person so miserable at work is ludicrous to me. I tried to sue, but if you don’t have thousands of dollars, you can forget it. Plus, in my situation, I was employed by the Office of Attorney Ethics and my “bully” was the Director of the office. Prior to being employed in that particular office, I worked in another agency 20 years and never had problems like that.

        Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed what you had to say on the subject. God Bless You!

  • http://www.you-can-learn-basic-employee-rights.com Yancey at You can learn basic employee rights

    Employers that tolerate or condone bullying are committing corporate suicide. Why? Because workplace bullying is one type of fuse that can and will ignite workplace violence. When I walked into my workplace almost 13 years ago the culture was filled with bullying by a co-worker and management. The atmosphere of distrust, disparate treatment, intimidation and low morale was truly a wonder to behold.

    My co-worker was allowed to run amok with blatant outbursts of cursing, demeaning personal insults, unprofessional conduct, negative gender and racial innuendos. All this with managements full knowledge and consent. Indeed, the department directors’ style was one of finger pointing intimidating disparate treatment and bullying. Since that time due to various lawsuits management has toned this employee down and itself somewhat. Oh, yeah that’s right.. the employee is still employed!

    The same management structure is still in place as well. What type of business would operate in such a self destructive manner? My employer is local government. That’s right, local government! Hmm… the last time I checked government is held to a higher duty of enforcing the laws of the land. What is amazing is the fact that no serious outbreaks of violence have yet occurred. However, as research shows their is no way to predict when a powder keg will explode. Even though there will usually be some warning signs beforehand. Managing office bullies will only be effective when government and employers manage “bully management”.

    • Louise

      I just came out of the absolutely worst work environment I have ever experienced. The laws that applied to workplace conduct were a joke. I was working in Social Services. The workplace bulling was so blatant it was obvious that the people doing it had no concerns of any consequences. Our tax dollars paid for it all.

    • Jean

      That’s interesting. I work for a local government agency, too. There has been workplace bullying by one manager, and lots of employees have been chased out. The turnover was unreal until this recession started.

      Too many people from higher up protect the manager though and because he caters to new employees, the new employees love him.

      Also, it is nearly impossible to fire anyone who holds a permanent position in the government. Thus, the abuse continues, and they all pretend that we are living in a wonderful La La Land because no one wants to look bad.

      • Vivian

        I agree Jean, and to expect any positive results from HR is a big joke! I’ve posted several blogs on here in the past and am grateful to have somebody to share my story with.
        I was employed in the health care field for many years. My last place of employment is a non-profit organization, in the TMC in Houston,Texas. Whew! If they only knew what I know and have seen and heard. Yes, I am very angry and hurt but life goes on and by the grace of God…so will I.
        I am a “Nurses Aide” as most nurses will tell you……..We are the backbone of the nursing staff, they depend on us. Our assignment is given to each CNA at the beginning of every shift. Trust me, after 12 long hours and only two “2″ fifteen “15″ minute breaks, it makes for a long long night! Not to mention “Nurse Ratchet” there are some nurses who deliberately make our job tougher. In addition to the fact they’ve forgotten “on hands” nursing is what it’s all about. Only a select few will offer their assistance when needed. Needless to say, you learn to do as much as possible alone. Also learning to look the other way instead of getting in a “paper war”. Writing people up is a waste of time, (I learned that lesson first). Second…DTA = Don’t Trust Anybody. In the medical field, if you’re low man on the totem pole as my position was considered. FORGET IT! Nobody is going to listen, it’s your word against theirs. If you’ve observed inappropriate nursing activities/behavior, patient abuse, medicaide fraud, repeated cross-contamination, false documentation,and theft. Long time employees will lie, twist the truth to their benefit. They are the worst of the Bullies. Documentation isn’t worth it, the bully will always deny your report. Setting you up to be fired is what they do best, not stopping until mission accomplished.
        It would be nice if the State of Texas would pass a law to stop Bullying in the Workplace.
        I worked hard, did my job well, kept to myself and took notes. Perhaps in rare cases, reporting the bully will pay off. My past observation dictates the bully is still employed at the same facility. Nobody cares to investigate the wrong doing persons. Ultimately, you’re unemployed, burnt out and sick from the mental abuse and humiliation. I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, fear seeking employment elsewhere. Being blessed with a wonderful supportive husband
        has been my saving grace. I can only pray and hope for justice one day. God bless you all

    • Angel

      My employer is local government as well and the amount of bullying that goes on is horrendous. No one reports it because the bully and HR will join together to make the target of bullying feel that they are the problem. Witnesses to the bullying won’t speak out for fear of losing their jobs.

      The best way to deal with bullying is to get out of there while you still can.

      • verdiyaya

        OH YEAH… !!! BY THE WAY, I WORK FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT TOO ??? WHAT ??? BLATENT CONDONED WORKPLACE BULLYING ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY ?? I should work on a farm with all the chickens around me. Ok, stress causes bad humor. The last
        verse in Psalms 5 says “we are encircled and covered with favor as a shield”. Umph. I ma hold on to that.

      • Vivian

        I agree 100% Angel, often makes you wonder “what the heck is HR supposed to represent”? Although I’m still very hurt and angry due to the false accusations against me. It’s also a relief not being there.
        When I was terminated last year, HR was never notified. Fine with me, I wanted out of there for good because if those two nurses were any indication of what type of people I’d be working with. WHEW!! No Thank-you.
        The(PCM)Patient care manager grew impatient when I refused to sign her crappy piece of paper……Stating I’d “Threatened Violence In The Workplace” I recall telling her,…….”I’m not signing anything when I’m not guilty as accused. I was slapped, but I NEVER slapped back. I also informed the PCM I’d be more than happy to take a polygraph. Then, we’d see who’s lying, but she brushed the idea off.
        I have been married to a Police Officer almost 30 years and am well known. I am a good person and a hard worker. Being blessed with a kind, loving heart and much compassion. I loved my job so much but I wouldn’t go back there for no amount of money! Looking back, I feel God has a reason.
        HR is the biggest joke ever! I’ll never understand How or Why people/coworkers are able to get away with the things they do.
        With each passing day, I thank God I’m out of that place.

    • verdiyaya

      OMG !!! did you just transfer out of the position I just got three years ago ? The “as needed” fellow employee who is boudary-less, etc., is my boss’ ‘yes person’ and I’ve just been clued in, is threatened by me. WHAT ???? It just occured to me, after loss of appetite (just not my style), stomach pains (mine is …’iron cast’), sleepless nights, fatigue, depression, sadness… WHAT ??????????????? Did some research and realized it’s like being physically compromised- like ‘rape’. Extreme ?? Not at all. The helplessness is in that, there’s no proof, ’cause there are no witnesses and according to my boss’ behavior, this woman can do no wrong (well, after 17+ years of loyaty and working closely together). In addition, I am a very fair skinned African-American woman not given to ‘cliques’… wrong move on my part !! So, not playing their ‘game’, I’m usually the odd man out. Although my job performance is exemplary, evidenced by saving my boss’ a$$ on numerous occasions (clerically), her behavior towards me has been increasingly favorable, except the covert behavior of my co-worker (there’s only 5-6 of us at any one time regularly). My job is ideal, the location is divine, and the pay is good. I’m gonna figure a way out of this… the first thing I’m gonna do is walk in straight-up, forward dignity and not waiver one way or the other… I’m not gonna let her, them, win !! Just not gonna do it !! Hope I don’t have to introduce legal intervention, but I also researched what to do… DOCUMENT DAY DATE TIME EVENT WHOSE PRESENT AND DETAIL in brief, concise terms without a lot of dramatic verbiage… I’m getting my documenting together… & either I’ll practice my writing, publish some kind of self help book, or win a court case… I’m 60 & post-menopausal & now, not to be messed with. WRONG PERSON THIS TIME !! This one’s not leavin like the one before me, this one is simply going to prevail.

    • Abigail

      Thanks for all your comments, it is horrible to hear such incidents, but there is a certain feeling of alienation when you feel alone with workplace bullying. I have seen it done to others and I have had it also happen to myself. I worked for a Medicaid organization in Chicago, where the bulk of their clients were women and children. During the time I worked there, I became pregnant and the CEO decided that he wanted to railroad me out, and replace me with men. He hired the men, and during my pregnancy, these executive males, made my life miserable. They finally did drive me out after I returned from my FMLA. They did everything they could to get me to leave, I would have been happy to, but I was single, had no money, and would have been uninsured without a job. I always was worried that because of all the stress I was under, I would lose my baby. What was even more amazing was one of the perpetrators was a Reverene! The corporate workplace is a arena for hostility, brutal and verbal abuse, fear-based. Even more insane, is that these people carry titles of psychologist, clergy, physican and other reputable professions. I have learned that by doing the best I can, working as a team, staying away from gossip, doing the next right thing, makes a person a target for bullying. Another lesson, is never, never, ever, take your bullying issues to the Human Resource department because they will find away to arrange your departure! Even if you resign, it is not over, because most references occur informally, through, employees, that either worked at that organization before, or know someone that worked in that or still works in that organization, they go to the popular employees that have longevity (because they play the Nazi game) and you are ruined because of their character assassinations towards you. They create your career homicide. It happens even prior to them even calling you for an interview. As such, I am in financial ruins, on Public Aid, and have a graduate degree from a top university. I am a single mother, have 3 kids, that do not have bikes, a decent winter coat, clothes that fit well, and any extras; games, friends at birthday parties, nothing. Being this poor is the most debilitating, depressing, demoralizing, and painful circumstance I have ever been through. We pray everyday, it is the only hope we have left.

      • Lisa Jackson

        Hello,

        I have been bullied for almost 3yrs. My story is similar to yours. I don’t have kids or a husband. I pray to God that you and your kids will prevail. Workplace bullying is very alive today. I will never be the same. It destroys you on all levels. I am still in the workplace. I am looking for a way out. I need to heal and not ever be subjected to the monsters who tried to destroy me. They did do a damaging job on me. No person in this world would ever know the tragdey that one goes through when they are bullied. I have a hard time getting past the rumors of me being a crazy person and that I run people away. I can’t find it in my heart to talk about some of things that was put on me by these monsters.(BULLIES) Everyone wants no part in it. Get this, one girl that was bullied is now in with the clique of bullying me. She was very ill for a long time I always thought she would not make it. She trys to bully me and act like I am bullying her. My story is similar to most people. But I pray to God to see you through this.

    • Female in Male Oriented Career

      My boss texted “B” and I showed HR. His response was that he wanted to talk about the alphabet! A co-worker “ran out of words” and could only use “F”. HR wanted to discuss his choice of careers. The other day my boss got in my face and called me a “b” several times, used intimidation and threats. As yet, no reply from HR. My male co-worker has been re-instated to full-time. Perhaps this is one for Canadian Human Rights Commission to figure out.

  • Adolescent Anger Management

    I have read several articles about adolescent anger management but they didn’t give me the complete picture but finally you article has done when i found it on Monday.

  • Sasha

    I’m a victim of bullying as a result of doing my job and minding my own business. I don’t think most people realize how much hurt comes from small episodes of bullying. Over time, all these minor situations add up to practically driving one insane. Most managers do nothing unless it so blatant that they cannot avoid it. That’s what I’m looking at now.

    • Louise

      I agree it adds up and when the bullied person gets enough they react and often that is what management sees.

      • leslie

        There was nobody by my side all the time to see all the different things that were done to me. The work environment was huge and not static seating arrangements either so there was plenty of opportunity for the mob to act out. People who otherwise would have supported me thought I was over-reacting because they never saw all the things that happened and assessment of that cumulative damage is not done even by the target who is emotionally reeling from the pain.

        I am now fully convinced that thoughts are things and that we can feel negative thoughts through the air even if we are not conscious of it – I believe that negativity impacts our physical body even though once again we are not consciously aware. Think about the last time you were in a crowd and for some unknown to you reason you turned to look in a direction different from where you were headed. When you turned your head you saw someone staring at you – maybe not even someone that you knew – intent unknown on a conscious level but it was enough of a violation of your space that on some unconscious level your radar perceived it and turned to face your “attacker” head-on.

        Sorry, best example I can give – but I am now more than ever considering this very seriously. I think that the decades of joking and derision about Michael Jackson depleted his life force and contributed over time to his physical demise and death – along with many other factors of course but still a major component imho and no I was not a fan. I don’t know anybody else who thinks this way as I do so if I am onto something known – please advise.

      • a

        I was a workplace bully victim too. At the very end, I experienced orofacial pain, after waking up from a nap after which I had been clenching my jaw for which there is no real effective guaranteed treatment, which gets worse with stress. I have to limit my chewing and can’t really eat all the same things I used to love to eat very much if at all. A few months before this occurred, my supervisor walked past my desk and said, “I would like to take them out and rearrange their face” I couldn’t sleep for several days after that. After hearing that I knew she was a vindictive person who liked to inflict pain whether it was psychological or physical. The security guy didn’t care about that because I guess he knew she wasn’t a psychiatrically labeled person, whereas the person who overheard it was. The disabled could never figure out if her all coworkers “friends” were pressured into bullying her based upon the supervisors instructions to bully her (in some cases she knew this to be the case as she overheard instructions for the senior employees to do this to her). But basically almost the entire team she was on was bullying her…asking her “Do you have confidence?” The disabled had a computer science degree, cum laude, which she did not try to brag about, while the bullies either did not have a degree, or it was in Management, or Information Technology. The supervisor who also did not have a college degree, would say stupid things like “You can’t take notes on a computer during a meeting and pay attention at the same time.” and get the disabled’s trusted friend and mentor to back up her stupid claims..Finally the disabled pointed out that the contractors took notes on computers during meetings. They were always changing their verbal requirements to assignments. The task leader would ask for an email description to send to her after they chatted about this in Lotus notes…then the supervisor said the disabled confused her coworkers with excessive emails and fired her for this.The disabled was put on AWOL as she was comforting her husband in the hospital and caring for him and she was trying to use her sick leave while she was sick too both physcially, with several physical conditions all at once..the HR claimed “Some cancer is not that serious” The supervisor acted callously and told her she should have made arrangements sooner for husband’s cancer surgery. The disabled sent in at least 4 sick notes, and still got put on AWOL, with the supervisor’s boss’s blessing as well as the HR’s blessing. HR was very uncooperative about answering any questions related to severance health packages and would only send email booklets which didn’t have all the answers in it.As for Michael Jackson’s case, I think it might be the fact that maybe he was innocent of being any kind of child molester. If he was molested as a child and cared deeply about children, and was innocent, I think this would be enough to send someone to an early grave. I know from experience…I love kids too and care about them and I was molested..I was scolded by my pediatrician that I would grow up to be one too..because of these stereotypes or predjudices I have decided never to work with children at all.
        There are so many cruel people in this world…I think the majority of them are..that I have become a recluse and no longer want to have anything to do with people anymore…cannot withstand any more physical or emotional pain and I must take care of my health now..the bullies are out there looking for someone to belittle, and I am not going to put myself out there again.

      • verdiyaya

        Hey ya’ll… the more I read the more courage I’m determined to stir up… check out the movie “What the Bleep do We Know”… particularly Leslie… yes, it is something known… follow your heart… Their destructive motives, especially when conscious of it to any degree, begin to reflect in their lives… stuff starts to fall apart, hopefully, they’ll “get it” & grow.

      • I, TOO, AM HUMAN

        MY WHITE CO-WORKERS PSYCHOLOGICALLY BATTER ME.

        I am an independent, highly skilled and confident visible minority working in a majority white company. I am labeled “uppity”, given back-handed compliments for being “articulate” and am constantly being treated in a dismissive manner by peers and colleagues.

        I am aggressively confronted by my white associates, whom frequently cross the line in workplace privacy, in an effort to control me or to “put me in my place”. My intelligence and skills obviously poses a threat to long-term employees that gained employment through nepotism or by way of the exclusive boys club.

        I’m not saying that only minorities get picked upon, but because visible minorities are rarely defended by the majority in-group, minorities become targets by insecure bullies; and especially when they do not fit the assumed stereotype for that particular minority group.

  • Tracy Romans

    I went through this with a company, starting in 2007, 2008, and after multiple write-ups and suspensions due to so called “poor job performance”, was evently dismissed for just cause. This led to me being evicted, being homeless for two weeks, i got my un-employment, but the company appealed and won on a bogus security video that the company said that i came back to my work area late on two instances the last night i worked. I suffered major depression of losing my job, my place to live, and almost all my belongings. How is this provable in court? Because I intend to sue this company. Is there any cases of individuals actually winning a lawsuit against a company for all of the actions taken by companies condoning this type of harrassment?

  • http://gingi1947@aol.com Lisa F.Unemployed and Angry

    First of all, I am very sorry to anyone who has experienced the horrendousness of this type of situation. Tracy-I went through just about the same thing as you, after being at my job for a year, and was “terminated” on Monday, the 15th. It was such a blow, initiated by a former Supervisor turned Office Manager about four months ago. She was, I think jealous of me, which is total crap, because I wouldnt want her job for nothing! But she picked on and at me, talked down to me in front of other employees, (consistantly), and no matter what I did there was something wrong with it.
    I am extremely bright, gregarious, positive and genuinely kind, and was constantly complimented by clients and other company personnel. On the 16th, I called the Labor Commision, and said “it’s obvious to me that in most social settings- when you stand out, with a great personality, good attitude and keen sense of detail, etc. that other people dont like it. The Labor rep said: “Of course, that makes them look bad.” What?
    Ewww-it just makes me so mad! I feel just like you Tracy, and was also suspended, written up for BS situations that others were not only doing, but excelling at. I liked my job. And that boss and another coworker, both spawned, I swear-from the depths of hell-made these past few months for me a Walking On Eggshells nightmare of Epic proportions! And I too will be pursuing Legal Representation. They STOLE from me, and that was a mistake, besides, GOD sees all.

    • Kim Maul

      You took the words right out of my mouth. How can this be? I have a Similar situation with plenty of witnesses. How can this be? How can they get away with this and not be able to be sued? Psychologically I’m shot and it all revolves around money of course but to have my job dangled over my head, legally, “what”, I just don’t believe it.

