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WBI BLOG

Nexus of Workers' Rights, Research & Social Policies



March 4th, 2015

Utah takes step toward strong workplace bullying training law

On March 3, 2015, the Utah state House of Representatives passed HB 216 on a floor vote of 58-14 to move to the state Senate for consideration. HB 216, sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton of Orem, adopts the employee training mandate first made law by California in 2014. However, the Utah bill is an improvement because it specifies what should be included in the training about abusive conduct. The California law gave no guidance to employers. And employers without guidance will skirt the intent of the law to deliver the minimum in a way that is cheapest and least threatening for them.

Utah’s HB 216:
• applies to state agencies only
• mandates training of employees AND supervisors
• training to include description and “ramifications” of abusive conduct
• to include resources available to abused workers
• and to cover the internal grievance process details (WBI: to hold abuser accountable)
• also training in Ethical Conduct
• also training in Organizational Leadership with Integrity
• training every other year
• State may allocated funds to develop policies for agencies
• State may support development of agency training

HB 216 is not the full Healthy Workplace Bill, but it is the strongest step that any state has taken to date. WBI State Coordinator Denise Halverson has been involved in every stage of the bill’s evolution and deserves much credit.

Visit the Utah State page at the Healthy Workplace Bill website for details.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



February 27th, 2015

Gig Harbor, WA March 19 event for bullied targets

Richard Himmer, WBI Affiliate and Workplace Bullying University graduate, leads bullied targets on a unique journey beginning on March 19 from 7 to 8 pm at Extendicare Health 3220 Rosedale St., Gig Harbor, Washington. Richard has a unique process designed to restore targets’ lost dignity. He is endorsed by WBI.

Download the event flyer.

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Posted in Events & Appearances, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2 | 1 Comment



February 27th, 2015

Clubbing unions to death akin to fighting terrorists: president-wanna-be Scott Walker

“We need a leader who will stand up and say we will take the fight to them and not wait until they take the fight to American soil,” declared Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC. This is his reference to ISIS terrorists.

Then he said: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same in the rest of the world,” a clear reference to both ongoing protests against new anti-worker laws and a historic revolt in 2011 against Walker’s push to dismantle collective-bargaining rights for the state’s labor unions.

Walker denies he connected the dots but his “dog whistle” points were clearly heard by the radical right wing CPAC audience. He is bragging about busting unions — what he refers to as Democratic special interest groups.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,” said Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt in a statement. “To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace. Coming together to peacefully protest for freedom, to raise your voice for a better Wisconsin, this is not an act of terror.”

Let’s hope America doesn’t make the same mistakes that Wisconsin voters have made in recent elections.

The irony in America that not one word may be spoken against the military or those who serve in it (all are “heroes”) but defaming the working women and men who dare to organize to fight against abusive practices by government and corporate employers (who are well organized and funded) can go unpunished is not lost on us.

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Posted in The New America, Unions | Post Comment



February 20th, 2015

Get a bully to build a “bully” team — Rex Ryan in Buffalo

Richie Incognito, the most visible of the three perpetrators in the 2013-14 Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, was the only one to not play in the NFL during the 2014 season. He was probably considered a public relations liability. Even the violent NFL stayed away from the emotionally volatile veteran offensive lineman.

At the end of the season, Rex Ryan was fired as head coach of the NY Jets and hired by the Buffalo Bills. The bombastic boastful Ryan promised that he will “build a bully” that opponents will fear. Though Ryan is famously defense-minded, the Bills just signed the NFL’s most visible “bully,” Richie Incognito.

Read what Ted Wells, the NFL’s investigator in the Dolphins scandal, had to say about Incognito.

Now if Ryan and the Bills want to build a “battering” team, they can always sign former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice. Heard he’s still available.

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Posted in NFL: Jonathan Martin, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | Post Comment



February 20th, 2015

Let’s Talk with Kalola: The Post Office Goes Postal

Dear Kalola,

I worked for the USPS for over twenty-five years. I never had problems with coworkers and was considered a good employee. After suffering personal problems, I noticed a change towards me from my coworkers. After being told that we were going to move to a larger facility, I became very excited at the thought of meeting new people. After we moved to the new location, things got steadily worse. Since there was very little supervision this went on daily without notice. I thought that surely these new people had a mind of their own.That someone would like me. But it appeared that things were being said about me. Things being said that I didn't know about. It was obvious that the other people were choosing to believe what they were told. I am a quiet person who suffers from depression. I was getting worse by the day.

One day after having about enough, I went to the post master crying. Not only did he not take my side, the accused saw me crying. Because of my mental state, it was very difficult to control my emotions. Through gossip, I was told that they were out to get me fired.

