Archive for the ‘WBI in the News’ Category


NY State Senator candidate Everly Brown to walk against workplace bullying, for the HWB

Monday, July 28th, 2014

A candidate for NY State Senate District 10, Everly Brown, is a man committed to ending Workplace Bullying. This is a national first. Brown, a Rosedale Queens resident, is gathering signatures to demand that current State Senate leaders to pass the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (S3863/A4965) NOW !!! Brown will hand deliver the petitions by walking from Sen. Skelos’ (Republican Senate leader) office on Long Island to Sen. Klein’s (Democratic Senate leader) office in the Bronx — 40 miles on August 11.

Visit his website to support Everly Brown’s campaign.

On the left is the New York Times ad run by Everly Brown on July 28, 2014.

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Sun Sentinel: No tolerance for bullying, experts say

Monday, July 28th, 2014

By Marcia Heroux Pounds, (Florida) Sun Sentinel, July 24, 2014

Bullying in the workplace happens at all levels and in many different workplaces, even to 6-foot, 300-lb. Miami Dolphins football players, experts said at a conference Thursday in Deerfield Beach.

The Broward County Crime Commission gathered local and national experts to talk about adult and workplace bullying.

“When you have zero tolerance, employees understand, ‘we don’t want to get near that locker room mentality that the Dolphins had,’ ” said Jack Seiler, mayor of Fort Lauderdale, referring to Dolphins linemen’s vulgar text messages, voice mails and behavior that prompted teammate Jonathan Martin to quit the team last year.

The city has a zero-tolerance policy against bullying, Seiler said.

But 27 percent of U.S. workers have been bullied and 21 percent have witnessed bullying in the workplace, according to a 2014 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute. Workplace bullying is defined as repeated mistreatment; abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating or intimidating; work sabotage; or verbal abuse.

Nearly 70 percent of bullies are male and 31 percent female, according to the Institute.

Improved economic conditions in the country have not lessened the bullying, said Gary Namie, research director of the Workplace Bullying Institute. Victims may be ostracized in the workplace and set up for errors, he said.
“I’m going to add to your job and not give you training and then call you ‘stupid,’ ” he said as an example of a bully boss.

While many bills have been floated, including in Florida’s state legislature, none have passed to take action against workplace bullying.

“Once management understands what the costs of bullying are, they’ll get it,” said Kelly Kolb, a labor lawyer for Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney in Fort Lauderdale.

Research has shown that bullying can result in “clinical depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, ulcers, loss of sleep, a variety of problems. That’s going to translate into absenteeism, loss of productivity, more sick days, workers comp claims, health insurance claims, short- and long-term disability claims,” Kolb said. “Productivity is going down, expenses are going up, all because of this, usually one male, individual,” he said.

Maureen Duffy, a workplace consultant and family therapist in South Florida, said once a person is targeted for bullying, it doesn’t always end after the person is fired or quits.

“They get tracked down at their new employment, anonymous phone calls saying, why did you hire this person?,” Duffy said. The former employer may withhold references when the person is trying to get a new job, she said.

Sometimes, the situation is even worse. Conference attendees heard from the mother and sister of Jodie Jones Zebell, a 31-year-old mammographer who took her own life after feeling bullied at work.

“Even if something seems trivial, it adds up,” said her sister Joie Bostwick. “Listen, and make sure they know how much you love them.”

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Also presenting at the event were WBI friends.

Associate Law Professor Kerri Stone, Florida International University

Attorney Wm. David Cornwell, Gordon Rees, attorney for Jonathan Martin

Associate Professor Alexia Georgakopoulos, PhD, Nova Southeastern University

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HR Exec: Taking Aim at Workplace Bullies

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.

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Puerto Rico acts on the Healthy Workplace Bill

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.

(more…)

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NPR: Workplace bullying and the Healthy Workplace Bill

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

NPR-May 27, 2014

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.

(more…)

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IDG: Workplace bullying in technology companies

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.

(more…)

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ABA: Workplace Bullying Employer’s Perspective

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.

Listen to the author participate in an American Bar Association teleconference earlier this year.

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Free Lance-Star: Bullies can make a workplace toxic

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.
(more…)

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The Street: Recognizing that you are being bullied at work

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.

(more…)

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Logue’s lament: Workplace bullying all too common

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.

(more…)

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