    • tracy romans

      That sounds about the same prob i had lisa. check this one. the last night i went to work, i got to the front door looked in at the security door entrance to the plant.low and behold in big bold lettering was a note on the tiny window which read tracy romans do not clock in, report to supervisor. i was like omg here we go, i was kinda laughing cuz they were doing this to try to embarass me in front of all the other employees.so i go in the plant and i go get on my coveralls i then went to look for the super on duty. i had about 5 minutes bdfore i was supposed to clock in so i was kinda rushing. well i walked to the middle plant office , he wasn’t there. so i walked back up to the time clock and i looked to my left and there he was. get this,,, he told me i was to take off my coveralls and leave the building. i was like what did i do? i asked who said i had to do this? he told me that he got a email from the plant manager. so he was actually righteous and gave me the email it stated tracy romans is not to clock in and is suspended until review from the union. well a week went by and i got a call from the union rep, i was told that i clocked in 5 minutes early from lunch. i was like i’m sure i didn’t cuz i was watching my clock in and out like a hawk. so a couple days later i got a call and they changed there story and said i took a half hour break. then it was i clocked out a half hour early for lunch. well i had to wait for two weeks for my final check cuz it all of a sudden got lost in the mail. so after i got released they said this time it was for just cause. well i lost my place to live was homeless finally got my edd and 6 months later the company appealed my edd payments. they came up with a cd from a security cam which i found out later from a union rep i saw at a resturant that the union contract stated that they could not use the security cameras for disaplinary actions and most exclusively not for firing a employee. well the meeting with the labor law board, i read the letter from edd and it asked a question to the plant manager if he was at the plant and did he fire me in person, he checked the yes box. that was the first lie. then in the meetings i asked the plant manager if the union rep was at the meeting where i signed a final agreement, and if he signed it that day he said yes. lie number 2. i showed the judge the original document that i signed,the plant manager signed and one more super signed. with no signature from the union on it it was the original i kept i proved that the plant manager lied under oath which is perjury. didn’t matter, the manager came up with a video that was at least 6 months of time that he could have manipulated the cd. i asked for it to be thrown out to no avail. it proved that i had went to the back of the building to get a mop and bucket which i said i did and showed me entering my work area with it to prove that i was actually working and coming to my work area with the mop, didn’t matter. i appealed my case three times and that didn’t work either.next time i go before a labor law judge i will for sure to have a lawyer. i wish i could have found a lawyer to take my case because the labor board daid in writing that i had a legetimate case but they would not represent me, i tried to find a lawyer to no avail. none of them would take my case on consignment. so even when the mgr lied and the cd wasn’t legal to use against me i still lost me edd and couldn’t find work for a long time. the judge new i was in the right and they did me wrong and he still favored the company go figure. they harassed me for two years on a daily basis and said i did a poor job performance all the time which is funny cuz i worked harder and cleaned my work area better then anyone working in the plant. i hope them bastards can sleep at night, cuz i know i couldn’t if i did that crap to someone working there that was paying child support and had no family near, i hope one day they feel the hungry like i did

  • Theresa-Eliz

    I have just filed a complaint with HR about a female MD and my manager. I finally talked to my Director, who had already talked to the other 2 parties. He raised his voice about me not telling him when it started over six months ago. Asked who I had talked to about it. I felt like I was wrong for saying anything! I have suffered panic attacks and depression. My co workers barely talk to me..one has cautioned me about my behavior being watched and conversations I have with her carried back to my manager. She doesn’t want her name used. But the policy is written for “harrassment”. It does not mention “bullying”. It is unbearable for me ..but I don’t want to give up.I want things to change.

  • Lisa F.Unemployed and Angry

    Theresa-
    Have you documented anything? My suggestion is to recall every incident that has happened with the Antagonizers/Bullies, and write it down. Include dates, times, situations, EVERYTHING. Make a timeline of events. If you do this, at least it will show that you are consciencious of your being wronged. First of all, you are not wrong for saying something, you are RIGHT! It is the HR person who is wrong, what sort of person yells at you for telling the truth, and fighting for your rights, which-according to the Declaration of Independence states: All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights-(heres the important part) that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That whenever any form of Goverment(work) becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Goverment, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.
    God bless you Theresa, you are not alone! As for that CREEPY coworker-That is exactly what my coworker did to me. And my boss let it happen. And bullying is Harrasment, it is exactly that. And vise versa. You are, by God, right Theresa, and you go on and you fight, because it is the RIght thing to do. It takes so much courage and strengh to do that, not like the gutless wimps and cowards who sit back, watch others being wronged, and do nothing. And I commend you!

  • Theresa-Eliz

    Yes, I have documented. When I spoke with my Director..My husband went with me. I quess he had thought he’d tear me up.. My husband kept quiet until then and very calmly but assertive asked a few questions of his own about the way in which I have been treated. I know it is a rocky road ahead. I have been moved to a different area to take away “some of the stress”. But, I hold my head up and go on. Thanks for your support and as you said “God see all”.

  • Sue S

    I have had over 20 years of working under the worse conditions possible. Within that time I’ve been drugged, physically assaulted, humiliated, berated, told (by HR) that the company policies designed to protect workers do not apply to me and was told by my supervisor that I had ADD. Other workers were told by management not to socialize with me, that I had mental problems, that I am trouble, not to be trusted, not smart, that I lie, cheat, steal etc. I’ve been transferred 6 times in the last 12 years (typical sign of mobbing and bullying – frequent transfers. When you get comfortable with your job and co-workers see that the rumors about you are not true and you begin a rapport with the, you’re transferred). It’s become common practice, accepted and even encouraged by management to humiliate and embarrass me in public. No one believed me so I began bringing in a recorder. Many of these events are recorded in one way or another. I’ve been to the union president who does nothing and told me that he” can’t make them treat me fair.”
    In reality, I’m a very good worker and good person. I take pride in what I do. I’m a great problem solver, do a lot of volunteer work and go to church regularly. I have life-long friends who I cherish, a wonderful family, excellent credit score and attended an Ivy League school. It’s only at work do I have this problem. I’m asked often (including by my current supervisor( why do I stay? My answer: No one will force me to leave. It’s a government job that I worked so hard to get. I am close to retirement and made a vow that they will be exposed, but after years of abuse, it is affecting me physically. I have constant nightmares as I know that I’m helpless. They’re putting on the pressure even more now because I made more money than some of the top managers.

    • garynamie

      Of course you fit the profile of a target (see our description http://www.workplacebullying.org/targets/problem/who-gets-targeted.html ).

      My biggest worry is that you won’t live until retirement if matters don’t stop. Years of unremitting stress causes a host of physical stress-related diseases. Those diseases kill. Read Sapolksy’s book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers on our recommended book list http://workplacebullying.org/tools.html

      Please put your health first. Who knows, by retirement time, the government might change the rules and you’d lose again.

      Gary Namie

      • Sue S

        Hey Gary – you’re right. That just might happen, but if it does, they will all be exposed. I’m talking about some top local politicians who just chose to turn their backs and not see.

        In today economy, I can’t leave and go somewhere else and make the same money I’m making now.

        Here’s another kicker too. Surprisingly, they lost some of my pension information. If I want to get credit for the time, I have to prove that I worked. This is for a period in 1988 & 1990. I can prove I was working, but don’t have the pay checks that prove pension was taken out.

        I worked overtime (7 days in a row) in April and still have not received payment. Suddenly, they don’t know how to process overtime.

        There’s just a spirit in me that if I give up the fight, I give up on me. It can’t happen.

    • social worker

      I just have started to document everything that another collegue is doing to daily bully me. The constant critisism, changing of her rules, making me look bad in frint of other peers, constant complaining of how I do my job to our supervisors and she is not even another social worker, but a nurse instead! I have been asked by our supervisors that they do not want THIS happening again. what, like I am responsible for her behavior? give me a break. I am already isolated and being told by my peers to “hang in there” they are just glad its not them. This bully already has an established pattern of bullying now how do I prove it is a pattern that management tolerates without getting fired? I fit all the traits of a target and to make it even sweeter, the bullying started happening while my father was dying and I just started this job. My director told me that I am a vicim of this person’s rage and no other social worker will work with her and the other nurses in our department do not treat her nice, so that tells me that these people are putting the responsability on me/ I am confused, this is mine to own why???? what is wrong with these people? I really like the job but will not tolerate the abuse. Any suggestions on how to keep going until I get enough to make a case without going crazy?

  • Jackie

    Thank you so much for the article. I read sad stories on this topic and wonder why aren’t people fighting back? Due to the unbearableness of bullying and the traits you wrote about from my boss, I took a medical leave and have decided to file with the Equal Employment Commission and got an attorney to help. No more bullying for me! I realize that it didn’t matter how much the cost of bullying was to the state organization I worked for, it didn’t matter, money wasn’t coming out of their pockets. They ignored several people’s plea (and my own) acting like we just have to deal with it. ‘Hope’ turned into despair for some office workers (incl myself). As my attorney stated, the people who are successful in these cases are people who have had enough and are willing to fight back! Amen, bring it on!

  • Lisa F.

    Sue S-
    Hey, God is with you, all the way, through thick and thin, and that is the sprit in you, and knows that you are right, and doing the right thing. In knowing all that you have gone through, it makes me feel bad. I cannot stand cruelty, it is disgusting and inconcievable that you have had to struggle with this for so many years. I am only 33 years old, and yet I too, (upon an epiphany just about 60 seconds ago), realize more than ever that my entire life has been a struggle of such. And you know what? It probably always will be! Because when you continue on with perserverance, not allowing yourself to be a “follower”, you will stand out. And that is threatening to those who CHOOSE to be just like rats and sheep and follow the race, and herd together, and they will herd themselves right off of a cliff because of their narrow- minded ways! And yes, Gary Namie is right, yet I know how you feel Sue, it is your sprit, it is your INTEGRITY (an attribute so rare to find), that will not allow you to stray from your principles and beliefs. That takes AMAZING amounts of courage and strength, and I also admire you! Especially in todays society, where people tend to follow the corrupt, and go with the flow, because of the *SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY of the GROUP DYNAMIC, or “group-think”. Those are the gutless wimps I was referring to. You probably, like me, stand your ground no matter what, even if many others are against you, based on an intricate system of principles. That is exactly what this shadowed world needs, and more of it! As for the people you work with and for-all you can do is pray for them, because JUDGING by their actions-they will be needing all the prayers they can get!:) You, my friend, have seen the worst-and you are a very important part of society and this world, never forget that. You are stronger than you think, stronger and braver than most, and that is what I call SUCCESS. See, money and material things blind us, and that ends up being more important than just striving to be a fine and decent, good-hearted INDUVIDUAL, who actually cares about others and would never, NEVER EVER harm someone else to get ahead. Yeah! :) You just keep on Sue, God’s will implores you to. And believe it or not, you are not only making a difference, you already have.
    *I’m sure you know what the “group-dynamic” is, otherwise you are intelligent and will find out.
    I, by the way, have a meeting with the Vice President of Bell-Trans, tommorow. All I can say is WOW. After going to Human Resources this past Friday, the HR director informed me of the meeting. At first it made me feel nervous, but after awhile I could’nt stop smiling! Oh, I just pray that it goes well-obviously my persistence wore resistance, and I will be back to report on the results of it. And please, have a beautiful and wonderful day-to anyone reading this.
    Lisa Fiorentino

    • Carol

      I am new here but I see you had things moving so I just hope, as this is a few days later, that thngs went well…am cheering for you!

    • EMFHAAC

      The lack of response to your comment comes as no surprise. You my dear are a gem, and a wise one. It takes backbone and integrity to stand your ground… they can’t bare to think someone else is getting to be themselves. They’ll get violent. They’ll hate the idea of you and as a group seek to destroy. Stay calm and carry on all good people.

  • Lisa F.

    Jackie-
    Please dont despair, you are on the right path. (Like I am one to talk, for if you had seen me last week, I was about in the pits of it-despair, that is.) It’s an EASY place to go to-but as I am sure you already know, that anything worth having is worth fighting for and working HARD at to get.

  • Carol

    I have read the bullying at work article and I just realized, that I have worked with that type of environment for the last 25 years. With the down turn of the economy, I would agree with the results of the recent study, showing an increase. I would suggest that another side also be examined within large health care orgs. The bullying is often set set into motion by executive creating unattainable performance goals, impossible to reach within the staffing levels permitted. The information I have read does not deal with the real causes, rather the many authors “keep their white gloves on” while discussing or writing about bullying. I have seen some of my colleagues ruined. What kind of person or org wants to affect another in such a manner? If you have suggestions with how to work with that, I would love to know.Thanks…Carol

    • Tamara

      Hi Carol
      I was recently terminated after six years of being bullied and am starting my fight for compensation etc.
      What I wanted to share was a previous experience where I eventually got some answers from my ‘bully’. I feel bad thinking of her as a bully and have realised that she had been failed by our employers just as I had.
      My new line manager was fresh out of university with a degree in Business Management. Bit of a Whiz Kid when management was all about the ‘Search for Excellence’.
      I had been there for some years and knew the job inside out and also had the management skills to have applied for her job (I just didn’t want to leave what I was doing – I’m not ambitious but want to spend my life doing what I enjoy)
      When she left after five years she apologised to me and explained that she was ambitious, got her first management job at a much higher level than she had herself expected and “was scared shitless” at what she had taken on. She told me she felt a little intimidated by other members of the team but had dealt with all of them in a positive way and in turn had earned their respect and loyalty.
      In my case she told me that my knowledge and reputation as a highly successful worker was too much for her and she had avoided the simple steps of talking to me and using my skills and experience to develop her own knowledge and skills.
      She recognised my potential for a management position and advised me to apply for her post when she left. She apologised and wished me all the best. Nearly 20 years on I wish her all the best: I know she had learned a lot from her experience and could acknowledge the wrong she had done to me.

      (What did me more serious harm in the long run was higher management’s support of this woman’s behaviour at the time. What could have been resolved with a little mediation at the beginning had become a major problem which affected work and relationships within the whole team; higher management concluded (with no investigation) that my senior was in the right and therefore I had to go. Their behaviour in transferring me to new office (miles from home) disciplining me for doing things I hadn’t (always a grain of truth in it but twisted to imply something else) and finally setting me up by asking me to do something (against policy) which they knew I would refuse to do.

      When my new line manager started she met with me to ask what had been happening and advised me she had been given a background, looked at my work reports (and found them to be outstanding in terms of results and work practice) and couldn’t understand why I had been subjected to so much harassment and negative management.

      This is what finally broke me. Suddenly no pressure to prove my value or my committment. I had no reason to stay in post and had a complete breakdown (six months full pay on sick leave) and I was finally offered the opportunity to leave with my head held high, a pension (20 years service in total )and a lump sum to ensure I didn’t need to trap myself in another job just to support myself and my child (single parent)
      I moved on from there and have continued to work in various jobs which I enjoyed and felt used my skills.

      Often it is newly promoted managers who are feeling insecure and out of depth and lacking in the sort of wisdom we normally acquire with age. They are not necessarily given the support and training to undertake the role and (as in my case) the best way to deal with somebody you feel is bigger than you is to ‘pull them off their perch’ demean them and prove you are bigger and better. My line manager might have felt bigger and better in relation to me – I felt victimised.
      Employers can do something about this but unfortunately all to often they have applied the ‘Peter Principle’ when appointing new staff

      “Never appoint anybody above your own level of incompetency”

  • leslie

    We KNOW that their brain lights up when they bully! We KNOW they get some kind of hormonal rush from it – so do the onlookers! It is a huge competition to outdo each other in abusing the target. Every author seems to be addressing management’s part and not the lateral employee’s who in my case did much of the mobbing. Sorry but I have to use the term mobbing because they are a group whereas bully implies individual to me. Yes there was a bully manager presiding over all of it and some bully supervisors too. I was a federal employee. My union was part of the problem in a huge way but even the Labor Board flaked out on me. Near the end a union steward purposely slaughtered my first and only grievance and then publicized it for loud laughter on the workroom floor. Prior to that I overheard her talking about my grievance to a super who had no business knowing because he was not my super. A few minutes later I heard him talking about it to an employee whose name was put in the grievance for what reason I have no idea. Well I do have a good idea because that employee was a vicious pitbull of a gossip queen and how people tolerated her bringing up the same stuff over and over I have no clue. When I spoke to the local President I could not even get my say because she started screaming at me as soon as I introduced the topic. I can with all honesty say that I absolutely hate the union. I have had the opportunity to be in two government employee unions and they both were corrupt as anything and useless to me. They take individual dues but they don’t take individual cases unless it is for the civil rights (?) of an alchoholic or drug addict – not for normal hard workers like me. . . . no we get no representation unless we are part of a large group that will bring in huge settlement monies to the union. The union does not address lateral problems at all – they are stuck in an old vision that constantly pits employee with management and does not acknowledge the lateral co-workers doing managements’ dirty work or currying favor with management or providing entertainment for management with their mobbing. Maybe if they got current with this they wouldn’t be losing so many members. The poor economy has helped them a little bit (I check because I hate them so much) but over the long haul it won’t because no amount of pay and benefits can compensate the mobbing/bullying victim and we are many!

    • alex

      I work for local government, fire department to be precise. I couldn’t agree more with your perception of the union. As a matter of fact I dropped out last month and this month someone filed a complaint with frivolous and untrue allegations against me. I will not have any problem defending myself but the allegations depict me as incompetent and insolent. Two years ago I was forced to file a harassment complaint which was ultimately swept under the rug. I do not want to lose my job because there are no firefighter jobs out there especially for someone over 40. The problem is that they have no fear!

  • garynamie

    Leslie,

    1. The brain effects study – pleasure from others’ pain – is described here. http://www.workplacebullying.org/2009/05/10/pleasure-from-pain/

    2. Unions are an American paradox. At the national and state level, little is done to help workers. It all depends on the local. As you pointed out so well, it really depends on your steward or rep. If they don’t understand bullying (and deliberately mock it as yours did), they are the enemy. That local cannot claim to be employee advocates. The entire local is no better than its worst, laziest, unengaged steward. We work with Canadian unions, too. Funny how so many of them are different and pursue arbitration on behalf of their members. In the U.S., unions never seem to have money for arbitration or they have been compromised by “partnering” with management.

    3. Mobbing is bullying. Mobbing always begins with one individual’s hatred for another who then quickly recruits allies against the target. All bullying escalates to many against one. Mobbing is the same phenomenon.

    Gary Namie, WBI

    • Michelle

      Hello,

      I am a shop steward for a union. I have been one for a little over a year now. My first year. I had represented someone who was a victim of workplace bullying. It was her case that had gotten me involved as a lobbyist against the practice. It amazed me how much a lot of the shop stewards were treating her as if she was the problem. The case was given to me. It was then, that I started trying to work with her as much as I could. Procedures were not followed by former stewards, and the manager got away with murder. Not including, causing her to have an emotional melt down in the office, then wanting to write her up for unprofessional conduct. It was at a meeting where, I had actually said something “positive” of the employee. The Manager turned on me like a pitbull in heat. She did not want to hear it. It was then that I started my research. I learned as much as I could about corporate policies, our CBA (collective bargaining agreement), and about workplace bullying in general. Unfortunately, I could not help her due to the fact that I got into the situation too late. However, I prevented the manager from moving on to another unsuspecting victim. I filed a grievance, and wrote specifically on it, “Workplace Bullying” The manager has mellowed out since. The best advice I can give you is when you are looking for a shop steward, not all shop stewards are evil. Make sure the shop steward knows everything they can about practices, “workplace bullying” and takes the time to investigate. I always meet with the member I plan to represent so that I have time to investigate. I know now how to detect it, and battle it. HR is irrelevant to me. I know all my resources and how to use them. Our contract is coming up next year and I”ve already lobbied by fellow shop stewards as well as, my fellow union members to fight against harrassment and workplace bullying and am urging them to put stronger language in our next contract to combat this dilemma.

