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WBI BLOG

Nexus of Workers' Rights, Research & Social Policies



July 28th, 2014

Sun Sentinel: No tolerance for bullying, experts say

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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July 28th, 2014

Workplace Bullying: About U.S. Bullied Targets


ABOUT BULLIED TARGETS in 2014

Finally, we asked the American public what type of person is targeted for abusive mistreatment in the workplace. Though this was a short, not exhaustive, list of personality traits, the results are clear. Those who claimed to have been aware that workplace bullying happens, believe that the overwhelming majority of individuals targeted possess positive attributes.

That is, the same respondents who believed that targets are mostly incapable of defending themselves against bullying assaults believe targets are kind, cooperative and agreeable. Perhaps these same traits render the guileless person vulnerable to unpredictable attacks. This Survey does not provide a way to draw the causal link between the traits and targets’ ability to defend themselves.

It is noteworthy that only 6% of targets are considered abusers themselves.

Question: Which personal style best describes the targeted person?

Download the About Bullied Targets mini-Report

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Gary Namie, PhD, Research Director
Research Assistants: Daniel Christensen & David Phillips

© 2014, Workplace Bullying Institute, All Rights Reserved

Download the complete Report | Access individual sections of the Report

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July 27th, 2014

Rare twist: Employees loyal to ousted CEO protest and boycott

A grocery store chain, DeMoulas Market Basket, started in 1916 in Lowell, Massachusetts by two Greek immigrants is at the center of a rare remarkable demonstration of employee and customer loyalty.

The original Market Basket founders sold their store to two sons, brothers Mike and George, in 1954. When George died, a blood feud began, claiming (and a 1994 court agreeing) that Mike had cheated George and his family out of $500 million. George’s son, Arthur S. Demoulas, still became Boston’s 8th wealthiest person.

Arthur T. Demoulas, Mike’s son and the cousin of Arthur S., was named CEO in 2008 by the Market Basket Board of Directors controlled by Arthur S. (History from the Demoulas corporate website. More history from a Boston Globe video.)

The the all male board, led by Arthur S. attempted to fire Arthur T. in 2013, and eventually did fire him on June 23, 2014. Two other executives were fired and six quit.

As CEO, Arthur T. was committed to the firm’s 25,000 employees like few American CEOs. Said the Boston Globe about him:

It’s easy to see why the employees love Arthur T., who has been generous to them to a degree that drives his relatives crazy. One of the acts that drew their ire was replacing $46 million that their profit-sharing plan lost in the market during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. thought it was money the employees were entitled to. His cousins argued, not unreasonably, that investments sometimes go sour.

The Market Basket melodrama exploded outside the board room when loyal employees and customers took to the streets to protest and to gather signatures on petitions to re-instate Arthur T.

Here’s the account from WMUR-TV:

Continue reading this article… »

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | Post Comment



July 26th, 2014

Got a Minute? Workplace Bullying Kills!

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Media About Bullying, WBI Education | Post Comment



July 23rd, 2014

Let’s Talk with Kalola: Screaming Mimi

Dear Kalola,

I began a job a few months ago as a bookkeeper for a medium size company. There are 8 bookkeepers in the company. There is one bookkeeper that is terrorizing everyone and the owner of the company is doing nothing about it. She screams, swears, throws things and decides what part of her job she is going to do. The best I can figure is the owner is afraid of her because he hasn’t fired her. Instead he takes her work and makes other people do it. If you approach her on a bad day to give her work that belongs to her, she will throw it at you and tell you she isn’t doing it. Then she will sit there sing real loud or start laughing like something you would see in a horror film. She is doing it on purpose. She has told me the owner isn’t going to fire her so she will do whatever she wants. I have seen her make another employee cry and I know people have quit because they can’t deal with her.

My concern is a safety issue, what if one day she really does flip out? what if someone gets serious hurt. Who is going to be held responsible? I don’t have patience for bullies and I can’t believe in the year 2014, we do not have laws to protect us from such treatment. I really hope pressure can be put on our elective officials to get things moving.

I really enjoy the work I do but I refuse to allow someone to treat me like garbage or throw things at me. Not sure what will happen when she thinks she can treat me like she does everyone else.

Linda


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July 22nd, 2014

Stupid state lawmakers deliberately distort science

“Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But I repeat myself.”
Mark Twain

I’m starting to sound like my father and can’t believe I question nearly every day “what is this world coming to?” Near the top of my “it’s all going to hell” list is America’s turning its back on science — unabashedly, proudly, defiantly — through legislation.

In the UK, the BBC has banned from their airwaves crackpot guests preaching that climate change is not real. The change is to bolster scientific integrity. Staff will receive training in science and scientific conferences will be attended by staff to stay abreast of developments.

Deniers get equivalence here in the US. One denier with one believer (proxy by Bill Nye, the “Science Guy”). Viewers ignorant of the facts could conclude that climate change is not really something to be concerned about. The fallacy of this false equivalence was never more clear than this demonstration by comedian John Oliver on his HBO show This Week Tonight.

And recently the British government extended its public school ban on teaching pseudoscience, creationism, to cover “academies” and “free schools,” the equivalent of charter schools in the States. The government recognizes the religious bases of the founders of such schools. Thus creationism promotes religion and has no business in the teaching of science.

America is headed in the other direction, driving headfirst into ignorance. Creationists and advocates for “intelligent design” in the US seem to be gaining clout. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) 2014 legislative scorecard identified states that are attempting to make their children science illiterates.

Continue reading this article… »

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), The New America, WBI Surveys & Studies | Post Comment



July 21st, 2014

Workplace Bullying: Causal Factors in the U.S.

CAUSAL FACTORS in 2014

Two questions explored with varying levels of accuracy the public explanation for why bullying happens.

In the better of the two Survey items, we asked respondents to choose one primary factor or reason for the bullying.

Question: Which one factor is most responsible for abusive mistreatment at work?

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July 19th, 2014

Got a Minute? For Employers

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Media About Bullying, WBI Education | Post Comment



July 17th, 2014

Help fund a good documentary

We help documentary film makers by participating in their films. One successful documentary was Murder By Proxy.

Filmmakers Sheila Dvorak and Jay Galione, produced Gone Postal: The Documentary. Jay’s father’s experience as a proud postal worker watching the destruction by politicians of the USPS inspired the film. We met Jay and Sheila when they filmed our reaction to the manufactured crises in the Postal Service.

Let’s all help fund completion of this worthy project on Indiegogo. (WBI supporters generously funded the 2014 US Workplace Bullying Survey on Indiegogo.) Please help these filmmakers.

Visit the Gone Postal website | Visit the Indiegogo fund raising page

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Posted in Documentaries, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Media About Bullying | Post Comment



July 17th, 2014

Men are Subjected to Workplace Bullying too

Here is a great video from Sue O’Donnell RN, MN, PhD, University of New Brunswick. The strong illustrations of men being bullied at work is supported by WBI research. According to the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey males comprise 40% of bullied targets.

Men Workplace Bullying from Nick Wilson Videography on Vimeo.

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied | 1 Comment



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