Archive for the ‘WBI in the News’ Category
Thursday, July 10th, 2014
By David Shadovitz | Human Resource Executive, July 10, 2014
Anti-bullying legislation continues to gain momentum in state legislatures, with Tennessee becoming the first state to pass anti-bullying legislation.
On June 17, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law the Healthy Workplace Act, a law that affects the practices of state and local government agencies. Private employers are not affected.
The law defines “harassment, intimidation or bullying” as any act that “substantially interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment,” and instructs the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernment Relations to create a model policy by next March. Employers have the option to adopt the TACIR policy or not. Those deciding to enact it would be immune from claims arriving from bullying behavior.
Proponents of anti-bullying legislation and experts believe other states could soon follow in the Volunteer State’s footsteps, with some pointing to New York and Massachusetts as the most likely to pass anti-bullying laws that would also include private-sector employers.
So far, 28 states have introduced anti-bullying legislation this year, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash.
In June, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla vetoed legislation that would have held both public- and private-sector employers in that territory accountable for workplace bullying. In doing so, Padilla pointed to the Department of Justice’s view that the definition of “workplace harassment” is too vague and the fact that victims of workplace bullying can still seek protection under the territory’s Constitution.
Gary Namie, national director of the Workplace Bullying Institute and a chief architect of the Healthy Workplace Act, says his reaction to the Tennessee law is generally positive. Any legislation that focuses on abusive conduct in the workplace breaks the silence, he says. “You’re going to have all of the institutions talking about it now.”
But while he considers the Tennessee law a good first step, Namie adds that he’s disappointed by the legislation’s limited scope and authority, describing it as a “gutted” version of the Healthy Workplaces Act.
Namie notes that it’s also unfortunate that under the act “all of the processes still happen in-house under a shroud of secrecy . . . . “Everything remains internal.”
Recent studies confirm that bullying continues to be a widespread and troubling issue in workplaces.
Tags: david shadovitz, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, human resources executive, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Friday, June 6th, 2014
If you are new to being bullied at work, you necessarily are consumed by righting the wrong and healing from the self-blame and shame that accompanies it. If you are reading this, you have discovered the WBI website that confirms you did nothing wrong, nor did you deserve the denigration, humiliation or ostracism.
You might have missed the fact that since 2001 we have spearheaded the effort in states to pass a law that would have given you a chance to threaten your employer with a lawsuit. Without the threat of a law, US employers are letting the perpetrators run with impunity. And that doesn’t even count bullying done on behalf of executives and senior managers.
The name of our legislation is the Healthy Workplace Bill. Volunteer Coordinators in 36 states have managed to get the bill introduced in 26 states and in 2 territories — the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The process is just beginning in the USVI, but progress is significant in PR.
Senator Rosanna Lopez Leon was the prime sponsor of S 501. The bill passed all committees, and both Camara (House) and Senado (Senate) floor votes. Reconciliation of the different versions was completed on June 3.
The bill addresses “acoso laboral” the special cases of harassment we define as workplace bullying and mobbing. The bill speaks about “the dignity of every human being, particularly in the area of employment.”
The bill awaits Gov. Padilla’s signature. Call his office to implore him to make the bill law.
Tags: Alejandro Padilla, Healthy Workplace Bill, law, legislation, mediation, Puerto Rico, Rosanna Lopez Leon, workplace bullying
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
States Consider Bills To Crack Down On Workplace Bullies
By Yuki Noguchi, National Public Radio (NPR), May 27, 2014
Listen to the NPR audio segment
Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they’ve experienced abusive conduct at work.
Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.
Lisa-Marie Mulkern says her boss — the commandant of a retirement home for veterans in New Hampshire — turned on her after she expressed concerns about what she calls wasteful financial management. Mulkern was working as a public-relations manager and fundraiser at the home.
“Even though residents and their families had nothing but praise for my work, and the home’s publicity continued to increase, the commandant started to make my work situation a living hell,” she says.
Mulkern says she was repeatedly excluded from meetings and denied credit for her work and access to critical information. Colleagues took notice but treated her like she was contagious. “And I was told point blank, ‘You’re on your own with that one, Lisa-Marie,’ ” she says.
Mulkern says she lost weight and sleep from the stress.
“I didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking on me. I was the public face of the home, and I was trying to look the part of the PR person and not let people know that personally, I was being pummeled at work,” she says.
In 2006, after four years working at the retirement home, Mulkern tangled with her boss over a bad evaluation, and lost her job. The current commandant of the home declined to discuss Mulkern’s case, citing state privacy laws. But Mulkern has since testified several times before the New Hampshire legislature, which is one of 15 states, including, and,that are considering bills giving legal protection to workers harmed in abusive work environments.