  • leslie

    Thanks Gary. All the techniques have been used on me and then some. I’ve got all the PTSD symptoms, and then some. I am now disabled and have more physical problems than any bully website has mentioned and they are definitely life threatening. I cannot emphasize too strongly that your advice is correct – get out before you lose your health!

    Lastly, I am now in a very vulnerable population. My disability check amounts keep getting cut and I have found no-one who helps with this.

    • a

      What is helping me….I have suggestions to those who are damaged…and on disability and unable to return to work…build your strength back up…watch some Joel Osteen shows even if you can’t donate, see if you can practice playing a musical instrument…get your mind onto creative things, use your degree to start a business, study subjects you’ve always wanted to study…it is hard to forget all the injustices…especially when there is a long string of them, but just remember how the Saints persevered being persecuted all the lives and how good they were..the mangement would like to accuse the bullied victims of being violent but actually it was the bullies who were violent as I ended up with a stress induced injury they so happily caused for me.

  • http://gingi1947@aol.com Lisa F.

    Carol-thank you so much, that means so much to me.:) Unfortunately, it did not work out as planned, but I am still working on it. I will get back soon-thank you!

  • http://gingi1947@aol.com Lisa F.

    Leslie-I would like to reply to your comments, but I have procrastinated enough today so I will be back!

  • http://gingi1947@aol.com Lisa F.

    Basically I have to do more research and typing and compiling information, because they are trying to refuse me unemplyoment!? Good God Man.
    Does it ever end?

  • Jackie

    Lisa, Thank you for your kind words. I realize how easy it is to get physically sick over retaliation. I never, in a million years, would of realized what retaliation was and how subtle (and obvious!) it is and how it paralyzes peoples emotional, physical and mental states. I had recently contacted the past person whom my boss retaliated against and I found out that part of her settlement agreement (besides monetary) was for my boss to leave the county. So, his employer relocated him without telling his current supervisor his past. So many articles I am reading are about incompetant manager and how they are costing companies big problems and money. I think the American workforce is in for a change. Companies can’t afford these mistakes anymore.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. I understand what you are going through.

  • leslie

    Sorry for what you and all of us are going through.

    No Lisa, it never ends. Everything is set up to make it difficult for the potential scammer I suppose and unless there’s blood and bones exposed we will all be considered scammers until sensitivity and public education has made the awareness more and effective. It is a shame. Working together to make laws is our only option I guess.

  • limo driver

    yes it is a fact that when the mangement is the owner it is a shame there are no laws here in Nevada to help the worker the feds need to make the laws to stop this and put these people in jail then it mabee will stop u was cuss at and finley fired but it was a good thing thay lost a great employee and i get to sleep now and i will move on from all of his bullying he wont stop i here he is still doing it and i have been gone over a year so now i know it wasent just about just me i was the one that was fine and he has the issue and the other owners allow this to go on and on and on so the bottom line at bell limo thay have a mgmt issue with this guy but because he is family they the family need to stop it it is the only way

  • http://www.mgm-in-a-nutshell.com Jay Jacobus

    One way the victim can arm himself is by reading a psychological text on behavior modification. The victim can learn what the bully is doing and can also learn what to do to modify the bully’s behavior.

    Anything that can empower a victim is a good thing.

    • a

      I don’t think you can modify a bully’s behavior unless you fire them. There is a communication technique called “leveling” where you tell the bully how their actions are bothering you, in a diplomatic way…it is still risky because it may not work..furthermore, bullies are usually psychopaths who feel no remorse and have no conscience and they enjoy inflicting pain on others…How do you suppose someone could have modified Hitler’s behavior? He had so many bullies on his side, that a war had to be started to fight him. We need to share our stories so everyone knows this is going on..and take care of our health…wicked people aren’t going to change for us. We can only change ourselves, there was nothing we could do to change the psychopaths.

      • bullied in USFS

        One day after I participated in a National training session “Changing your behavior to Deescalate Conflict” I was confronted by my workplace bully of 7 years. I was thankful to have taken the self help training, but the conflict is getting worse after talking to her. She and her mentor are targeting me and my husband who has a 40 year career with the USFS. This bully never improves the quality of her work and in telling someone in the chain of command the mentor has taken on a vendetta to avenge the bully.
        I am reading a book “Code Switching How to Speak so Men will Listen.” It is good and encouraging for self help. But the bully instinct is a very strong force. I read that someone with a dominant state of mind will not listen. A bully wants to dominate everything and everyone.
        Several years ago the bully complained about hostile work environment which resulted in 2 Alternative Dispute Resolutions involving 4 employees with more than 100 years of service cumulatively. The bully at that time had less than 5 years service. Does this tell you where our organization is heading?
        The quality of work this person does has not improved. Why should I care at this point? If I can make it 4 more years until I am 62 I can safely retire. I have systemic lupus and can only hope the stress from this situation does not force more health issues. Maybe it will and I can go out early on a disability. I think looking at the PTSD symptoms for workplace bullying might be enlightening. For now if I am confronted I will only ask if I am being accused of something. My only wrong doing is telling someone in authority that someone else does not do her job very well.
        Thank you for understanding.

  • Jay Jacobus

    Just to add a point:

    One of the characteristics of the behavior modification text I am reading is that the person using behavior modification is always superior to the subject.

    If this discipline is to work for victims of bullying, the “inferior” person would need to translate the techniques for the use by the employee, student, child, prisoner, etc.

    • a

      Yes well I was the one with the Computer Science cum laude degree while my bully supervisor either never went to college or she didn’t have a degree. She had a PMP.
      So I my education and character was superior to hers, and she would belittle me on my note taking, even photocopying my notes at one point.
      I told her note taking worked well for me in college, and she screamed at me “GET OVER IT!”
      I just wish I had left sooner…While everyone at husband’s work was praying for his cancer surgery, and he had no sick notes sent in, my supervisor was putting me on AWOL, and demanding that I contact her directly after so many times being screamed at by her and then having to read her cold, uncaring emails…she showed more emotion about someone being late to a meeting when the person called to say they would be late, than to someone whose husband was in the hospital with cancer while the employee was also sick. The true hallmarks of a psychopath…

    • Guy

      The target has to find a way to whip the bully the is within the boundaries of fighting set by the management of the organization. What I have discovered, after 26 years of combat with bullying and mobbing groups in the same organization, is that management’s “Rules of Engagement” effectively legalize what psychologists and sociologists have described as “Relational Aggression.”

      Relational Aggression (RA) consists of the psychological bullying (psychobullying) techniques typically employed by adolescent girls in a public school setting. In other words, the management of most business/governmental agencies have decided that:

      1. “Fighting like a man,” meaning direct confrontation with the main bully in a mobbing situation, is too close to violence to be permitted.

      2. “Fighting like a girl” is acceptable as it does not employ tactics that are associated with physical violence.

      Combined with the RA tactics of “tween” and teenage girls (the gossiping, the social isolation, the public humiliations, the “set ups,” etc.) are the specific tactics and strategies of ambition fulfillment by the main bully leading the mob. The chief bully in charge of the mob, or “clique,” is seeking material, social and psychological gain through planning and executing psychobullying operations. This can mean actual promotion into a bona fide management position, security through currying favor with the boss, a sense of personal power and control over the organization, ego gratification, the cover-up of abuses and even crime within the work group, or a combination of two or more motives. The motives of the bully are not as important as the means. The target has to analyze the bully’s tactics, particularly how the bully has managed to mutate the organization’s structure. The main bully leading a clique is after an UNOFFICAL POSITION OF POWER. This unofficial position of power changes how authority is communicated within the organization.

      Organization publish organizational charts that purport to show how authority and communications flow within the organization. Psychobullies change this flow through their manipulative operations. The target has to learn both how this flow is supposed to work and how the psychobully has changed it. Learning how to work that flow of information and authority can help the target manipulate it to the target’s favor. It takes time, that’s true, but from what I’ve read in here, a lot of people who just give up and leave a job have just as much, if not more stress than they would staying and learning how to fight such bullies.

      One way a target stays a target is a history of job hopping. It is a red flag to psychobullies.

      • Guy

        An example of how psychobullies manipulate organizational flow of authority and decision making is how a small clique attempted to set me up with an impossible job assignment by one clique member getting a local supervisor buddy of his to assign me to run a type of job I had not even assisted on in about five years. In addition, I was to be awarded an incompetent assistant. I knew about the clique member’s relationship with the local supervisor and his subservience to the psychobully who frequently targeted me. The thing was, I knew the organization’s REAL lines of authority. These jobs are actually the responsibility of a central office supervisor. I turned informally to the central office supervisor, but did it in a way that did not suggest I suspected anyone was “doing anything bad” to me. I just gave him the facts, which he found negative. The assignment of personnel to that job made no sense to the central manager, so he went to the local supervisor and VETOED it.

        The bully’s defeat was total. He didn’t bother me again for two years, and I whipped him that time, too.

      • Guy

        Oh, something I want to emphasize is that, when you go informally to someone in management about a situation like that job assignment set-up, don’t say anything about anyone being “out to get you.” Management does not want to hear this, unless you go to management about what bullies are doing to SOMEONE ELSE, which is another tactic I use frequently (we mustn’t be “bystanders, right?).

        These are some of the “unwritten rules” of nearly every organization, for some reason.

        I’m not in the quitting jobs business. I’m in the whipping bullies business, and cousin, business is a-boomin’!

  • Major Headache

    I don’t want to be a helpless victim anymore! I seem to attract bullies. Not constantly, but periodically throughout my life I find them attacking me. My bully at work used to be a friend, but restructuring and stress at work has turned her into a horrible, monsterous person. She is only slightly above me, holding the same position but “senior” and she is constantly on my case, making me feel incompetent and stupid. She is queen of squashing morale and building herself up. I am always worrying around her, and feel actual physical discomfort. She nauseates me… I haven’t told anyone. I feel she puts an inordinate amount of importance on everything I do, and I have to get her off my back!

    • garynamie

      First, you didn’t cause her to find you or seek you out. She initiated the search. Bullies look for people unlikely to confront them back directly and immediately. If the opportunity is passed, it’s very hard to get the claws out afterwards. You are not a flawed person. You can’t easily be taught to defend yourself. However, you could be less open, disclose less of your personal life before the other person opens up and shares hers. Adopt a new principle that others have to earn your good treatment and respect. Targets trust first, then get hurt when their assumptions about people are shattered. Flip an internal switch and hold back on the trust until the person has proven herself. Deliberately and mindfully make this your new style of operating. If a relationship is about one person controlling the other, make the controller make the first move so you can see what motivates her. Give nothing and you’ll be surprised less.
      G. Namie

      • http://www.mgm-in-a-nutshell.com Jay Jacobus

        Another technique along the same lines is to keep the bully guessing instead of quickly making a decision. If the bully doesn’t know what you will do, she will have a harder time knowing how to control you.

    • a

      I would suggest you not maintain any toxic relationships out of loneliness like I did..it really is better to be alone than with an emotionally abusive person.. I had a friend like that, only she would spread gossip, and try to dig up all my gossip, while trying to get me to spend alot of money, a recipe of trying to ruin someone emotionally and financially…Get away from these people…plenty of people can start businesses at home if they are creative and talented enough, and get yourself a pet, like a stray cat…they will never insult you like people will. our society is becoming more chaotic and people are desperate to be number one and pick on their competition and they have insecurities about being less talented than the people they bully. They have not shaken my confidence one bit, although they tried.. I have no confidence in them, but I have 100% confidence in myself that I am a GREAT person who will persevere and never behave like those psychopaths.

  • Major Headache

    Thank you both for your comments/suggestions. They are very fitting to my situation! I tried being deliberately careful about what I say to the bully woman, so as not to put myself out there for her to mow me down. I’m also becoming very conscious of my feelings, and being careful not to react. I notice now that that is exactly what she does–reacts without a thought and turns everything into an angry, emotional outburst. I have to be alert and aware of my feelings at all times, so I can make an educated decision of how to respond to her.

    • garynamie

      When the energy involved in walking on eggshells is too draining, take stock of the value you derive from staying. When your health goes, it’s past time for you to go.

      • Major Headache

        You’re right… Some days are better than others and I feel empowered for dealing with such an ugly person, but today I feel drained. I feel an enormous pressure in my head and I have to leave the building to get it to subside. It doesn’t help that I carpool with this women 45 min each way, and sit with her facing me every moment of my workday. I’m taking steps to find another job. :/

  • standing up for Bullied partner

    If I could, I’d walk into that MBBW Law Firm where my husband has worked for 13 years and give every partner and the bullying legal Administrator a piece of my mind! That bitch has only worked there for 5 years and for those five years has been a complete manipulating, lying, snide comment making, undermining, dirty kneed bitch! She has fired over 25 people and over 30 have left on their own because she drives people to leave…two have had law suites against the Firm due to the abuse they’ve endured from the hands of Ms. Bitch. I can’t stand to hear the stories of what actually goes on at my husband’s office…I mean I’m the one that’s going to sue them pretty soon, it’s effecting my life now! My husband is so tired when he gets home, he can barely function sometimes! Prior to her working there, our home life was wonderful…now I just listen to the stories and watch my husband sleep…all the time…he is depressed…and talks in his sleep, it’s like nightmares about work all the time! I hate it! I hate this bitch…Can I sue this Law Firm for ruining my life..as well as my husband’s job? This woman is a creepy, sneaky, lying, manipulator…she tries to always make herself the martyre in every situation…and they keep letting her get away with it…I know she is getting down on those dirty little knees of hers…How do you stop someone like this monster?

    • Pat Navadomskis

      I really do not understand why any place of business puts up with this crap—over and over and over same story —-Law firms,accounting firms banks this business and that —WILL SOME ONE STEP UP and put and end to this.
      THEY ARE DESTROYING THE BUSINESS–that is exactly what they are trying to do.They are COMMUNISTS TERRORIST PHYCO’s they are comminting PHYCOLOGICAL VIOLENCE and they should be LOCKED UP for treason anyone who has committed that much damage TREASON

    • a

      If you can, you need to get out of all these bad situations..you could end up with multiple psychological and physical health problems for which there is no cure and treatment for it will make it worse.

  • peaches

    remember this – people who bully others – ARE NOT IN SELF CONTROL. Fight back – you are a very important asset in your organization. People who lack self control – show their patterns – time and time again – just sit back. listen. and watch., and record in your journal or tape.

    • garynamie

      Also remember, targets are targets specifically because they did not fight back. It’s tough. G. Namie

      • a

        If workplace bullying is not illegal there is no way to fight back…because if targets could fight back and win, don’t you think we would be doing so?
        Do you expect us to bankrupt ourselves trying to win when the courts favor employers? That just makes the bullied, emotionally, physically (like in my case) and financially ruined.

      • Anonymous

        Dear forum,
        At the end of the day, bullying is about “de-humanizing” your target. I worked in a key position in a UN office. Examples of how this has happened in my case:

        1) Emails that are directed to you with your bosses on the “to” line and you only on the “copy” line. Likewise, when you respond, only acknowledging the email/document/project if it comes from your boss, only thanking him/her for the input.

        2) Gossip, laughter, snide remarks (Later, I had a “helpful” member of management highlight my increasingly isolated behavior in a high-level meeting, after which the gossip and remarks stopped, and all managers stopped by to “encourage” me, and the Director patted me on the shoulder in the elevator. Actually I don’t think pity was really the answer at this point.)

        3) Bosses that are plotting their own projects by encouraging you to act/cooperate in a certain way, rewarding you for this, and thus using you as the pawn – and when tides change, they back out and you look foolish.

        4) Spiral of attracting supervisor attention, then increased meddling, increased insecurity of supervisor (about status, about the project itself, anything),and slow steps to de-skilling your job or blocking projects that were once very successful.

        Hard work and talent will get you partly there, but there is something I would like to remind readers about -how well you manage POLITICS in any career will eventually bring you the success. If you are talented, work hard, and actually play the politics that are in front of you, you can almost always win if you do so before the situation becomes unredeemable.(Once it has, get out! About 6-8 months in poor psychological conditions is enough!).

        Always attempt at the first critical moments of a confrontational encounter with a more powerful person to garner social support from him/her and also in the office. The important point about good politicians (who are obviously not writing here..)is that they know that getting critical support behind them is key to living a powerful life. Bullies are rather unsophisticated politicians, some could likely be easier to win over -or get promoted around!- than you think.

        Getting support involves strategy. It is a process of “re-humanizing” yourself. Work, and if the situation has gone almost out of hand, work HARD to get people back on your side. You can do this by reaching out with something human (by doing something nice, by sharing a story or talking about your kids/spouse/pets, by thinking of a good rationale that would win over the person’s mind or touch on a personal threat or weakness- motivating them to cooperate!, by asking questions or negotiating in a neutral fashion, by leaving the troubled topic and approaching the issue differently, or by reaching out and moving on with a new person or group of people in a strategic way).Once you have the support, then the next test of your ability is to work out your own plans (a promotion? a new project?)-maybe not immediately, but there will be a moment that is ripe for them.

        I am glad there is a website and institute on Workplace Bullying, as I and others found it by googling. In some phases, support and comfort is definitely necessary. There may also be a need for a legal answer. However, I’d like to see more attention (here or elsewhere) on building up the interpersonal skills that can help you weave your own network of success. There are plenty of people who have these skills out there, who can exit or turn a situation around before it affects physical or mental health. In this way, they maintain integrity and self-dignity, and can continue leading a rewarding life. Several studies analyze the optimum performance curve as a good time to solidify plans and support for the next phase. If you are constantly seeking your best self, there is a better chance of rolling with the punches.

  • Jackie

    Jay,
    You are making sense. How do you suggest to disarm a bully?

    • a

      If you live in one of the law office study states, you could work towards passing the bar exam without paying for law school, and devoting your lives to representing bullied employees…and maybe introducing legislation.
      I am not in a position to do this..but that is a good career direction for some people.

  • Paige

    Thank you for posting this article. I am going to my company’s HR department this week, and reading this helped me organize my thoughts. I have seen two people bullied out of my current department, and I’m concerned that I am the next target.

    • garynamie

      Lower your expectations before talking to HR. They are not your advocates, ally, or friend. They are a management support function. Nothing wrong with that unless you go in naively expecting help. Read our book The Bully At Work first and read everything in the Target support section of this website. Read our 2007, 2008, 2009 survey results to see how HR defends bullies at all times, unless they are non-supervisory. Or call for Coaching. Gary Namie

  • Tsahhh

    My boss would ALWAYS check on what I wear for work. She bends her whole body to see what my work shoes are. She makes me pull up my pants so she could see my shoes too. Worst, she touches/feels the fabric of my pants just because she thinks this is jeans that I am wearing, not slacks. Does the touching really has to be involved? She’s been doing this for like two weeks already and I feel embarrassed by her actions. Do you think it’s bullying? I do feel anxious and mad, I feel I am violated. Again, it’s like asserting her power over me. I am nobody’s slave.

    • verdiyaya

      Wake up girl… she’s TOUCHING you without your permission… THAT’S BORDERING OR RIDING ON SEXUAL HARRASSMENT… extreme ?? Think about how it makes you feel. You have rights. She’s nasty.

      • Michelle

        A manager or fellow employee cannot touch you in an innappropriate way period! Let her know, if she touches you again. You will be calling the police. The manager getting arrested, the higher ups will have to listen.

  • Patty

    I really enjoyed the article. After being bullied at work, I was curious to research the topic. My bullying was done by co-workers who actually liked me, but took teasing to another level. They seemed to enjoy being critical. They would take something I said in a casual conversation and find something in it to berate me about. Over and over. I tried brushing it off, but by the end of the week, I felt worn and beaten down and sometimes I cried on the way home. This problem makes you feel very vulnerable, and more distrusting, isolated and depressed. I was finally fed up and got very stern with them, and they seemed shocked. I hope it helps.

    • Julie

      Patty,
      I have had similar situations occur with friends who take joking to another level. I consider joking around with friends healthy and fun, but there is a big difference between being laughed at and laughing with friends. I am currently taking assertiveness training and it explains how to keep situations like this from occurring. I’ve also weeded out some of the people I am friends with because all they do is make fun of me and I don’t need friends like that. Good luck!

  • Chris

    I’ve seen several articles on workplace mobbing. Authors differentiate the phenomenon from bullying by emphasizing abuse by a group. I don’t see mobbing on the Workplace Bullying Institute website. Does WBI recognize mobbing as something different?

    • garynamie

      Mobbing is the European term. Coined by Konrad Lorenz, adopted by Heinz Leymann (the father of the international movement — see some of his work posted in our Research section). Leymann wanted to distinguish the adult version of bullying from bullying experienced in childhood. Workplace bullying was the term coined by British Andrea Adams shortly after Leymann’s work in Sweden.
      From our perspective, they are identical. Bullying begins with personalized hatred and loathing by one individual who quickly (and sometimes simultaneously so as to be imperceptible) enlists the aid of others in the campaign of interpersonal destruction. Unchecked bullying evolves into the entire organization siding with the perpetrators against the target. That’s why when the person eventually complains, he or she sounds paranoid that so many are involved. Mobbing purists (like our friend Ken Westhues) believe that bullying is simply one-on-one. It is not, the phenomena are one and the same, differing by geographical origin. The EU uses mobbing. The UK, Australia, Canada and the US use bullying.
      G. Namie, WBI

  • andie

    I’m currently unemployed and recovering from a job that left the wind knocked out of me. I really feel like I’ve been punched and the sting won’t go away.

    I worked for a couple of insecure bosses. They wanted desperately to be loved and admired by their employees so they made all kinds of grand gestures, all while harping on them until they all felt completely worthless at their jobs. They were routinely firing people and telling everyone else that they could be replaced!

    I knew something was wrong but I had needed the job so badly that I tried to take it in stride. However, I made the mistake of standing up for myself ONCE and what followed were months of snide (extremely rude) comments, constant criticisms (nothing was good enough,) nasty looks, letting me ‘overhear’ conversations where I’m getting torn down, etc. New employees were warned not to socialize with me and current employees were effing rude to me. Finally I was getting berated for something I had done wrong. I’d followed instructions but they’d decided that this was the reason they’d fire me. I broke down in tears and ran into the parking lot, where I called my husband and begged him not to make me go back. When I did get it together I went back in and they fired me. I’m sure they had wanted to fire me for something devastating but I thing the crying jag made them feel bad (remember, they believe that they’re wonderful people and their employees love them (they don’t, they were despised like I’d never seen anyone despised)) so they made up some lame reason for letting me go: I was bad at communicating.

    My confidence is in the dumpster at the moment but about a month after the incident I could really tell that I was getting better. My sense of humor and creativity returned, and I feel interested in the things I love to do again. I can only hope that what happened to me doesn’t affect me at my next job.

    • verdiyaya

      Andie… one thing I’ve found in my researching all day (at work & home… 8am to now 925pm) — the bullying is done by people who feel the ‘target’ is their competition, someone who exemplifies what they want to be and so they feel threatened because they lack the confidence and belief in themselves to dare to believe they even have anything in them similar to what they see. Don’t let what defines you come from outside of you… what defines you is inside of you. Hold your head up & shake ‘them’ of the soles of your shoes where they are to be kept underfoot.

  • Kanny

    I am a female in construction. Currently working on a DOE jobsite. We have a Foreman and General Foreman that are bullies. Tonight they fired a man that has been a target of theirs. Several of us know that they were bulling him and we wonder who will be next. The new employees are so blind to it that we are shocked. What can we do. The employee that was fired was one that tried to stop their bulling. So far he is the only one that stood up to them. I am intimated by all the constant yelling the GF and Foreman inflict upon us. Any suggestions?

  • Matt H

    I’m 34 yr old man, bullied by a 50 year old man. I have the dignity to stand up to this man’s rude comments, and the sense to involve my manager – but it only makes things worse.

    It’s like static electricity when we’re in the same office. He’s getting more and more angry every time I stand up to him, and more and more manipulative with my words and our arguments. I brought in a 3rd person for our last conversation – you should have seen his face … and shaking hands.

    His reputation for poor behavior is well known and his HR list of employees he’s had trouble with is a 1.5 pages long. I’m on his radar lately. He’s not the first to be jealous of my skills at the job. I just hope he’s the last.

    It’s entirely unprofessional to be working for a company with employees like this. I’ve got bills to pay, so I’ll keep taking my licks. I’m glad I was born strong enough to put up with this nonsense.

    NEVER SUBMIT TO PEOPLE WHO DISRESPECT YOU!

    • Tanya

      I’m 30 and I am in the same boat.

      I keep standing up for myself which leads to worse treatment.

      I tried just going with the flow, being super nice. That doesn’t work either.

      If their brains light up when they torment it won’t end.

      He single-handedly destroyed my confidence and self-esteem and I no longer had good days or laughed. I finally went to a theapist to figure out why I was in a funk–I really thought it was my fault.

      I finally had a breakthrough and decided, time to go. It’s a relief. I have a few licks left and quite possibly my first ever bad review. But with the market finally showing signs of life I hope to be gone in 6 months or less.

      Then he will have a new victim.

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      Matt, I commend your strength. But even you, being human and the fact that the stress response eventually takes its toll, will reach your limit. Closely monitor your blood pressure. Have regular check-ups and keep an eye out for an escape avenue no matter how dismal is this job market. Not worth dying for. ….. and tell HR that they should be embarrassed to keep such a long list of victims that they have failed to support! GN

      • D Sue

        Take care of your health first. I know it’s hard to leave those great paying jobs. I left a federal law enforcement agency after 29 years because the bullying was so severe. Retaliation and jealousy came from the top. They did everything they could to discredit me. The bullying came from the top and HR just stood by and did nothing to help me. My health failed. It has been 2 years and I am still a wreck emotionally. They took much from me that can never be replaced. Legal representation was too costly. Govt’s legal staff could drag case out for years. I walked out on medical leave and never went back. I was threatened on the job, at the hospital where I was seeking treatment and at my own home. They were ruthless. In the end, they were promoted for their efforts. I would be interested in hearing from federal employees who may have experienced the same. All I know is your health is too important to take the chance…I was advised that if I tried to “stick it out”, they may carry me out with a heart attack or stroke. It just wasn’t worth the risk.

  • Margaret

    Thank you for the informative article. This provides me with clarification on how I am being treated at work. I work for the owner of a small company the owner is constantly belittling me in front of others, yelling at me for minute things, constantly tells me that I don’t listen and excludes me from social activities and never introduces me to visitors that come to the office. He constantly praises the efforts of the male workers in the office and singles me out. After a year of enduring this behavior, I am beginning to feel worthless and not good enough. I believe that he enjoys treating me this way. I know that he will never change and have given myself 6 more months to leave.

  • ABENSON

    I’m employed by a well known media outlet here in Springfield IL. I am and continue to experience workplace bulling. The Big problem is that even though it is a well-known company I cannot complain about the abuse that is occurring without fear of retaliation or even being fired. I have been going to a psychiatrist to help with my Bi-polar disorder and it works as far as it can. But even my psychiatrist told me during my last session that my manager and her actions are 90% of my stress level and it is very unhealthy. I NEED HELP! I am one of 4 Black people who work for this station and out of the four is female. I have more interaction with everyone as do the other 3 males but I don’t know what they experience cause they are with a totally different department with their own guidelines.
    I’ve been following my guideline to a T since the day I was hired and I have received nothing but negativity from my manager. She does everything that the Bill is supposed to prevent and the business I work for really would not want to be the face of a HJR40 lawsuit/investigation. But I don’t know any other road to begin to take. If I talk with HR w/o an attorney I face a strong chance of Dismissal even though I have done nothing wrong and only been given Rave reviews from various departments. So somebody please help me. I’m in Illinois

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      Drive up to Chicago on Dec. 9, participate in the Town Hall, meet the Illinois State Coordinators working for legislation. Also, since you happen to be Black, you can always threaten litigation, file a formal complaint with HR (the only time we suggest that this be done), and if they fire you, you have even more clout. Also visit the local EEOC office. GN

  • Marco

    I have just read this article for information and support. Am going through an extremely draining experience of bullying at work involving my own boss, her team leader and a client. The reason? I blew the whistle on Health & Safety complaints that were repeatedly raised but ignored since 2006. The shock horror is to realise how despite all company information and reassurance against bullying, HR and the CEO have tightened ranks to ‘squeeze me dry’. I am fighting back with every drop of gray matter and nerve I have. The greatest disappointment was from my own colleagues who, despite voicing their support, were reluctant to provide additional evidence for fear of losing their jobs. I also found anti-bullying trusts / organisations are scared of taking on the ‘big boys’ (I work for a large international investment bank). When you laugh, the whole world laughs with you. When you fight bullies, you are alone.

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      Marco, You captured nearly every facet of bullying. The employer’s defense of the cruelty, the price paid by honest ethical folks, and abandonment by co-workers. GN

  • Helen

    I worked for social services in southern california as an Employment Eligibility Specialist. My 14 month old grand son was diagnosed with brain cancer. I informed my Supervisor “Mr. D” as well as the district Managers of this.
    Once things got down to the last days for this baby. I had to take off work in order to deal with my son and daughter in law. I had time on “the books” so there was not problem. Once the baby was stable I called Mr. D told him the baby was stable and I would fly in the next day for work.
    A few days later I was called into his office and asked why my caseload was so messy. (I was gone for three weeks) according to the by laws of my union it should have been covered.
    To shorten a long story, I informed my supervisor that the doctor had told us we only had a few weeks before the child would die. This nasty man smiled and sait “I thought he was stable”
    When the baby finally passed away, My doctor took me off work for a month. when I returned to work nothing was done to any of my cases, monthly reports were piled up and needed to be processed. I worked to clear the mess and start collections for overpayments in cash and food stamps.
    I was called into his office and with a smile he asked me what I intended to do with all the errors in my case load? I started crying and left his office.
    A day or two later I couldn’t get out of my car and go into the building instead I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. With a panic attack.
    The harassment continued to the point I could not function at work. All this time I thought it was because of the death of my grandchild. I have been in therapy for 7 years now and had to retire early due to the effects this monster has left me with. It has only been in the past month or so that I finally figured out it was the bullying in the work place that caused my problems.
    I was a top worker, trained new employees, had a specialized caseload. Now I have had to retire early in order to control the panic attacks but I still have to take medication.
    Because of this nasty man I have lost almost everything. I don’t know where to turn from here. I don’t even know if I can file a lawsuit or if it’s even worth the trouble.
    I’m afraid to even look for a job. Yep my life really sucks. Any advise out there for me?

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      Helen,
      When the pain and injustice are so great, considering a lawsuit has to be secondary. Get well first. Check the statute of limitations. Most lawsuits must be filed within 180 days of the most recent incident. Otherwise, forget it. Justice will most likely come from “outing” the so-called social service agency who doesn’t give a damn about your personal loss OR the many cases that were allowed to lapse (abdication of the mission of the agency) simply to set you up to appear to be a failure!! GN

    • JOHN ELLIOTT

      I think that you are worrying far too much about this man: you are clearly in the right. All employees have something called ‘bereavement leave’, it’s a statutory entitlement. There’s nothing to worry about.

  • Lisa Leopold

    I wish I would have known about this type of abuse in the workplace. I was kind of taken back that people in a service type industry would act in ways that were intimidating and disrespectful. I had an employer give me one job description when I went to an interview and then when I came for orientation I was given a different job description. (That was the old one). Oh and by the way the old company has been bought out by a new one-) I did not know that this was happening. I had already left my previous job. I thought well I am excited about the working with the elderly and did my best. I was humiliated by the administrator when I went to the morning meeting because I was two minutes late (I was staffing the floor-there were call offs that morning). He definitely did not treat other management like this. When I was pressured to reprimand staff and write them up and then followed through I was later told that by the administrator’s supervisor that they would just initial the write up which indicated that they did not really approve it since it might need to be worked out with the union rep. I knew that this was a losing cause and needed to leave the job. The elderly were not receiving proper care consistently and the staff (supported by the union had the support not to do a better job or at least made it extremely difficult to say anything) while the middle management were held responsible by the administration, family members and the guidelines of the facility. It was a nightmare because not only was I attempting to fill out the lengthy obligations outlined in my job description but ended up doing other peoples’ job (by the way expected to). It was very abusive environment. We had one union rep who would go up and down the hallways of the floor and purposely linger around where I was to see what I was doing and then I would happen to see him many times down where my previous administrator was talking. I was actually hired to make cultural change but had my hands tied and meanwhile family complaints increased, residents seemed neglected and serious questions as to whether staff were ensuring proper hydration and nutrition for the residents there. All to be done in 40 hrs. no more than that. That’s all we got paid for and if we went over the time (we clocked in and out) then we would be chastised in the morning meetings and yet why didn’t you get your work done. As a result many of those in charge of certain departments would run down and punch out and return right back to work.

    LL

  • Tricia

    I myself have been bullied many times at my job by a particular group. I work in a very small office with about 5 people. It has gotten so bad, that when an opportunity to transfer came up I took it, although I will be driving about 35 miles a day to work instead of 6 miles, I had to get out of here. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I have been yelled at, humiliated, isolated, belittled, ganged up on, etc. It is even more frustrating because management knows this is going on and has done nothing to make the situation better. I have given my 2 week notice, and then I go to my new office, and I am counting the days.

  • BulliedNoMore

    I worked for a company that ruled with an iron fist, military-style, and they felt that this style had always worked for them in the past. Unfortunately, what they did not understand (or maybe they did) was that this style bred a very severe bullying style of management. All of the employees working there were abused daily, and just accepted it. It was very difficult to watch. Management “types” screaming at their employees, while other employees just cowered and walked away in the opposite direction, not wanting to get involved. If you stood up for yourself, or another employee, you were now the target. They were, and still are as a matter of fact, ruthless. And the sad part about this company is that they are well respected in the community. Their website is quick to point out about their large donations to charity, or their lack of employee turnover,(sic) or their long length of time in operation, etc. etc. People in the community believe what they read in most cases. When in reality, if you work there, you are living in an emotional hell every day, and even when you get home at night. Nobody talks about it. While I worked there, I did notice that many of these employees were illiterate, had severe drinking problems, and totally avoided talking about or discussing anything ‘company-related’ on the job. Just put in your hours and go home. I guess this is how they chose to deal with a bully employer.
    In my case, I chose to leave their employ. Best move I ever made. I realized only months later the negative effect that working in a bully workplace had on me. I considered myself very lucky that this employer had not made me very ill, both physically and mentally.
    My advice? If you are seeing any bullying symptoms in your workplace ….. go and get another job, even if work is scarce. You’ll be thankful that you did down the road. And if you are the bully employer reading this, then I’d have to say ‘straighten the hell out’.

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      Good for you for getting out. Notice how from the other side you could appreciate how toxic the place was. Glad you are well and employed again.

      • BulliedNoMore

        Not exactly, Doctor. Seems this employer has now blackballed me, and I have not found work since I left their employ 16 months ago. I have recently found out how much pull these bullies actually do have. If they want to ruin your life, they will do it. And it seems that it is exactly what they are doing now. Of course, there is no way to find out how, why, and when they are doing it, but funnily enough, this is the first time in my life that not a single company I’ve applied to has called me with even an offer of an interview. It certainly makes it very easy to understand how or why an ex-employee could go ‘postal’ on one of these former employers. And they would have absolutely nobody to blame but themselves, Doctor.
        Thank goodness most people have a strong sense of control, and would never attempt such a foolhardy move, but again, not everybody can remain so calm as to not lash out in some form. That being said, this workplace bullying could easily branch out into some severe workplace violence if left unattended, and allowed to fester. It is up to everybody to stand up and be heard when these workplace incidents are being observed. And Govt.’s must enact and enforce rules against this type of company behavior, and the sooner the better.

  • Jackie

    I am in middle of an EEOC investigation. It’s been approx 10 months so far and looks like it will be far longer. My employer, government agency, is stonewalling me. Trying to force me to quit or breakdown. I am seeking professional and legal help. I just need to see this through. Is there any suggestions, anyone might have, to make this a stronger case? I have psychologist help of the toll it is taking on me but is there any other outside assistance I can utilize to make my employer alarmed and case stronger? My employer is trying to derail this case through time and I am trying to hang in there. I have been through a living hell.

  • Jackie

    Gary, Just bought your book! I read reviews and it sounds helpful. Thanks!

  • JOHN ELLIOTT

    I am writing to the blog to relate a serious incident of bullying that I experienced while a student at University.
    I was subjected to repeated sexual harassment and unpleasantness from staff members of the American Studies and English departments. The main ring leader was a respect female member of staff. Despite having occurred some years ago 1992- 1993 I am still suffering trauma and upset through this unresolved matter, and have never received any apology regarding the conduct of the key members of staff involved.
    The tutors’ attacks took the form of belittling sexual remarks, and fostered such a degree of hostility that had no benefit, and a detrimental effect on study. The staff members named sought to turn any comments made during tutorial lessons into an opportunity to make disparaging and unpleasant comments about my sexuality. The ringleader worked back to back with other female tutors, and provoked an insidious campaign of homophobic remarks.
    Beginning in one tutorial lesson (Feb 1992), her confidante referred to me as a ‘nonce’ in front of a whole classroom of students. When I attempted to stick up for myself, the bullying increased.
    A male colleague of the ringleader used the word ‘homosexual’ in answer to a simple query I made in one of his lessons about sexuality, in a hostile manner. I feel that the pejorative sense of the word was used. The majority of verbal contact I had with him in his tutorials was characterised by shouting.
    During my final autumn term of 1992 I had taken part in the Fresher’s mart and had been a member of the University Gay and Lesbian society. This had included personal safety alarms for women. Our aim was to foster an enlightened attitude towards gay people. Part of my reason for exposing my own sexuality was in response to dealing with the initial contempt and ridicule I had faced from some of the more insensitive undergraduates of the University. Unfortunately, the efforts to help students dealing with gay feelings were then effectively destroyed by the actions of the members of staff.
    The main tutor’s initial comments about me included that I ‘lacked confidence’ and that I ‘mumbled’ when I talk. During the same autumn term of 1992 to 1993 she attended a tutorial with part of her breasts exposed to students. She arranged for me to do a presentation for her Specialist subject, supplying key books, and handed me a tape with song titles where she had scribbled the words ‘John are you getting married?’ at the bottom of the list.
    On giving the oral presentation she twisted a comment I made into a joke about small male private parts, with the aim of making me look silly in front of a whole classroom of students.
    When, two weeks later, I apologised due to an absence caused by having to attend a family funeral, she remarked if it was an ‘important uncle’ who had died.
    On entering her house where she had invited students for food, she waited until everybody had sat down and proceeded to launch into a series of nasty verbal attacks, designed to humiliate me in front of other students.
    On talking about a famous star, Michael Jackson, whom I had specifically mentioned in a previous tutorial, she remarked:
    ‘Man that can’t make it with a woman.’
    She then made further comments about male to male sexual activities:
    ‘Men masturbating men.’ “AIDS”
    I feel that these were extremely unpleasant comments, and I had done nothing to deserve this hostility. During exactly this same period I had been a student on the psychoanalytic theory and film and feminism course hosted by a respected female lecturer. We had been led to believe that there would be intelligent discussion about such matters, but these were then effectively eradicated by the main tutor’s confidante. On discussing the subject of gay people, the lecturer retorted with a one word comment, ‘Cruising’ with reference to a film, which has very unpleasant connotations.
    By the beginning of the following year 1993, the main tutor in question had elicited the help of another male colleague who called me a ‘wimp’ in front of a whole classroom of students. She later ran in front of me, and smiled wordlessly as she headed into the ladies toilet.
    I feel that the lecturers in question were playing psychological rape games, and were indulging in immature behaviour. Her vindictive treatment has had a bad affect on my well being, made worse in that the complaints procedure only allowed three months for a complaint to be lodged.
    As a gay student at University I had to deal with unpleasant bullying from members of the student population, but never imagined that respected members of staff could also be responsible for such abusive and damaging behaviour. Their actions make it impossible for a student, dealing with either physical or psychological bullying, to feel safe in lodging a complaint. On the two occasions I had lodged this complaint I have received nothing by the way of apology.

    John Elliott

    • John Elliott

      In addition to the bullying, I recall that when dealing with some of the women in the Women’s Centre/gay and lesbian society what could be termed as anti-male sentiments were present. A poster on the centre wall depicted a metal rod penetrating a male urethra, in parody of women suffering menstruation. One of the women was having relationships both with men and women, and may be the basis for the ensuing verbal hostility that I suffered.

  • Vivian

    It’s been almost one year since I was accused of “threatening Violence In The Workplace”, which resulted in my immediate termination. I will try making this short as possible. Employed in the health field as a Certified Nurses Aide.
    I was a definite victim of being Bullied! My shift was 7:00pm – 7:00am I was working with an agency LVN. As always, I introduced myself to her at the beginning of shift. The response I received was anything but polite because it was as if I wasn’t there.
    Overlooked the incident and continued with my assigned duties. When I approached Nurse(no name)approximately 30 min later. Asked assistance with a patient who was heavy total care. Nurse? Declined her assistance.
    As I was gathering linens before bathing the patient, another nurse entered the linen room. I should’ve kept my mouth shut but instead,…….mentioned to her Nurse? Was unwilling to help me any of her patients. It was only 10 minutes later Nurse? Approached me in the staff lounge, got in my face and proceeded to scream in my face. My response was “I am sorry” and left it at that.(Began documenting times, etc) Went on to do my duties, bathing a patient (with the help of patients daughter)until I was rudely interrupted by Nurse? She began ranting and raving about how I was going to kill the patient. By lowering her head at 35 degrees while the tube feeding was in process. Being very experienced with patients having peg tubes, I was humiliated and insulted. She accused me of being incompetent before leaving the room. After finishing my duties, washed my hands before leaving patients room. It was then I noticed the patients “MAR” records sitting on a shelf in the patients bathroom. Saying nothing, I took it with me before leaving the room. At the nurses station, Nurse? Was laughing and talking to the charge nurse (which I learned later they were the best of friends). Noticing me, she stormed over to where I was standing (once again got in my face) demanding I not enter any her patients rooms the remainder of the shift. Noting it was still early in the shift, I was shocked! It’s my duty to see all patients are repositioned during the 12 hr shift. In addition to oral and peri care. I asked her who would care for her patients, her response was “I will” I knew she would not assume my duties. As I stood in disbelief, Nurse? Told me I could report her to the PCM Patient Care Manager if I’d like. Making it a point not to misspell her last name. I asked “May I see your name tag” (making sure I didn’t misspell it)and reached for it. Before I could read the name tag Nurse? Slapped my hand so hard leaving a bruise. During this time, while all is taking place. The charge nurse was sitting in plain view and ear shot to everything. (There were no other witnesses to the previous event). To say the least I didn’t know what to expect next. Asking the charge nurse for a break, went to my truck, sat down and began writing an incident report. Documenting in detail. After my break, I returned to my floor, resumed my duties caring for the other nurses patients.
    Needless to say, I only entered the nurses station to complete duties required paperwork.
    The following day, I called the PCM, reported the incident to her. Her response was “I’m taking you off the schedule until a full investigation is completed” It was 3 days later I received a phone call from the PCM asking me to report to her office. Upon reporting to the PCM’s office, I was informed she’d conducted a thorough investigation, interviewed the witnesses. Was asked to sign a slip of paper stating I was being terminated for “Threatening Violence In The Workplace” Refusing to sign, I asked what violence had I done? Nurse? Was bullying me all night.
    Now, almost a year later…..I suffer from depression, feelings of inadequacy. I cry a lot, and no longer care to socialize with friends I’ve known in my nursing career. Have not sought employment elsewhere, plus was denied unemployment. PLEASE HELP ME

    • JOHN ELLIOTT

      Vivian No.48
      From what I have read, they have no legal right to accuse somebody of such violence if it hasn’t happened. They can not claim to mount an investigation if you were not present at it, and were involved. You should vigorously deny all accusations, and at the very least present a written formal case of the events, and present this evidence to the PCM without delay. Ask how they were able to make such claims, and explain your side of events: surely this is a basic right.

  • Vincent

    I work at a very prestigious law firm in NYC
    my problems began back in 2007 in with a shift
    supervisor who jostled me. Im the one thats always picked up even when its not my fault its my fault .{Please pardon any typos}.I experience
    the symtons refer to in here .I get the churning stomach with the vomitting feeling I could feel it al the way up my throat..I take sleeping pills and carry tranquilizers with me.Here are my symtoms Anger,Stomach pains ,vomitting burning feeling in stomach like my stomach is on fire depresion crying I am a 50 yr old male.My boss runs a clique if your not part of his clique your not part of the team he lets his clique do whatever they want some of us are not allowed to eat in the dept.But his clique is. His clique was reasonly caught drinking in the dept.but no one was terminated.There are another 3 of us who are not happy in the dept.When we took notes we were told by the lady who runs HR not to take notes.I have ben Threatend twice even by a new employee.I even try calling lawyers here in NYC and no one wanst the case.My coat dispappered from the back of my chair in my dept back in 9/09 to this day is under investigation.Not too long ago my boss accused me of losing an original {I work in the duplicating dept} however I got the original from
    a computer storage drive when we put the disc in the pcs in the back only one pdf would show when we put the dsc in the computer in the front two pdf’s would show. So I show this to this miscreant of a boss the problem this guy goes and deletes the 2nd pdf which is bleak on his screen anyway and accuses me of losing the original ..My job is a duplicating operator alot of the times the people that I work with are fresh out of college and have never held a job before in their life..When these paralegals write
    instructions they are poor at it but yet they have a bachelors degree????? In the morning its very slow in my dept when work comes in im the ver 1st one assign work while his clique just hangs out. I can be doing something like making pads and the shift supervisor will stop me from doing what im doing and have me do something else as well..Last week3/15/09 They were about 10 iron mmmountain boxes coming in each box weight approximately between 10 and 20 lbs this woman would even grab one she ahd the guys do it when it comes to the work place I only see workers and not gender.The the other peope, in there are talking baout their relative sin jail I find this scary and thsi conversation should never take place in the work place..Another instance I remeber about last summer in my office In befriended an outside vendor one of my co-workers didnt like it he told me tell your friend not to
    llok at me “Im form the hood I”ll pop him one.
    I hav e4 yrs worth of notes I can go on forever
    I have requeted to be terminated.Theres also rascism

  • Womex

    This website is very therapeutic. I put up with a bully boss for almost 2 years. She terrorized me and others in the department. I did not want to leave my job, but was eventually fired.

    After me and several of my co workers and others within the organization went to HR and beyond, we were assigned to a new boss. The new boss is a sleazebag lawyer who pretended to be our “friend” and advocate. I was the first to “get my punishment” by this woman who was no more than a spy for the VP. The VP had already told one person who went to HR that we were all making her life/career very difficult. So my dismissal for something I did not do was payback, and she proceeded to chase out everyone in the department so she could rebuild it. I got the axe the day before her friend from her old employment was coming to work in the department.

    I worked in Healthcare and am also going to school full time like Serita.

    I believe we should all take our examples public. Massachusetts just held people responsible for bullying a teenager that eventually killed herself. I cannot tell you how much my situation affected my life. I have been working 35 years and never experienced anything like this. It made me so sick, and I have yet to recover emotionally.

    I wish someone would write a book on behalf of all of us and tell the story so employers will not look the other way. My employer allowed this to go on for years and I did not know my predecessor had a nervous breakdown because of my previous boss. Instead of firing her they sent her to management training so she could keep hurting others.

    Unless this workplace bullying issue is brought to the public’s attention people will continue being harmed. Employers have a right to protect employees, not worry about their bottom line. This is no different than why OSHA came to be.

    In the realm of healthcare, The Joint Commission issued an alert in 2008 that was supposed to bring bullying in healthcare to the front, but from what I hear and have experienced nothing much has changed.

    • Michele

      Maybe workers need an organization similar to the tea party. To be against bullying and other acts of violence in the workplace whether it is covert or overt behavior. That is really how the unions got started before it became a ground for corruption too.

  • Bernice White Eagle

    I work in a local government. An “attorney” was hired who took over the management of our department. I was her friend, helped her get oriented to her job, as Office Manager. She turned on me and now I am dismissed. I have read some material on serial bullies and she is one of them. This is very challenging. The level I have to go to for my appeal is her supervisor and one of the supporters of her actions. She fits the profile of a serial bully and I have little support from others, what they call “compassion fatigue.” Still, I will not give up. From what I have read on this site, I have gained strength. There is nothing in our policies that protect us from bullies. Still, it is something that has happened to others in the workplace. I have been faced with this since my former boss, an attorney, hired his cohabitant in the workplace. She had been bullying me through him and I didn’t know what it was until this one came. I was demoted, given menial tasks, etc. and I am 1 paper short of my masters degree in administrative studies. For example, make a list of the files in these cabinets and turn it in at 12:00 and 5:00 every day. I am learning a lot but nobody else knows. They are too busy, BUT I think she will be out soon. Others in the community are catching on to her. Yay! Meanwhile, I have to look for some work while my appeal is going thru the process. She has already put her “toady” in my place, something which is usually not done until an appeal is final. This is to give me the message that I am not going to succeed. That may be, if she gets her way, but we’ll see. Thx for the opportunity to vent.

  • Jackie

    Yes, I think this situation in MA will help with people understand bullying more. These ‘mean girls’ seem to get into management when they get older!
    Gary’s book is great for understanding what is happening in the work place. I related to most every word – including the phase section.
    The one thing I would emphasize that Gary does also is DO NOT TRUST HR. They are protecting their own. This is what my attorney agrees to also. If you have a problem, consult legal immediately. I know you have to inform HR of the situation but get an attorney first to know the process. I trusted a major government institution at first, administration and HR, giving them the benefit of the doubt. This has never happened to me before. This was the biggest eye opener that I have had. HR can not help you since that implies that the organization is guilty. I believe this is more pronounced in government institutions.
    Still waiting to hear from EEOC. I am seeing two medical professionals a week due to the stress it is causing. However, somewhere, I still know what i am doing is on target. Maybe this case in MA will make administration and the workplace more aware of the effects of bullying and harrassment. What a low level of consciousness. I am sorry and deeply moved by everyone’s situation.

  • Michele

    Yepe! Only one week left for me at my dysfunctional job. I was a target for over a year by a serial bully and I will be #4 to leave in this very same department. Suffered crying spells, depression, anxiety, broke out in hives, sick to my stomach, colds and flu and my husband told me if I didn’t leave, he would go and empty my desk for me. I was blessed to find a job the same week he told me this and when I have notice, the stress just lifted like nothing else. I wish I just had the courage to do this before I allow them to hurt me to the point of physical illness. Surround yourself with people who care and love you. The bully is currently looking for another target and the other employees are receiving the extra workload from my desk. What goes around comes around. They messed with Texas!

  • Kris

    Bullying happens all over the world. I’m in Australia – working in local government – which seems to be a bit of a theme here. I’m currently on leave due to the insane levels of anxiety and depression that I’m suffering at the moment.

    My bullying has been going on for 18 months, initially from one person, but it has since spread to some of her more junior team members and her (and my) boss. It’s become so bad that I don’t sleep, get such hideous headaches that I’ve ended up with a codeine dependency, am sick to my stomach often, have panic attacks on the way to work, can’t concentrate, find it really difficult to actually do my job and I’m probably a nightmare to live with for my young family. I’ve lost all my confidence and have contemplated suicide several times. It’s just so difficult to deal with. I used to think I was good at what I did.

    I’ve recently taken action against the organisation which is a really scary thing to do. But people both inside the organisation and externally have started letting me know they’re “proud” of what I’m doing and how desperately action needs to be taken.

    The downside, is I’m ashamed to be ‘on leave’ as it makes me look like I’m trying to rip the organisation off and that’s just not me at all. I’m embarrassed at what as a 40yr old (previously exec level) woman, I’ve turned into. It’s totally pathetic.

    It’s my intention to fight the good fight (legally)- so that i’m the last person this woman bullies. I just hope that I’m not too weak to see it through to the end.

    • Abigail

      Hi Kris,

      I had to take a leave from my job as well. I was having a nervous breakdown. In Chicago, and it seems it is similar to an domestic and international epidemic. My boss and the junior employees gained up on me. Regardless of how hard I worked to produce, the worse they became. From my first day at work until my last day, 2 years later, I was miserable. I was physically ill and they would never share their knowledge, seem to never have time to train on company specific protocals, all they did was close my bosses door, and character assassinate. After I resigned, it never ended. I interviewed at another health plan in Chicago, and the interviewer worked at my previous plans corporate office. After he said he was definitely intersted in a 2nd interview, I never heard from them again. I believe because the health plan industry is so small in Chicago, that people are always venturing out to do their own informal references via people they know. The problem I witnessed is the people that have the most to hide, are the trouble makers. As such, prohibiting me from working. These types of issues are serious matters, it effects weather people have homes, clothing, their children’s well-being, and the list goes on. The issue is that it is very difficult to stop.

    • LB

      One thing you are not, is pathetic.
      Trust your instincts, because they are usually correct.
      You and many other target’s, like myself, tend to blame ourselves for the unbearable situation we get pulled into, and can’t seem to get out of. We ask ourselves “what is happeneing?” because it seems so unreal and surreal. We suffer the physical and psychological traumas, because I think, we are highly sensitized to the injustices and the insanity of the mind games bullies play.
      That is their existence, not ours, so we try to figure a way in which we can effectively deal with all of the different personalities and perspectives of our coworkers. And as you know, that can be a very difficult task.

  • Rich

    I thought it was just me. I thought it was actually something I did or was doing at work. I kept asking my friends at work if they could see the same personal flaws that my boss kept telling me that I had. I have never been so depressed and unmotivated in my life. I am surprised that I could feel as poorly as I do because I’ve been through a great deal in my life.

    I’d never actually do it but I have thought of how a person who has not been through all of my experiences might consider suicide and I’m actually wondering not IF but WHEN one of my co-workers might slip.

    It’s an absolute shame that there isn’t a law to forbid “Bullying” behavior. I get through each day with the help of God, my family and my friends.

    Best of luck to all out there suffering from this bullying.

    • dunchuss

      Rich, that is absolutely formidable on your behalf. God & family is the only way to ensure you can get through it. Trust me,I have lived, breathed & dealt with most of every type workplace
      bullying. Endure. Be a fighter. Never let the demons win!

  • Linda

    I was subjected to bullying at a health care facility in MD, which is the largest in the state in the specialty of mental health. Yes, indeed, this place had a policy not tolerating the behavior, but no mechanism with which to make it functional. The only specification was reporting incidences to your supervisor or the supervisor’s supervisor. But what happens when those two individuals are the tormentors and they retaliate with each complaint of bullying? In my case, I was fired because I would not listen to it anymore. And now they have told the State to deny me unemployment because I committed gross misconduct–slander, IMHO. Yes, there is a lawyer because of my protected status in assisting a co-worker, who was also being tormented, with an EEOC complaint, and I fall into the age discrimination category. The lesson is that even when accrediting bodies, professional associations, and government oversight prohibit the behaviors, unless upper level administration changes the bullying culture, vulnerable employees will be affected and their companies will lose valuable employees, creativity, productivity and respect. If you happen to be an affected employee in a health care setting, remember that there may be codes of ethics written into state laws and that is an area where there is also room for litigation.

  • Heiressa

    I knew I couldn’t be the only one! Now, at least, I have a name for what I experienced – I too worked for a government agency. My boss called me a name publicly and when I reported it, I was told that ” he probably didn’t mean it” He promised to behave but I was excluded from important meetings pertaining to my work, and important information needed to do my work correctly. Then after only a few months on the job, he walks into my office and tells me ” You are outta here.” Why, I ask? Because I made a mistake, he explains. When I challenge the alleged mistake, he tells me he doesn’t even have to have a reason anyway because I am at will. I appealed to a supervisor above him, who advised me that because of my at will status, the supervisor could do whatever he chose to and to simply leave with dignity. So he raped me of my employment, stole my reputation, and gagged my voice with absence. There was no appeal process, no evaluations or feedback, no way to defend my performance, no way to discuss his allegations, no way to counter the narratives he contrived in my absence. I was psychologically violated and dismissed in the most disrespectful, condescending, and demeaning manner he could find.

    I am not a violent person and do not personally condone violence for retaliation, but now when I read about people who exhibit violent conduct in the workplace as retaliation for wrongful terminations or bullying, I find myself silently cheering them on. I can understand their frustration and their pain. Employees deserve due process and the civil right to be heard. Is it time consuming? Perhaps, but it at least gives employers the ability to pause and consider the impact of their actions. However, when employers turn a deaf ear to the unfair treatment of people, some people simply refuse to be ignored. Their anger and resentment festers. And sometimes eventually erupts into disruptive and/or fatal consequences for the organization’s employees.

  • Lynne

    I’ve endured much bullying. I’m a very hard worker and get a lot done. I’m also very observest of what’s going on around me. Two females in positions bully me. One man at the same level bullied me all the time. Now, I’ve been demoted. My work was excellent so this makes no sense. There may be a sexual discrimination thing going on. One of the two women supervisors called me a “tattletale” becaused I exposed some unethical behavior going on.She screamed at me that “I don’t like tattletales!!” Different rules are made for me that others don’t have to follow. If you don’t believe me, it doesn’t surprise me because this is illogical. I’ve only told a little bit of the terror I’ve gone through.

    • Abigail

      Lynne,

      You should definitely go to your state EEOC website, download their form, fill it out and mail it to them. Your company cannot fire you, you will be protected by the EEOC, even after the investigation they cannot fire you. EEOC investigates gender, age, whistle blowers retailiation, read all the topics they have listed. It sounds like your situation definitely falls under the EEOC categories. Just google EEOC – there you are. Your management will never ever quit, they are mean spirited people, have always been mean spirited people and will always need a person to ridicule and scape goat. Document, document, document! Do not go to the companies Human Resource department, it will not do you any good – it will hurt you. The H.R. department works for the company and they will protect the manager’s and moreover, their company from any liability (which is you), especially if you have the reputation as a whistle blower. Hurry and get that formed filled out – the EEOC will help you. Best

  • Pingback: When the Bully at Work is a Coworker « Tiny Island

  • Dave

    ■Spreading malicious rumors, gossip, or innuendo that is not true
    ■Excluding or isolating someone socially
    ■Intimidating a person
    ■Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s work
    ■Physically abusing or threatening abuse
    ■Removing areas of responsibilities without cause
    ■Constantly changing work guidelines
    ■Establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail
    ■Withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information
    ■Making jokes that are ‘obviously offensive’ by spoken word or e-mail
    ■Intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking
    ■Assigning unreasonable duties or workload which are unfavorable to one person (in a way that creates unnecessary pressure)
    ■Under work – creating a feeling of uselessness
    ■Yelling or using profanity
    ■Criticizing a person persistently or constantly
    ■Belittling a person’s opinions
    ■Unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment
    ■Blocking applications for training, leave or promotion
    ■Tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment.

    Every single point you raised here was done to me for the last 8 years that I worked for Creative Press.

    • Jose M.Roman

      Thanks for being one of the survivor’s that can continue to help other’s who are facing similar challenges. Just knowing that other’s have gone through and knowing how they dealt with it does help give us hope.

      • carol

        Very true,,,thank you

    • carol

      Wow…that’s crazy. I have gone through most of them…but, my person is not my boss.

  • Jose M.Roman

    My name is Jose.I am a mailman;26yrs as a mailman and 5 yrs as a clerk.I have Multiple sclerosis;severe uncontrolled hypertension;chronic severe depression.Because of the bullying;harrassment;threats with removal from the post office; mockery and having to deal with violence in the workplace that i no longer have any self esteem nor value for my life;had a heart attack in 2006. Management has spreaded rumors that i am a liar and that there is nothing wrong with me. That the problem is that i want to do things my way. They will still not believe me that i have Multiple Sclerosis and that this is a real disability. They ignored and disregard my doctor’s warnings that i am to avoid all unneccessary stress because of my blood pressure and previous heart attack. Almost daily they single me out to harrass me Knowing that doing so places my life in jeopardy. I have a wife and a 10 year old boy. I also have a 32 old son;a 29yr.daughter;3 grandughters and another one coming. Because of my family i literally have to force myself to come to work. As soon as i get to work my blood pressure, with medication, gets out of contro. I have been rendered a useless human being,feigning a smile, that for over 10 years i have not done my taxes;that we are getting evicted because i have to take off work to stay alive. The gas;telephone;lights are all in the process of disconnection. They have no idea,management, what they have done to me with their harrassment;bullying;threats…i have filed several e.e.o.c. complaints to get them to stop and what has happened is that it got worst. I’ve been given a letter or warning for walking away from a hostile work environment; i’ve been screamed;yelled at for coming back to work to notify them that i was not feeling good. When the post office talks about downsizing they do literally mean it; they want to downsize 6 ft. under the ground. Carrier’s have died in the post office because they were not allowed to leave and seek help. People just don’t know the atrocities that take place in the post office,perhaps not all stations,because the newsmedia is really not allowed to expose the corruption there. They protect themselves by allowing the news to see only what they want to show.I believe we are not allowed to talk to the newsmedia. I was so thankful that the laws,rehabilitation act of 1973 been amended. I am trying advocate for postal employee’s with disabilities to be treated in a humane and dignified manner. We are not robots. We do have feelings and emotions.No one should have such authority to degrade;humilliate another human being robbing them of their dignity and self-worth as a human being.On march 23,2010 i had an appointment to see my neurologist. They told me NO,NO,NO and for me to go and deliver the mail. That was my last straw. I walked out and told them to fire me if they wanted to but that i was going to see the neurologist. My older brother has been bed ridden for over 30 years because of M.S. Is it legal to denied me the right to seek medical treatment? I wasn’t asking to go to a baseball game but to go my neurologist to get daily injections to prevent my M.S, from progressing. Just having to get up and face such hostility that i do go to work with a lot of fear;stress and very angry at myself for having put up with it for so long. On march 23rd when e.e.o.c.mediator talked to the supervisor she lied to him in order to hide the real reason for their harrassment.I do not know if i will survive this ordeal i am going through with the post office(management)but i would like for someone in my family to follow through with my e.e.o.c.complaint i filed.I believe that management has to be held accountable for their actions and for the actions of their supervisor’s. How is it that we can empeach the president of the U.S.A.and we can emprison gobernors and other elected officials that we cannot hold those working for the post office ,management,accountable?

  • Eleanor

    I have been having this problem at work for 4 months now. I work with 4 women and im the only single mother out of the group. I recently started dating a cousin of one of the women and now all hell has broke loose. They are all telling this person what an awful person, mother and employee I am. They constantly facebook and write rude comments about me..they dont say my name but Im not stupid I know who they are meaning. They laugh all day long and make sure the door is closed if im in the office so i dont hear them. Im depressed, cant sleep, im anxious when i go to work, the other day the tormenting got so bad that i wanted to hurt myself. I have been there 6 years and dont want to leave….but its looking like i have no choice. i love my patients. why are people so mean to me..i didnt do anything wrong…please help

  • Jackie

    I took the bully down. It finally happened. He was demoted. How did I do it? Lots of documentation, constant exposure, prayer.
    Several things I learned: a – no one is your friend at work, you are alone on this. b- take federal medical leave while going through this. c- seek legal help. d- hr is not your friend! Even though they may act it, they are just trying to get dirt on you to fire or derail you.

    Is it worth it in the end? Yes, however I never want to go through this again. In the end, it is an awesome sense of empowerment. You stood up for what was right. I was the only person in the office who stood up to the bully. The rest of the office sided with the bully. No faith in God, in his protection and mercy, even though most were religious people.
    However, it does take a toll on you. Even tho the bully is gone, I am pretty much wiped out and don’t want to be there. You still have to work with a crew who you lost all respect for. The one person who stood behind me was a quiet unassuming secretary. The big brazen ‘talkers’ and ‘walkers’ were most afraid. It is an ‘awakening experience’.
    The office is much more relaxed and happier tho. It changed significantly with the bully gone.

  • Dr. Gary Namie

    It’s not just Louisiana.

    • Abigail

      No the bullying problem is living large in Chicago. Especially, in the healthcare field, in health plans, medical centers, name it,etc., After I resigned from a huge bullying environment, now I cannot get another job. What can I do? Does anyone have any ideas? I would like to stop these people from poisoning any more job opportunities.

      God bless.

  • Fed Up

    I am the Sr. Executive Assistant to the President of our large company. My co-worker/back up is my nightmare and she works for the CEO and the V.P. of Legal. AKA…..I am screwed! She talks behind my back to all of the same people she talks crap about. In the snap of your fingers, she stops talking to me, turns her back to work away from me, gossips on the phone about me (as if I cannot figure it out), and recently didn’t help while I was out of the office sick. I asked her why she didn’t accept meeting notces while I was gone and she looked at me and said “you didn’t tell me to” and turned away from me. Are you kidding me? This is my BACK UP. My boss is the President and she didn’t accept his meeting notices that came in. She has turned me into HR for various things, however, could never come up with proof. I feel like I am fighting to stay in my position and justifying my every move on a daily basis. I feel like I can’t take a bathroom break without her putting it in a journal to use it against me. She has monitored my every move before; from exact times I have come and gone from the office to calling her friend in payroll to monitor my time card. She has also told new employees that I am nothing but trouble and to stay away from me.

    Enough is enough…but I feel like it is a no win situation when we are all working for the top dogs of the company. With Legal on her side, I don’t feel there is any room for me to say a word. No one wants drama in the workplace and as long as it is kept quiet, no one knows and she continues to win.

  • LB

    I think that until bullies are seen for what they are, “criminals”, bullying will continue.

    Bullying, or psychologically “abusing” someone, is a crime, and the punishment must fit the crime.

    Unless one has experienced being bullied, one cannot fully appreciate or understand how devastating bullying is.

    Currently there are no Federal Laws that make bullying criminal behaviour.

    Once bullies are punished for their crimes, they may think twice before committing the offense again…

    Personally, I believe that bullying is related to acceptable implicit societal behavior, and bullies bully because they can.

    Our perceptions are our realities, and in order to eradicate bullying, we must change our perceptions.

    Having experienced bullying first hand, and having resigned from a 40 year professional career, because I happened to have crossed paths with a sociopath, who was very skilled and adept at this insidious game they play.

    Three years later I am still haunted by the effects of that experience. The one issue that I am constantly dealing with, is the ability to trust anyone anymore, and that bothers me.

    Bullies live in a world of fear and dread and are only concerned and consumed with themselves.

    The world needs more respectful, caring, sensitive people. Maybe that is the way to defeat bullies, by being that which the bully can’t control, by maintaining integrity and dignity.

    Bullies despise integrity.

  • CHill

    Your article states:

    “I would also suggest that they let employees know that bullying, like workplace violence and threats, will not be tolerated, and tell employees who feel they are being bullied to report it to management immediately.”

    What do you suggest when you report it to upper management and they tell you that you’re just taking things too personally?

    • DPhillips

      CHill,

      Because upper management is the only group with the authority (since there is no law against bullying in the USA) you have to either cope with the bully, fully realizing it won’t stop, or find a way to get out. Transfer laterally or quit. There aren’t a lot of options with an intractable management position in support of the bully. Just remember that anything they say about you is baseless. Being bullied at work is not your fault – even if it happened because you threatened the boss by being superior at your job.

      If you have not already, please visit the Healthy Workplace Bill website: http://healthyworkplacebill.org

      Get involved in passing a law. Once that happens employers will have to listen. They won’t be able to tell you it’s all in your head or that you’re “taking things too personally.” A cop-out is all that really is anyway and should show you how much intellectual honesty (or lack) is involved with their opinion.

      -Dave Phillips
      WBI

  • Kim

    I’ve been dealing with workplace bullying for about two years now. The boss gives me unreasonable time to get work done then berates me for not “getting” what he said.And I’ve tried to find work elsewhere without any luck. I can’t afford an attorney and I’m at the point where I’m suicidal. I can’t take it anymore.

    • Heidy

      Kim!
      I just read your comment. Please understand that your job does not define who you are or what you can do. I understand that “walking away” from a job when you need the money is like being between a rock and a hard spot. I don’t you what state you live in – but at times you can claim unemployment if you feel you have been forced to quit. In addition contact an attorney who will listen to your claim for free – most will. Ask if you have grounds to take legal action and if so does the attorney offer a “no win no pay” clause.
      Please don’t lose heart – better days are coming.

  • Heidy

    I worked for an “electronics resale” store for just about four years. In late 2008 our GM was transferred to another store and in turn another GM was transferred to our store. At first the new GM seemed like a pretty good guy. He had some great ideas and “tightened up” some of the issues the store was having. As time went on he allowed his true colors to show. He was so cruel to one of the supervisors (the woman had worked in the store for a number of years, was well liked and did her job) one day she quit on the spot (in tears). Then he and his “posse” started in on me. They felt if they could “ride” me long enough, change the rules often enough, overwork me long enough, hand down impossible deadlines more than often enough I would quit as well. I was even told by my direct manager that was what I needed to do (Let me interject here that neither the GM nor my direct manager knew my job or what I did on a daily basis). It came to a time when I was pulled into the “training room” almost daily to get my butt chewed out for something – at times I got my butt chewed out for things that weren’t even my responsibility. They turned up the heat, I dug my heels in; I wasn’t going to give in to bullies nor was I going to abandon my staff into their hands. So they started making more stuff up for me to do – and I did it. The made the job the worse possible place to be. I use to go to work 30 minutes early each day and sit in the parking lot in my car and PRAY before I went in, knowing I was going to be walking into the next closest thing to hell. I wasn’t sleeping, not eating (I had to stop eating because I was unable to control my bowels), daily life at home and work was unthinkably grave. Then last year on October 24th 2009 the GM actually told me that, NOT IN PRIVATE mind you, that he was going to go home and bring in a gun and open fire on me first and then my staff – bullets and blood everywhere. I was absolutely STUNNED into silence. I was not the only person who heard the threat. I reported the incident to HR – knowing that going to HR was the K.O.D. (kiss of death) for my continued employment. After that it was all over for me – the current management team just kept at it and on March 18th 2010 I was fired from my job – with some trumped up crap like “failure to maintain company core values”. So if anybody out there thinks that HR is “there for you” let me educate you HR is there to protect the companies’ bottom line and keep the company from getting sued.

  • “Val”

    Okay, I’ll be waaaaaay at the bottom…haha!

    The military trumpets, “War on Terror!” Yet terroristic behavior is ‘legal’ in our own country, United States?

    I’ve suffered at the hands of military NCO’s. In retaliation? Demoted and worse, no support. Oh, I ended up in a ‘mental’ ward for two weeks and was ‘diagnosed.’

    Not once validated. Not once empowered.

    Recently, I stumbled in the dark, upon the word ‘bully’ and ‘target’ It’s saved my LIFE! There’s nothing wrong with me! How many believe they have a ‘disorder’ or ‘illness’ which is really, ‘psychiatric injury.’ At times, dibilitating.

    However, with a “Healthy Workplace” to back me up? I can work with renewed enthusiasm knowing that there will be healthy intervention. Perhaps teaching ‘coping and conflict skills’ for the bully, target, and management.

    It’s wonderful that children are learning these skills early. What saddens me is that many parents and adults are left out of the loop. Who have suffered, shut-down, and desensitized by the socialization process. They are the ones leading our children? Even now resources aren’t accessible and the information is not out there for the average citizen.

    I had to dig and climb for my sanity. It’s been insane. I’m the lucky one.

    The ‘Healthy Workplace Bill’ a workplace being a ‘learning’ place too, must be Passed!

    ……Next? Bullying Organizations and Agencies.

    You have my support.

    “Unknown Soldier”

  • Andrea

    I have been getting bulling in my government job now for about 10 years now off and on, but for the last 5 years it has been worst. I have been bullied by 3 supervisors and manangement and employees in and out side my department. I have reported it to supervisors and management and the union and had many meetings.It got so bad for me at work that I was always sick to my stomach and hard for me to get out of bed. I went from think ing about suicid to actually planning it back in 2008. I told god that if i became a mom that i wouldn’t commit sucide.In 9-08 I found out that i was going to become a mom and my little baby would be in this world in may of2009.My daughter saved my life and Slvia browe books did to. But my depression is still there off and on. And I still get harrassed and bullied at work . They still don’t stop. I don’t know what elso to do but pray to god and cry on my daughters shoulder and now she 17 months and tell her you are mommies angel i will live for you. It is so tough at work.But I try to stay professional so that I can keep my job.I have been sexually harrassed touched by a supervisor whom rubed her boobs acrossed my chest when I was just standing and not in her way well I was pregnant in2009 and her telling me that she can be a bitch to me if she wanted to because wouldn’t tell her what was wrong because I don’t trust her.She demands work duties to be me saying do what i ask you to do.She has rubbed her boobs on my friends back about 5 years ago as she was just working. We are both Minority Women and the supervisor is White. she has asked me to lie for one of her white friends at work so that they can keep there job.She has went back to employees telling us who said what about who and our business at work if we had told her some thing.I have told management all of this and they have do nothing to help this stop and the supervisor still has her job. I was a cook several years ago in my department and asked to down grade to food serivce/dishwasher again to get way from him from harrassing me and bullying me.It is so much more bad things that has happen to me in my department .A few co-workers have touch me one on my butt and there on my waist and i told her do not touch me. A co-worker reported me for not taking his garage which he had 1hour and half to do it him self and i was suspened for 2 weeks while i was at home sick and pregnant. When i was pregnant. when i was a cook at the v.a. hospital ing Nutrition and food serice i for got to put my leave into the computer and i was suspeded for for 2 weeks.A supervisor seen me leave on my break to move my car and didn’t say anything to me and assum that i was leaving and charged me leave.I was threated in the elavator by a guy whom said to me if he wasn’t a guy he would hit me.Another guy in another department put his elbow in my back and rushed me off the elevator so i reported this to my supervisor and union.I am part african american native and mexican and people have talked about my hair in a bad way when i would wear breads they would call me big wig and laugh. They would ask me what kind of style is that.You have fonky hair. I had a black hair magaize at work looking for a new hair style and some stashed it in side a cart way in the back .So when I found it i took it out and started to look again for a hair style this time i left if on top on the cart after my break twice when walked by it some one on my shift which is the night shift turned it over twice.That’s the name of the magazine.A few days later i couldn’t find my magazine any where and this is so important to me because Michelle Obama is on the front of it. I remember being in the break room and crying and then going to the bath room crying .It is so upsetting to me. I e-mailed every one in my department to asked did they have it give it back.some times when at work tears will just start coming and have to run to the bathroom so no one would see me cry.law bullying work place we need .

    • John Elliott

      It sounds from reading your account that you have been through some very distressing bullying, Andrea, which includes personal harassment. I dealt with some very upsetting attacks, also, which I have written about on the blog. At least this is the first step in recognising and articulating what has happened to you. Nobody deserves to be bullied or abused. Kind regards, John.

  • Sue

    I am a teacher. I work hard for my students. I am a darn good teacher. I have recently had experiences that have made it difficult for me to go to work each day. I do not look forward to walking in to the building. It has impacted my job performance. After advice from a co-worker to search “bullying in the workplace” did I realize that I am being subjected to bullying. My problem… It is my boss’ that are subjecting me to the bullying. So – how do you handle this situation?

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      Advice? Explore every file in this website and read our book. Make your union fight for you. Schools are notorious breeding ground for bullying. Call us for coaching.

  • Been there

    I can completely relate, as I endured a similar fate.
    You spoke the truth, and that is the one thing they do not want to hear.
    As soon as one speaks the truth, it’s the beginning of the end.

    Look what happened to John Lennon, Ghandi, MLK…

  • Bonnie

    When Discrimination is Combined with Bullying

    While working for a military agency, I was passed up for promotion due to my race and ethnicity. Despite sitting in a top level position for over two years and receiving awards for my work performance, I was not considered the best qualified and the job went to a person with less experience, working at a lower grade. The interview score sheet described the selectee in writing as “blonde and pretty.” After I filed an EEO complaint, the bullying began. In reprisal, I was reassigned under a military individual (a jerk) who had been removed from a position of authority for causing stress on his employees, and my nightmare began. Despite a Zero Tolerance policy, the jerk demeaned me in front of co-workers, threw temper tantrums, cursed and flung papers at me. He trashed my work and deleted my computer files to discredit me (all documented). I became sick and lost weight. Due to the daily bullying and harassment, I lost all leave and was placed on leave without pay. I almost lost my home. I was harassed at home and suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. The ambulance came to my home twice.

    I hired attorneys who were up against a team of government attorneys with a bottomless pit of money to protect the discriminator, the bully, and the military agency. Black and Hispanic officers suffered the same fate under this military jerk who shouted, “That’s the Black mentality!” His commanders did nothing about it despite the fact that two minority officers left the military due to the stress.

    When I returned to work, I was again placed under the same jerk, against doctor’s orders. The jerk said that he was holding me accountable for the first time in my life and his military commanders remarked that there was not discrimination because he treated everyone “the same lousy way.” The military establishment treated the jerk with respect and looked the other way while he repeatedly bullied people. Enlisted personnel later admitted that their military commanders had threatened them with demotions if they didn’t side with the jerk.

    The jerk was finally “forced” to retire. Although I survived the bullying, I still have nightmares. It hurts because no one was there to help me during the discrimination, the abuse, the bullying and the daily harassment.

    Workplace bullying is happening to millions of workers in the U.S. and legislation needs to be introduced to stop it. It can lead to mental and physical stress, loss of wages and jobs, and it affects the entire family. There is no excuse for it.

  • jason

    I HAVE BEEN BULLIED AT WORK 3 TIMES NOW BY ANOTHER EMPLOYEE AND TWICE BY MY BOSS NEITHER ONE HAS BEEN WROTE UP OR EVEN TALKED TO BUT IM ON PROBATION FOR USING COMPANY PHONE FOR RECORDING ME BEING HARASSED BY THESE TWO PEOPLE I HAVE TAKEN THE PROPER STEPS IN HANDLING THIS MATTER AND IT SEEMS LIKE THEY JUST SWEEP IT UNDER THE CARPET I WAS CLEANING THE MAILBOXES OUT WHEN I DROPPED SOME PAPERS IT HAPPENED TO BE THE GUY THAT IM HAVING PROBLEMS WITH I NOTICED THAT HE DIDNT HAVE ANY WRITE UPS ON HIM WHEN I WAS TOLD BY MY BOSS THAT HE WOULD WRITE HIM UP FOR THIS LAST VIOLENT EPISODE THAT HE DID WHEN I SEEN THAT HE WASNT WROTE UP I CALLED MY BOSSES BOSS AND OUR UNION REP NEITHER ONE COULD WAIT TO GET OFF THE PHONE WITH ME TO CALL HIM AND LET HIM KNOW THAT IM TRYING TO PUSH THE ISSUE I FEEL LIKE EVERYBODY IS TWO FACED AND CAUSE I HAPPEN TO SEE HIS DIRECT DEPOSIT INFO I GOT 20 MORE DAYS PROBATION I FEEL LIKE IM BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF CAUSE NOBODY WANTS TO HANDLE THIS PROPERLY IVE ALSO BEEN GAY BASHED AND IM NOT GAY BUT I WALKED IN ON THIS PERSON AND SOME SUPERVISOR HAVING FUN AT MY EXPENSE WHEN I COMPLAINED AGAIN IT WAS PUSHED TO THE SIDE THEY ALLOW PEOPLE TO COME IN DRUNK AND DO DRUGS AND THESE ARE SUPERVISORS I AM UNION AND THEY THINK BECAUSE IM IN MY LATE 20 THAT IM STUPID ALL I WANT IS TO BE TREATED FAIR I HAVE BEEN YELLED AT IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE WORKPLACE CAUSE I TOOK OFF THE DAY BEFORE AND HE HAD TO DO SOME WORK HE GOT HIGHLY PISSED OFF BUT ITS OK FOR HIM TO TAKE OFF AND HE DOESNT EVEN GET POINTED FOR IT HE HAS WRITTEN NOTES PRETENDING TO BE MY BOSS AND TELLING ME IF I CLOCK OUT ONE MINUTE EARLY IM FIRED HE LAUGHED AND TORE THE NOTE UP AND SAID HE BETTER PUT IT IN DIFFERENT TRASH CANS SO HE DOESNT GET IN TROUBLE AND THE LASTEST ONE WAS TELLING ME I DIDNT HAVE A JOB AS OF FRIDAY MY PAYCHECK WAS IN THE MAIL I AGAIN CALLED MY BOSS AND ASKED HIM IF THAT WAS TRUE HE TOLD ME NO BUT HE NEVER DID ANYTHING TO HIM ABOUT SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN NOBODY DOES ANYTHING TO HIM IM THE ONE THAT GETS WROTE UP AND ON PROBATION MY ONE BOSS SAID HE WAS GOING TO GET A BULLET AND PUT MY NAME ON ONE AND THE OTHER GUYS ON THE OTHER BULLET AND SIT THEM ON HIS DESK THEY THINK ITS A JOKE BUT I DONT NOT WHAT IVE BEEN PUT THROUGH HERE I CANT AFFORD TO QUIT AND I JUST FOUND OUT THAT ANOTHER EMPLOYEE IS ALOUD TO TAKE THE COMPANY PHONE HOME FOR PERSONAL USE BUT I GET 90 DAYS PROBATION FOR USING THE COMPANY PHONE AND THE BOSS IS THE ONE THAT LET HER TAKE IT HOME I CALLED MY BIG BOSS ABOUT THE SITUATION IF NOTHING IS DONE IM GETTING A LAWYER

  • Susan

    Don’t think work place bullying doesn’t happen in non-profit situations. I have been living and working with bullying for several years at the church I am employed by. When looking through the list of examples at the top of the page I realized I’ve been subjected to almost half at one time or another. 2 days before Christmas I was written up for having a ‘toxic attitude’ and given one chance to change my ways. Hard to do when I haven’t said the things attributed to me by my ‘concerned’ co-workers. I have done nothing other than give my all to my job and now face the idea that after 5+ years I can be out of a job because a couple of coworkers have ganged up on me. I am the sole breadwinner for my family due to my husband having a terminal illness. How is it possible for such maliciousness costing me my job and possibly my family’s home? I feel that, while I have been working hard, my integrity has been being chipped away and I was too blind to see it. I face having to return to work and relegate myself to my desk for fear that anything I say will be twisted to seem negative. I keep asking myself ‘why’? How does this benefit my coworkers? How can anyone put this much effort into trashing someone else? I am terrified that I will be fired and then be unable to get a job with the health care benefits my family needs. What do you do when you can’t be guaranteed a decent reference after so many years of good service?

  • bart

    I am a victom of a bullying management team @ a huge corporation. I’ve dedicated 30 plus years for this company. And I have never experenced the harrassment that’s being forced upon me, sa of today. for 9 months I’ve been abused, tormented, harassed, embarrassed, mistreated, lied on, discriminated against,etc… I am at the point to where I feel worthless to myself, my family. I feel like a walking time bomb. I can’t sleep, eat, think healthy. I feel like everyday I wake up, it could be my last day on this earth. I have homicidal thoughts, dreams, visions, unstable thoughts. I’ve seeked professional help. But it didn’t do shit for me, because I’m still being fucked over on my job for no good reason. I ain’t the one who needs help, its the haters @ work, mangmt, who need help. How long do they think i’m gonna just sit back, and let them keep screwing me over like this. This mangmt team is ludacrist. I am a victom of a hostle work place enviroment. If I do anything wrong onthe job or make a mistake I can take whatever disapline that I have coming. But to be lied on, taken advantage of, disrespected, tormented,etc… This shit is going to get resolved one way or the other. I used to wonder what or why people go postal on the job. Now i know. If anyone out there can feel my pain and suffering, holla at me.I’m running out of paitents. I don’t need no damm drugs to control my thoughts, I don’t need no tharapist to talk shit to me. I’ve been there done that. I need somebody to investigate the management group that work for this huge corporation. I love what I do at work. I enjoy going to work. But when a Bitch don’t like you becaue you are a outspoken person, dose’nt mean that they have the right to abuse their athority, and constantly harass you everyday, and causing me to loose a lot of income for no apparent reason. I have so much going on inside of my head all day, everyday. This shit should be a subject talked about everyday on all talk shows world wide. I wish that I could go on national TV and exspose the Mfks at my work place. It all started when I wrote up the Hr director for doing a unsafe job that was not for them to be doing in yhe first place. If the corporation was to do an investigation, and ask every employee that works at this facility, to do a unomanist survey about this managmt team, The HR director, all the General formans would be terminated by this Corporation. They make at least 95% of the work force feel unsafe, unworthy, scared and nervous. Everyone feels threatened.I think that the federal government should get involved with this situation yesterday. Because I feel like tomorrow may be to late. I pray very hard everyday that I be able to control my thoughts. My dreams are the same at least four day a week. I work on edge everyday. If I get thrown out of my job one more time, and It’s not my fault, dndohpugt]
    t,ol ]bvo2gu2tm
    v oh well

  • taj

    taj says: Bart, you are completely within reasonable space when you have thoughts of retaliation against the spiritual/emotional driftwood in your path. Fantasies are okay. Good vs. evil, violent film, books, etc. are acceptable and cathartic. HOWEVER, make no mistake, that if you don’t talk yourself back from the edge of that proverbial cliff every time you take the fantasy revenge climb, you will surely plummet to a wasteful end. Safeguard your health. Make your health your number one priority. You are not the one who is wrong or a mess. REMEMBER that you are a target of some twisted loosers. YOUR BEST REVENGE is SUCCESS! You succeed everyday that you DO NOT allow those souless pricks to put you in a position where you might end up wearing “silver bracelets” — or even worse, be “permanently retired”. Always remember who you are, your God-given worth and how obviously low the haters are. So, give up on human beings generically, for a brief time, to allow yourself enough psychological and spiritual space to heel. Trust is a fragile commodity and should never be traded in the corporate milieu without a stong show of present day value. Just DON’T give up on Bart! I know it is easy to say this, but believe me when I tell you that some time, no matter how far down the line it may be, the haters will reap every rotten thing they have sown. Most times, it feels as if it takes an eternity for divine justice to become manifest and visible. If you allow yourself to cross the line, you will surely not be around long enough to see any justice. If you can, try to move onward and away from your current “workplace”. All this said, yes, I have been a victim of mobbing and psychological violence. I am currently unemployed and in recovery. Some days are better than others. Of course, I think that my economic, spiritual and psychological health would be much better but for the assholes who ganged up on me. I try not to allow myself to revisit my own traumatic bullshit anymore than necessary to move forward with my daily tasks of seeking new employment opportunities and personal fullfilment. Do the very best thing for yourself. Take the very best care of Bart. Don’t let the bullys and the mob take your life.
    taj

  • taj

    One more item for Bart. Bart, check out the documentary “The Corporation”, based on the book of the same title. The documentary is available online as a download and is narrated largely by Noam Chomsky, M. Moore and other noteworthy individuals. Don’t let the losers among us drive you off your tracks. taj

  • Mar

    I have been working for the past two and a half years with the most blatantly miserable two people known to mankind. Since day one, I have not been liked. In the beginning I tried everything from being super nice to just keeping myself quiet, just seen, even when wrong and inappropriate things were said to me. However, upon researching about bullying and it’s effects and the tormentors that insist upon it, I quickly learned that one has got to stand up for oneself. I was bullied as a kid by neighborhood girls and feel like I am back in the neighborhood as a kids again. Only these are far older “kids”; more mean-spirited and more fired up. I think it’s so sad that one eggs the other one and I have made the big boss aware of everything and she has told me to ignore them and to fight back. Nice. But she won’t stop the abuse. Refuses to do so. These enviroments are created by abusers. She is one. If only you can hear the things she says to the two women who are the abusers. Unreal. In this economy, it’s hard finding another job and so I deal with it day in and day out but wonder how long more I can take the abuse. I began seeing a therapist but could not take much days off and had to stop seeing her. Is there really a solution to this problem? I can only wish that there were one and fast.

    • Dr. Gary Namie

      The answer is neither simple nor quick enough for justice to be served. Read everything at this site. You can always use our coaching services so you don’t miss work. Call us.

      • Jim Rascati

        To Mar,

        Since you approached your boss and she has not responded you could think about filing a formal complaint. It sounds to me like you are working in a hostile work environment, which is prohibited by law. You could speak with someone at either the EEOC or file a CHRO complaint. However, I woiuld also suggest you put in writting your concerns to you boss before you file any external complaint. If you boss fails to respond to this then consider filing a formal complaint. This way you have a paper trail should you all of a sudden get terminated should you file a complaint.

        Good luck!

    • Nicole

      To Mar,

      I can completely empathize. I used to love my job. I would smile from the minute I walked in the door and I would happily take my work home with me after being the last one out of the door, every single day. Almost immediately after I started this job I noticed that one of my colleagues just went out of her way to alienate me from the group and she started to gossip about me to anyone who would listen. Then the lies and deliberate attempts to make me look like I was incompetent began. She has tried to sabotage things for me and has even gotten to the point where she has become very aggressive verbally when no one was in ear shot distance. All the while, she has painted a wonderful picture of herself to everyone around us. I have been in this situation for the past year and it’s really taking it’s toll on me at this point. I feel like my boss is not only brushing what is happening under the rug; but that she’s actually promoting it by not helping me at all. I have come to my boss with facts, not emotions, to prove what she is doing. My boss outwardly admits that she views what I am experiencing as workplace bullying and border-line harassment by this co-worker. However, whenever I broach the subject she tells me that my colleague is just “too sensitive” and has pushed me to “stand-up for” myself. I have done so, without any positive changes. I call my colleague out on all of her poor behavior, but she still gets away with it. I have never raised my voice and I have pulled her aside like an adult and a professional to let her know that I’m not trying to be her friend, but that we need to be able to function as co-workers in order to get the job done. She smiles in my face, tells me she’s sorry and then within a week or two she’s back to her old tricks again. To add insult to injury, now that I have stood up for myself, she tells my boss that she fears me! This is so unbelievable, I can not believe that I am sitting her even typing this!. Like you, I too fear that the economy may have crippled my ability to find gainful employment–not to mention that my boss has also let me know that she knows many people in my area and that she will have a direct affect on my ability to gain employment within the entire county. She tells me, “you’re good at what you do. I can’t afford to lose you.” It’s very frustrating. I have started to look for another job and I have also decided that I need to seek the advice of an attorney. It’s simply amazing to me that one single person can have so much control over you, no matter how much you struggle to be free from it. I have always been nice to this person and been her colleague and friend, yet still she chooses she torture me. As a matter of fact, she has also done this to every female that has been hired after her (I was hired 5 months after her) and my boss still tip toes around her. I feel like I’m part of a family where my badly behaving sibling always gets her way because she whines the loudest, and because I’m easy going I should continue to suffer out of loyalty to my boss. She can forget it. Enough is enough.

      • carol

        Seriously…I think we work with the same crazy person…how can that be? Must be the personality type of a bullier.

  • Debra A.

    I was out of work for many months from which I suffered depression which is understandable. Finally got a job..a really perfect job only one problem. I took a large pay cut and I have to work with someone 20 years younger who treats me as used up..worthless…unnecessary. Any chance she can she puts me down, embarasses me, laughs at me and tortures me. I am afraide to ask questions because she treats me as if everything I say is ridiculous. I am trying to recover from loosing everything and now the one thing that makes my recovery possible includes someone who daily tortures me. What do I do?

    • http://www.workplacebullying.org Dr. Gary Namie

      What to do? It’s the baffling, deer-in-the-headlights shock of it all that paralyzes action. Call WBI Mon-Thurs. f360-656-6630 for expert help. Jessi will guide you through the resources available. There is a lot you can do.

  • Myriam

    I’m a two time survivor of workplace mobbing (group bullying). This is how I fought back:

    1. Get your resume and reference ready. You want to make sure that you are prepared if you are fired.

    2. If someone calls you a name or makes a rude comment respond with “why do you ask?” or “why did you call me that?” If you just don’t take it they may back off.

    3. Document every incident. Get things in writing.

    2. HR is not your friend their role is to protect the company. They don’t care who gets hurt just as long as it’s not your employer.

    4. Be cheerful and keep a smile on your face. The bullies are going to try to turn the rest of the office against you. If you cry they’ll say that your emotional,if you shut down they say that you have a bad attitude.

    5. Avoid your aggressor but not when there are witnesses. Always great them with a smile and sit next to them in meetings.

    6. If a law is broken contact the police. This includes if things are being posted about you online as this can easily be tracked back to the originator’s IP. Even if you’re terminated you’ll have the satisfaction of police officers arriving at your office and your coworker leaving in handcuffs.

  • dunchuss

    I really enjoyed listening to your commentary on workplace violence. Sadly, on any given day, I am
    subjected to everything listed on your blog. I feel as though everyone is against me. A supervisor that is much younger than I am litertally hates my very being. I could go on forever talking—–believe me—-I have talked to plenty.It seems useless. However, I’m going to
    continue to press forward. I know I’m wanted out.

    However, that mere fact of me knowing that makes me that more determined to stay. (by the way, i’m not that much older just wiser I guess.)

  • jasmine tripoli

    what can i do to help to pass the bill of workplace bullying in vancouver,wa.me myself experienced bullying in workplace.and its caused me to have anxiety and high blood pressure.please help me to be able to pass this bill in washington.

    • http://www.workplacebullying.org Dr. Gary Namie

      Jasmine, Sign up as a citizen lobbyist on the WA State Page at the Healthy Workplace Campaign website — healthyworkplacebill.org. We have two bills pending action next Jan. There are plenty of bill sponsors and committee chairs to contact using our E-Z e-mailer system found there. Thanks for helping.

  • gerra

    Dr. Namie, your commentary was spot on.
    thank you for helping me identify what has happened to me. It’s a sorrowful thing and so unnecessary. I’ll never understand the “bully” mentality. What a waste of time and energy.
    I too now have health related issues as a result. God bless those who have been at the hand of these mean spirited individuals.

  • Jeremy

    So if your a supervisor and have to dicipline an employee then the employee has just been given a tool to get back at them. This sounds like more liberal, don’t hurt my feelings, nonsense dreamed up to give someone with a socialism degree a job.
    The republic will soon die because of nonsense like this. Our enemies must be laughing at us and realize they don’t need to do anything to us. We will destroy ourselves as we turn into a nation of pu$$ies.
    Sad.

    • Dale

      I think you should read the books that the Namies have wrote as well as the other articles on this web site. You have jumped to conclusions without fully investigating or understanding what bullying is.

      You will then be better educated on the issue and will see what bullying is and what bullying isn’t.

  • Casey

    I saw the abc news last night and their piece on worksite bullying. I work in a psychologically violent workplace. The president is battering me everyday Iam 64yrs old and he knows I am in a tough place at this time of my life to retire. He constantly pokes fun at my physical condition (bad back), he has told me to turn my chair around so that my deaf ear faces the rest of the office and I won’t be able to hear. He constantly berates my place of birth (Bronx). He publicly announes my medical condition and he has doubled my work load. None of the VP’s have the guts to shut him down for fear of their jobs. My doctor wants me to quit but at 64 where do I go??

  • gaynor lewis

    I have suffered the most horrendous bullying from a female over some 2.5 years, firstly not even realising how the tormentor was using her “skill”.
    The case is now part of a civil law suit (very long story) and I have been using the internet for support (as so little real support exists here in the UK) to argue my case (as even my lawyer does not fully appreciate the torment).
    Your article gave me a quick and simple check-list for the bullying behaviour and its effects. You have got it “spot on”.
    I would like to use these lists to support my bullying timeline, and hope you do not object to me using your words to back-up my claim that this behaviour has been calculated and follows a defined pattern .
    Thank you for at least (from a distance) offering some sanity in a pretty insane situation and insight in a society where bullying is not generally understood.

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  • crystal

    I’m a target of workplace bullying by my manger. I have been for the past four years. I have been pressured to quit my job. I do not want to quite. My manger has been slandering me. Im so tired of being her victium. My peers are aware. Everyone is aware but nobody wants to get involved. She has wrote me up (written warning), for something I truly did not do. She told me cause she was the manger that nobody would belive me. This is just an of her behavior. I’m a single mom. I love my job, I love coming to work. I just don’t love this abusive behavior. I was told by my manger if I told anyone any of this I will be dimissed. I’m afaid and need my job. I need my health insurance, as well as my pay check. I need help. I can’t sleep. this is affecting my health. I dont understand why a person would be so professically abusive. If anyone has any sugeestion please feel free. How do a stop the Bully at work.

  • freida mickey

    It’s unfortunate that anything that is not kept under lock and key (including one’s job security or job status and resulting psychological and physical health) can and most likely will, be tampered with by someone else. I have experienced bullying in Jr high school and now as an adult, in most of the jobs I have worked on. I used to somewhat blame myself but now I see that many others suffer the same thing. It is out of one’s control if this kind of behavior is allowed to persist and companies don’t take action to stop it. Work just gets reduced to a paycheck when co-workers steal one’s sense of accomplishment.

  • Charles

    My Girlfriend came home in tears today because her employer verbally abused her in front of everybody. I had to calm down because I wanted to take physical action against him and anyone else that wanted to get involved. I took a deep breath and did some research regarding workplace bullying and I took your advice. I am willing to do my part to make this law. I have had this happen to me in the past but I put each employer in there place immediately,and they never spoke to me in that manner again. I treat people with respect and demand the same in return.

  • Charles

    Continued….my girlfriend has to return to work tomorrow and I advised her to document anything said or done out of the ordinary. Especially if her employer decides to retaliate or attempts to force her to quit,by requesting that she do work that is not apart of her job description.

    People we need to band together to stop this nonsense. We may be in a recession but working together as one we can stop this. We do not come to work to be held hostage for a paycheck.

  • Cindy

    Your article has been the most enlightening, considering I recently experienced the exact same situation at work. Software that I was supposed to have mysteriously disappeared or I was refused access. Work guidelines constantly changed and impossible goals were expected–like memorize 3.5 million webpages in 2 weeks. Plus, I had the added aggravation of having professionals and I mean high up the ladder yell and shout profanity at me when they could not get what they wanted with fake information or none at all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for publishing this article. It is priceless.

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  • Blair

    Workplace bullying will not come to an end until the current work paradigm dies out or is destroyed. As long as we work in a pyramidal structure, bullying can and will happen. Destroy the pyramid.
    There will be a day when all employees leave their jobs on a national scale to take a stand against this inhumane behavior. Let people know on a national level that bullying will no longer be tolerated. We are human beings for Christ’s sake! Destroy the pyramid!

  • http://pfalcao@rcn.com Patricia Rose Falcao, MD, MPH

    We ALL need more education about paradigms of “power over” and “power with” and “power solo” and “empowerment actions, empowering ideas, empowering consequences”. Until this happens, we are sitting ducks. As this happens, we can work together to identify & achieve common goals. prfalcao. needham, massachusetts

  • Lisa S.

    I need some advice please. I am a nurse at a large hospital and I feel like I have been bullied by my Nurse Manager. After reading the examples above of bullying in the workplace, I feel that I have a story to go with at least 50% of the above examples. When first wroking as an agency nurse my current director sought me out for employment. We worked well together for the first couple of years and I have continued to play an active role in my unit with council membership for 8 of the past 9 years. As I learned how the unit councils should have a say, I felt that I needed to make the best decisions for the unit through my work on the councils. Even as a new hire, I watched my nurse manager make the workplace such a hostile place for that urse and each person ended up leaving to another job or getting fired. The talk within the unit is that everyone knows that this goes on but will not come forward out of fear of retaliation or targeting by this manager. Many friends have told me over the past few years that I should leave this environment as they noticed the unprofessionalism that I was treated with. Over the past 3-4 yrs, this has adversely effected by health and well being, both physically and psychologically. I have involved Human Resources, and the director was present in my last meeting with my director which resulted in a 3 day suspension. Any other occurence will result in my termination. The HR director asked if I was ready to file a grievance to the Ethics in the Workplace hotline. I feel like I should do this, but it will involve many coworkers, and I fear it will lead to an even more hostile enviorment than I already work in. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

    • DPhillips

      Hello Lisa,

      Please watch your email inbox as we will be sending you some advice shortly.

      -Dave Phillips
      WBI

  • Mabelle

    I was mobbed/bullied out of my job…I had a complaint full of lies written about me and was told that if I didn’t quit I would be accused of stealing from other employees. I am over 50 and have never ever stolen anything in my life and have never broken the law. And to think that these 20 year old girls could get away with this in a city agency that upholds the law. This is the new generation who are corrupt. I have never experienced a supervisor and her supervisor and a Judge and a HR department that did not want to get involved. That Judge will not get my vote next election. It happened to four of us in an eight month period. It is Crazy that this still happens and is allowed to happen. There needs to be federal laws in place that prohibit this. It is a psychological violence and violence in any form should be prohibited in the work place.

  • Mabelle

    I also wish I would have taken the advice of my friend who is a private investigator. She said I should carry a recorder to protect myself. She said I could not use it to press charges against anyone, but could use it to prove I did not do anything they accused me of. In other words to protect myself I could use a recorder.

  • J

    I would like to believe that you all are telling the truth, bu your perception is your reality. I am on this blog post to make sure i am not bullying. I would hate to do that and more so would hate for someone to feel I was doing that. The problem is when you work with a small staff and one opts out of everything that is done to boost morale and comraderie what would the outcome be, but segregation. It’s human nature. If i. invite u over and over and u continously say No. I will stop inviting you, then we’ll start talking about the events you wont be included because you dont know-you werent there! Then you start claiming no one talks to you and you keep to yourself. Then it becomes-everyone else is in a clique and you dont do cliques. Then the clique is bullying. Its like i can see where it started and how it got to this, but once everyone has that negative impression its extremely hard to get everyone back to the team spirit! I wish you all the best. Those who are actually bullied I hope the bullies get themselves right and research their actions. Those who are not, I hope you stop segregating yourself– Just because you participate doesn’t make you a follower!

    • Jules Fairley

      And your perception is being distorted for your own purpose, J. I’ve heard replies like this before to protect the bully & escape accountability. The truth is a bully can convince himself & others of practically anything, especially a smart serial bully boss. The possibility that those being bullied would be foolish enough to “segregate” their own selves! Please! If you believe someone is willingly “segregating” themselves, then you sit down and try explaining that garbage to someone and see if they buy it. If they don’t & they insist that the reason they came to work for you is because they wanted to help (for what other reason would you hire them?) and you are still excluding them for your own egotistical reasons, then you’re a bully. And as far as I’m concerned, you’re breaking the law & committing psychological violence. But even if you discovered that you were in fact bullying, J, would you look for reasons to justify it or would you be man or woman enough to acknowledge & just quit it, to actually constructively rectify the problem as opposed to just cowardly blaming the victim? Don’t wish for the best – your wishes don’t do squat. Validating those who have finally took the courage to stand up & actually constructively helping them will bring the best!

    • JJDynomite

      Just because someone has more of an introverted personality and doesn’t like taking part in all of your group activities, doesn’t mean that person deserves to be ridiculed. “It’s human nature” is a cop-out excuse. Take the high road. 

  • Jules Fairley

    What’s horrible is that bullying can persist undetected. It can remain so subtle that it’s hard to make a case about it. But if you look at the bullying over a long-term period & track the unusual retrogression of a hard-working employee, you will say to yourself “wait a minute, something’s not right here”. And what’s even worse is that it’s all played out in a jokingly matter so you look like a bad guy if you call someone out on what it is they’re really trying to say. In my mind, there is nothing more cowardly than bullying or intimidating someone in the form of a joke, when you’re dead serious. Like when your job, your livelihood, & your family are all actually at stake! Can you imagine? What’s the absolute worst is a manager or boss who is actually going out of their way to permeate & extract such behavior from other employees so you will be forced to quit! And it’s usually due to egotistical reasons, such as the fact that you do their job better & more efficiently than them, you’re making them look bad & they feel threatened by you for fear that you will replace them. They have no choice but to compensate for their inadequacies by bullying you while you’re simply there to do a job – a good job.

    • Jules Fairley

      God forbid, a better job!!!

  • http://facebook.com damoggio johnson

    hello my name is damoggio johnson and i am 12 years old i used to get bullied when i was 10 i told the princibal and it ended but i dont think cyber bullying is a problem i mean if someone is calling you names on facebook, myspace, twitter or so on you can deleate that person as a frend or just log off the computer and do something elese i mean a man made faccebook and he is being sewed because all these kids kill them self you shouldnt sew the man who made facebook sew the parrents for allowing them have a facebook

  • Alisha

    I personally wouldnt kill myself over a bully unless it got to bad, but bullying should stop. and cyberbullying shouldnt be going on either you have a computer for a reason… and its not to cyberbully. If you have nothing nice to say dont say anything at all

    • Alisha

      I ment to say bully just needs to stop! Ive been bullied in the past and it stopped… dont kill youreself over it, tell someone. Ignore the person do what you have to except for violence, and ill try to do the same >:)

  • Bob Gene

    I get Bully everyday and i am 54 years old and havent killed myself so you kids need to stop thinking the wrost.

  • Elva Andrews

    I have been harassed off and on by co-workers for the past 10 years. I ignore what I can for as long as I can stand it. When I report what is happening to my supervisor he tries to brush it off. He makes comments like ‘we can’t put you in a plastic bubble.’ Anyway, some young man who works a few cubicles away is having an affair with the woman on the other side of my wall. He had been hanging outside the corner of my cubicle to converse with her. It was very distracting to me and I told him more than once that it affects my concentration. As you may guess, he started doing everything possible to be annoying. Suddenly, he had to pass back and forth by my desk a dozen or more times a day. He had to make noise each time so I couldn’t miss what was going on. I resorted to wearing head phones which bothered him. He had several girls from his team follow me to the lunch room and restroom to spy on me. They would report to him what I was talking about and to whom. I got so depressed that I could hardly stand to go to work. I stopped talking. He seemed to feed on this. Someone told me to pretend to be happy and act like you don’t care what he does. Well, I tried that for half a day and could tell he wasn’t pleased. He ordered me to go outside in the hall with him to talk. I thought he would call a ‘truce.’ However, all he did was verbally attack me. I was not allowed to respond. I finally blurted out about his affair and he swore at me. He said I was nothing but garbage and a lot of other derogative words. Lastly, he said he hoped I would get killed by a big truck. Needless to say, I haven’t been back to work since. I am on FMLA for depression and am not sure if I’ll ever return. The bully is well-liked by his peers. I, on the other hand, seem not to have any one to call my friend.

  • Tess

    As a result of being bullied on the job for nearly nine years, I am now fighting back by getting involved in the Healthy Workplace Bill being introduced in the New York State legislative bodies. I also plan to lobby for this bill to make it a criminal act for people to bully others in the workplace.

    Everyone deserves to earn a living free of psychological or physical violence! If Australia can act with moral responsibility and make workplace bullying a criminal act with jail time so can we. We will not stop this hideous and insidious act of violence until we all take action.

    In my job, I became a target because I was different. Envy and jealosy were their motives for the cruelty that I suffered. My background was too different and too expansive for my co-workers to handle. My supervisors were both what I call overt and subtle bullies. The subtle one was the most insidious. She hated the fact that I could speak several languages and had lived overseas. As such, she spread lies while pretending to be a friend. The woman is both a pathological liar with a definite agenda. She purposely made sure that I was placed in a position to fail and thus I had to work five times harder so I did not fail.

    Whenever possible she lied about me to the ultimate supervisor since she was my direct supervisor. Upon my arrival, she led everyone to believe that I was not capable, but I forged ahead and worked very hard. Then, one day she came to me saying that primary supervisor had told her that I was no good at my job. She is known as a pathological liar. What I have discovered is that noone likes working for her. I must continue to work with this evil woman, but now I understand her better than ever.

    She now knows that I will not let her get away with her criminal behavior. I am fighting back even if I lose my job.

    • http://www.workplacebullying.org Dr. Gary Namie

      Tess, Thank you for channeling your wrath in such a productive way. We need thousands like you. GN

  • http://aol.com Chelsea

    Dear Dr. Namie I had read your book “The Bully at work”. I have similar experience with Dr. Ruth, I am being BULLY on a daily basis. I complained to HR manager she didn’t do anything she told to put a big smile and do what my boss wants. I a few days ago, my upper management pulled into my manager office (the harasser) and told me he had interview all the people that I named in my complained and he said that they didn’t do any of what I was complaining about (liars), after he told me that’s it. I left both of them were laughing and saying,” she must be stupid or something to think we will admit to that”. Where I work there are 5 Whites, 3 Hispanics and the are closely with each other. And I am the one of Asian American in the place and always under their watchful eyes, my manager followed me to the bathroom,watched me all day long,he followed me to my car when I got cold and needed a sweater. I have carpal tunnel I wanted to file worker comp. for treatment he told me I can’t do hat, I have a family member who is an MD I should have him treats me first, and then use my primary doctor for treatments, and then if that doesn’t work file worker comp.for the last resort.I have been literally sick from all the harassment,intimidation, threat, I have been to the emergency room a lot because of my poor health. I am consider filing worker comp. for work related stress, but my husband is scare/terrify that when I’m better and seek employment again the new potential employer would not hire for filing worker comp. I feel helpless, I don’t know what to do; my health is deteriorating. A few years ago I was hospitalize from this. I am very concert it will lead me to that again. Do you have any advice for me?

  • John Esposito

    I’d like more information about subordinates who bully their supervisors and nothing is done about it because they hide behind EEO commissions.

  • freemon

    what to do when city officials bully and retaliate for your civil rights advocacy?

  • Suzanne Parsons

    My daughter is heart broken as she just left her first job due to assault at work four of her co-workers created a hostile enviroment for her by harassment & physically hitting,slapping,and kicking and verbally assaults and threats of violence, along with that the managers refused to take seriously,I took took it seriously and pressed charges even though her job mangers told me not to and implied she in turn might lose her job!!! So I fixed that too and pulled her out of that sheltered work shop and then pressed charges! And have been turning the incident complaints into every agentcy and advocacy group possible…I PRAY THEY GET WHAT COMES BACK AROUND TO THEM ALL INCLUDING THE MANGERS OF THAT BUSINESS!!!

    • Suzanne Parsons

      Well it is June 11,2012 and this is Suzanne Parsons again,I have my daughter’s community caseworker coming out to our house along with a Adult Abuse caseworker so I pray for success!!!PRAY FOR US!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BGUJQFXC53YLABNYB3H3WP7CIE Jane

    I was fired after 3 years of escalation on every single bullet point when upper management turnover began to support and openly condone the direct supervisor responsible. The challenge is to frame “bullying” as “one of the protected workplace harassment forms” such as sexual, religious, age, etc. Interesting web site, hoping for help here to defend against threats of further legal action for false accusations of still-growing scope.

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