I confessed to my supervisor one day that I drank alcohol before work to control my feelings. I was let go on the spot and have not been back since. This was last spring. I will not go back since I know that nothing has changed.

I was a subject of gossip. I was left out of daily routines. (People were told not to talk to me) also I had problems with parking that was very dangerous to myself. I was watched daily and told on to supervisors.

I can prove everything, because it is all true. My regret is that I had not used alcohol to handle my problems. But I know in my heart that I am the victim.

a former Postal Worker


Continue reading this article... »
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Posted in Let's Talk with Kalola | Post Comment



February 18th, 2015

Bully state senator claims to be “tough,” “fair,” & “the most unfairly treated senator in state history”

The Washington State Republicans run the state Senate. That means Republicans chair all committees. Committee chairs have great control over which bills get a public hearing. But typically during those hearings, chairpersons grant each committee member opportunities to pose questions and to comment on bills before the committee.

State Sen. Pam Roach, chair of the Governmental Operations and Security Committee made a snide comment to a group that was testifying before her committee in early February. She asked if they knew where their campaign support money went and commented, “Because you know what? I won.”

That exchange drew a scolding letter from the Democratic Lt. Gov. Brad Owen. Read the letter dated Feb. 13, 2015.

This wasn’t Pam Roach’s first encounter as a bully/perpetrator. The Owen letter lists 16 years of prior incidents starting in 1999 and including a Dec. 2012 finding that she had violated the Senate’s “respectful workplace policy.” All bullies are repeat offenders as is Roach. Her own party caucus, fellow Republicans, found fault with her “abusive conduct.”

Roach now must be accompanied by a fellow Republican during all future meetings with committee staff, the non-elected professionals who serve the committee, many of whom are attorneys.

The Lt. Gov. ends with a veiled threat. “Your abusive behavior must stop. Further violations will not be tolerated.” Yeah, sure. The policy that she willfully violated for years is evidently toothless because it has no enforcement provisions.

Read the letter to see the entire list describing how offensive and abusive Pam Roach has been.

Of course, Roach’s reply to AP reporter Rachel La Corte is that she is a “tough chair.” And that she herself is the actual victim, “I’ve been the most unfairly treated senator in state history.” Of course you are. All bullies are misunderstood victims.

She will not change until made to change. Stay tuned.

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Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | 1 Comment



February 12th, 2015

Namie webinar — When the bully is the boss — now available for HR

When the Bully is the Boss

A joint production of the Workplace Bullying Institute and Biz21 Publishing

Now available for purchase.

Many companies assume they don’t have a bullying problem. Employees get along. In meetings, team members respect each other. But look closer. You might find that the bully is the very person you would expect your employees to turn to if they are being bullied—the boss.

Some managerial bullying is unintentional — supervisors see themselves as “demanding results.” Other times bosses know their behavior crosses the line, but don’t care.
Not convinced? Consider the slew of new state laws protecting workers against bullying. And consider the number of companies that have rushed to adopt anti-bullying policies and procedures for investigating complaints.

The costs are real. The employee’s health can suffer, causing missed work, higher healthcare costs and reduced productivity. Bullied employees are also a flight risk, as are those who witness bullying. And there’s the threat of lawsuits against the company.

In this session, Dr. Gary Namie teaches you:

• How to recognize and respond to a bully boss
• What differentiates “bullying” from other conduct- both illegal (discrimination) and legal (non-abusive disagreements)
• Why the workplace climate may be allowing the bully to prosper
• Why owners and executives often tend to defend bullies
• How to build an abuse-intolerant, accountable culture for all employees, regardless of rank
• How to measure outcomes of anti-bullying activities that benefit both employees and the company.

Now available for purchase.

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Posted in Products & Services | 2 Comments



February 12th, 2015

CT State Coordinator for the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill: Dr. Kathy Hermes

Featured on Waterford, CT community television: Dr. Kathy Hermes. She discusses the bullying-caused suicide of dear friend Marlene Braun and the need for state legislation, the Healthy Workplace Bill.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



February 10th, 2015

Legislative season update for the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill

The WBI State Coordinators are hard at work meeting with legislative sponsors for the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. Here’s a status report. As of Feb. 10 …

North Dakota became the 27th state to introduce something — HB 1428. That something is a simple paragraph declaring that public sector employers have to address harassment, ostensibly not just the currently illegal variety of discriminatory misdeeds. The bill cleared the House on a 91-0 vote and is on to the Senate for consideration. Visit the ND State page at the HWB website for details.

Connecticut has a somewhat related bill — SB 432. It creates an “advisory board,” akin to past study groups and task forces that lawmakers use to delay taking any real action. Visit the CT State page at the HWB website for details.

Utah’s HB 216 is the boldest of the small step bills to date. It requires employers to address the HWB’s definition of health-harming abusive conduct by providing annual training. Better than California’s recently implemented training mandate, Utah would require coverage of not only the definition of the phenomenon, but its effect on worker’s health and a description of what remedies the employer has in effect. Visit the UT State page at the HWB website for details.

• We saved the best for last. New York returns to lead the nation with a complete Healthy Workplace Bill in the Assembly — A 3250. The bill provides legal redress for employees harmed by abusive conduct. It rewards proactive employers who voluntarily protect workers with adequate policies and procedures with a litigation prevention mechanism. It defines the phenomenon and applies to employers in both private and public sectors. Our State Coordinators continue to set the highest bar for comparison. A 3250 has 80 co-sponsors. The Senate companion bill is in the works. Visit the NY State page at the HWB website for details.

Stay tuned for major developments as additional states come on board.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



February 9th, 2015

For advocates who stop abusive conduct at work, it’s all about accountability

Proponents for social justice in the #BlackLivesMatter movement seek accountability. The unethical county prosecutor misled the grand jury so it would not hold officer Darren Wilson responsible for the death of Michael Brown. Hence, the hands-up gesture of surrender that Brown used that Wilson ignored as he gunned Brown down on that Ferguson, MO street. Both Wilson and the prosecutor got away without being held accountable.

The wife and surviving children of Eric Garner also seek accountability. NYPD officers Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico combined a chokehold and physical restraint to kill Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk while a witness filmed the episode. The grand jury there also let the officers walk away without facing consequences for taking a life.

Then, in Cleveland, 12-y.o. Tamir Rice was gunned down within seconds by Timothy Loehmann as his patrol car rushed to the public park scene where Tamir was playing by himself. Loehmann’s employment record showed him to be too incompetent in handling firearms for a small city police squad before he found a job with the Cleveland PD. Rice is dead because the Cleveland PD ignored early career warning signs about Loehmann. He also failed his written entrance exam for Cleveland employment.

The headline-grabbing, media-saturation stories “surprised” white TV viewers who had no appreciation of the ongoing abuse black men face at the hands of police. They were Furthermore, because of implicit (unstated or attitudes possessed without explicit self-awareness) racism by whites, there was little sympathy for those murdered.

In fact, police violence apologists attempted to guide the public to make what is called the fundamental attribution error. Victims are degraded and treated as though they deserved their fate. The error is behind all “blame-the-victim” scenarios that we perpetuate in the aftermath of personal crimes: rape, campus sexual assault, and even murder victims.

It’s a tug of war between two competing explanatory models: fixing responsibility on perpetrators of violence or seeking faults in victims that made them somehow provocative and deserving their fate.

The overlap with bullied targets is easy to see. When they inform management about their ordeal, they are not believed and retaliated against for tarnishing the perpetrators’ image honed by years of ingratiating themselves to their executive sponsor. Management tends to “circle the wagons,” to grow increasingly defensive. Management should care about the impact of bullying on finances as well as the impact on employee health. Instead, managers tend to deny, discount and rationalize bullying.

Another insult to bullied individuals is the sham investigation done by the employer. Organizations cannot conduct unbiased investigations of themselves. The pressures for individual survival and covering up are too great. Furthermore, HR is a management support function. Therefore, it is management investigating incidents of wrongdoing primarily by managers. Truth is sacrificed for the sake of political expediency.

When investigations conclude with an inability to assign responsibility (the infamous “she said/she said” tie) or the mischaracterization of the abuse as a “personality clash” between bully and target, targets are upset and frustrated. Their sense of justice was shattered by the bullying. A failure to find fault in perpetrators compounds the injustice.

Sadly, of the cases in which bullying has stopped, 77% of targets pay the price by losing the job they had no business losing or they transferred (11%) as if they had done something wrong. Perpetrators bully with impunity.

Bullied targets and witnesses simply want perpetrators to be held accountable.

Accountability is nearly impossible without a policy. It is also impossible when a policy exists but is not applied to all employees at all levels of the organization. Inconsistent or absent enforcement renders the policy ineffective. It is only a collection of positive words and thoughts.

Most policies are created in response to laws. Without laws that provide legal redress for bullied individuals, employers do not voluntarily address abusive conduct in comprehensive ways. They may engage in minimal training (as mandated in California starting in 2015) or be “encouraged” to adopt a policy (as suggested in TN law, effective in 2015). Strong laws will compel good policies, which in turn, make accountability more likely. Help enact the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.

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Posted in Related Phenomena, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | Post Comment



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