Tags: David Yamada, Healthy Workplace Bill, NPR, SHRM, workplace bullying
Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Is Bullying Rife in Tech? by Kathryn Cave, IDG Connect, (UK) May 21 2014
“It was quite insidious,” says Alex [false name]. “The odd comment here or there. And he’d work his way through the team. Then he started on me and I stood up to him… and it got really ugly. Really ugly – to the point where I went and got a lawyer.”
“I am a really strong person,” continues Alex. “Anyone that knows me is just shocked by what went on. But he undermined me so much, it was this whole campaign. It got to the point where you think: am I imagining this is happening? It was very manipulative and subtle: complete psychological and mental bullying. It was awful. And it wasn’t [just] a mental health issue. It was a physical thing. One day I literally started hemorrhaging blood…”
It is at this point that the naysayers will often step in. If it is female being described she would be casually dismissed as “emotional” and most likely “always running to HR”. If it is a male, this it would be the moment to give a kind of appalled snort: clearly he should “man up” and learn to deal with “tough management”.
Yet throughout our conversation, it is plain to see that Alex is extremely bright and analytical; not overtly weak or emotional. This is a firm, likeable and very self-possessed person. And still, although this happened five years ago, Alex is only starting to get over the experience now.
22% of IT Professionals Have Taken Time Off For Stress
The latest research from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), released in Feb 2014 [PDF] shows 27% of adult Americans have directly experienced “repeated abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or work abuse.” And Dr. Namie, Director of WBI and widely regarded as North America’s foremost authority on workplace bullying, stresses this figure would have been far higher, if he had been less stringent with the definition.
Tags: Gary Namie, Ignite union, Pam Farmer, stress, tech workers, Tim Field, WBI 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News, WBI Surveys & Studies | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Thursday, May 15th, 2014
By Monique Gougisha Doucette, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Americanbar.org, April 2014
In February 2014, the Workplace Bullying Institute issued the comprehensive results and analysis of its Workplace Bullying Survey. This 2014 survey is the third national survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute and based on responses to an online survey of 1,000 adults in the United States. When conducting the 2014 survey, the Workplace Bullying Institute asked the participants/interviewees to consider only “the most serious forms of bullying” when answering the survey questions.
These survey results shine a harsh light on what the Institute refers to as the “prevalence and awareness” of workplace bullying. According to the survey, 27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work and another 21% have witnessed bullying in the workplace. Seventy-two percent of the participants are “aware that workplace bullying happens”–specifically, this number represents the sum of those with direct and vicarious experiences with workplace bullying combined with individuals who do not have such experience, but nonetheless believe that workplace bullying happens.
This survey also provided race and gender demographics related to workplace bullying. The results indicated that workplace bullies were more likely to be male than female (69% v. 31%). However, in 68% of the cases involving female bullies, the victim was also female. Of all the individuals surveyed, Hispanics represented the highest percentage of those “affected” by workplace bullying (56.9%), with African-Americans at 54.1% and Asians at 52.8%. Overall, the non-White participants showed higher percentages of those affected by bullying. The Institute nonetheless concluded that “bullying is cruelty that transcends race and gender boundaries.”
Employer reactions to workplace bullying, according to the survey, are most commonly expressions of “denial and discounting.” Despite significant public awareness and recent discussion regarding workplace bullying, the survey indicated that the participants believed employers failed to appropriately react to abusive conduct. Specifically, 25% of the interviewees stated that employers denied and failed to investigate complaints of bullying and 16% indicated that employers believed the impact of workplace bullying as “not serious.”
At the close of the survey, the Workplace Bullying Institute concluded that the American public wants legislative enactment of protections against workplace bullying, as 63% of the participants “strongly supported” specific anti-workplace bullying legislation and 30% “somewhat supported” such legislation.
Practical tips for employers: Employers are encouraged to have a policy declaring that harassing and threatening behavior toward coworkers is not acceptable. By doing so, employers will create a workplace culture where disruptive and destructive behavior is not ignored or encouraged. At the very least, employers are warned against ignoring bullying allegations or dismissing them as “personality conflicts” between coworkers. Finally, employers must maintain their culture and policies through supervisor training.
Tags: 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, American Bar Association, Monique Gougisha Doucette, Ogletree Deakins, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
By Lynne Richardson, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA, May 11, 2014
When I was growing up, we saw bullying in elementary schools and on playgrounds.
The bully was generally the biggest boy in the classroom and he picked on “weaker” boys and girls, making rude and ugly comments about those being bullied and acting in a threatening manner toward them. Teachers tried to protect the children in their classes, but they could not be everywhere.
One of our family’s favorite Christmas movies is “A Christmas Story.” If you know the movie, you might remember that Ralphie was bullied, but ultimately fought back after school one day. As children, I think we all cheered (at least silently) when we saw people standing up to bullies, but it did not happen often.
Bullying in the workplace is a topic we are hearing more about today. There are countless employees being bullied daily by supervisors and peers. I have even seen it in the hallowed halls of academia! Perhaps you have been bullied and not even known to give this name to the behaviors. Bullies are both men and women.
As I am certainly not an expert on bullying and what to do when bullying creates a hostile work environment, I reached out to attorney Randy Sparks of the Richmond law firm Kaufman & Canoles. Randy specializes in employment law—bullying is something he knows a bit about. I asked him to share some thoughts on bullying in the workplace. His comments follow.
Tags: 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, Gary Namie, kaufman and canoles, Lynne Richardson, Randy Sparks, The Free Lance-Star, WBI, workplace bullying
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Monday, May 5th, 2014
Don’t Be a Victim: 7 Signs YOU are a Victim of Workplace Bullying
By Keris Alison Lahiff, The Street, May 3, 2014
For the average American, the majority of waking hours are spent at work, whether it be in a cubicle, on the trading floor or out in the field. In such close proximity to colleagues, and for such an extended period of time, it’s little wonder conflicts arise.
However, the difference between naturally-occurring disagreements and all-out harassment is an important distinction. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), a national organization committed to raising awareness, office harassment is an issue in desperate need of attention.
According to its recent 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 27% of American workers have suffered abusive conduct at work, while another 21% have witnessed it. WBI estimates the number of U.S. workers subjected to abusive conduct totals 37 million.
Tags: 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, bullied targets, Gary Namie, recognizing bullying, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, May 5th, 2014
Just discovered this gem written by a Tennessee newspaper columnist expressing a bullied target’s lament very well. Enjoy.
Workplace Bullying Unfortunately All Too Common
By Gina Logue, The Mufreesboro (TN) Post, March 16, 2014
It has become a truism of this recession that workers who are stuck in jobs where they are not paid enough, mistreated, overworked or just plain bored have few options in today’s tight job market.
If people have had it up to their chins with all the crap dished out on them at work, they might be in a financial position to retire earlier or live in a house with only one working spouse if Obamacare can handle their health insurance needs.
They might even be in a position to find a better job, or, at least, to take more time trying to find one.
The psychological tension brought on by the recession apparently has taken its toll on the American worker in a more subtle way, as well.
Saturday, April 26th, 2014
Chris Gelineau, a manager at Interstate Battery System in Taylor, Michigan, gave us an example of cruel, sadistic behavior. Of the over 10,000 stories we’ve heard at the Workplace Bullying Institute, Gelineau’s actions — staging a robbery to scare his employee — is unprecedented. Read on….
Workplace Holdup Prank Ends in a $25,000 Lawsuit
By Robert Allen, Detroit Free Press, April 25, 2014
When two men in hoodies entered a Detroit auto parts store and frisked him against a wall, 24-year-old Justin Orman of Lincoln Park thought it was an armed robbery.
It turned out to be a prank arranged by his boss.
Orman was working for Interstate Battery System in Taylor when his boss sent him to pick up inventory and payments at Dealer Used Auto Parts on Grand River Avenue, according to a lawsuit filed April 14 in Wayne County Circuit Court seeking more than $25,000 in damages.
Tags: Chris Gelineau, cruelty, Interstate Batteries, PTSD, robbery, sadism, workplace bullying
Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
The much-publicized investigation into alleged bullying on the Miami Dolphins football team has brought workplace bullying into the national spotlight.
More than a third of American workers say they’ve been bullied at work, according to a survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national organization that defines workplace bullying as repeated, health-harming abusive conduct committed by bosses and/or co-workers. This may include verbal abuse, intimidation, humiliation and sabotage that prevents work from getting done.
While bullying is not healthy for the victim or the workplace, it’s not necessarily unlawful. Though so-called “Healthy Workplace” bills have been introduced in 26 states since 2003, including New York, none of these anti-bullying bills have become law.
Tags: bullying scandal, Jonathan Martin, Miami Dolphins, NFL, workplace bullying, workplace bullying policies
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, NFL: Jonathan Martin, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (