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WBI BLOG

Nexus of Workers' Rights, Research & Social Policies



December 19th, 2014

Expansion of civil rights law – transgender protection

“Protection” of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. Of course, “protection” actually means the right to file a complaint alleging disparate treatment based on one’s transgender status.

In a Dec. 18 memo, Attorney General Eric Holder made identity as a transgender individual a protected group. In order for anyone to claim discrimination, the person must be a member of a protected status group.

This new decision extends the 1964 federal civil rights law. Read the memo.

With respect to bullying in the workplace, according to the 2007 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 20% of bullying cases involve a recognized claim of discrimination. This means that in 1 of 5 bullying cases, targets can compel their employer’s attention to the problem because of possible illegal discriminatory conduct.

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Posted in Rulings by Courts | Post Comment



December 15th, 2014

Let’s Talk with Kalola: Target Called 911-Bully Arrested

Dear Kalola,

I was working in a trucking and logistics company, as a winery yard supervisor in California. From my first day on the job, I heard stories of our former supervisor and dispatcher who had been demoted to 'truck driver.' Word on the docks was that this guy was #1 workplace abuser who repeatedly threatened my coworkers and forced people to quit. Not on my watch.

His name was "X" and he quickly became my abuser. He was known to be very, very disgruntled for having been demoted, and everybody knew him as a ticking time bomb. But rather than submit to his abuses, I took them head-on and took an assertive and confident approach to him. All of my coworkers were afraid of him, walked on eggshells for him, and submitted to his abusive and angry whims. Not on my watch.

We began clashing from the first day on the job, when I did not listen to "his" instructions when I was the boss. He began to yell at me, point his finger in my face, and threaten my job from day 1. I filed internal complaints, and immediately experienced retaliation by his buddies in a satellite office of the company.

Over the period of three weeks, I filed internal complaints by writing and verbally, and this caused the ticking time bomb to explode. One evening, "X" was acting very paranoid, jittery, agitated. I sensed something bad was about to happen. He started to instigate our winery forklift drivers by saying that I was not "doing my job," and I confronted him by trying to "have a talk with him." He began to scream at me and use profanity, and I told him straight that he was not going to come down here and harass or bully me, or my coworkers. This set him off. The abuser quickly rushed me, got in my face, and punched me in the jaw. I called 9-1-1. He was arrested and is currently being prosecuted for workplace violence.

The fallout from this event has been particularly damaging to my career. We had heard all along that we could not tell our corporate office of this man's workplace abuses, because we would be 'forced to quit.' Yet I violated this workplace taboo and did exactly that, and took it a step further by having the criminal justice system step in and prosecute the known abuser.

Almost immediately, I have experienced workplace retaliation, demotion by our supervisors--who just happened to be his buddy--and have been told to drop the charges a number of times. I got OSHA and the US Department of Labor involved, and they have enough to charge my supervisor with a Whistleblower Retaliation charge in violation of Section 11(c) of the Federal OSH Act. The federal whistleblower protection program has been my only source of comfort in this whole mess, and I look forward to watching my abuser fry in a courtroom very soon.

California Worker


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December 10th, 2014

CIO: Workplace Bullying a Costly Epidemic in the Enterprise

By Sharon Florentine – CIO – 11/7/14

Workplace bullying opens your organization up to poor productivity, lower retention rates and possible legal action. And it’s not an isolated issue – the workplace statistics are shocking. Is your culture cultivating a bully mentality?

Old bullies never die, they just get … promoted. And older doesn’t always mean wiser. Those bullies you remember from your school days don’t always grow out of that behavior. Many in fact, carry it with them into the workplace.

If you think bullying isn’t happening in your organization, think again. According to a Zogby poll commissioned by WBI in January 2014, 27 percent of the 1,000 U.S. workers surveyed had been the target of bullying; an additional 21 percent had witnessed an incident or incidents of bullying in the workplace.

A recent Forbes article reported that an alarming number of respondents, 96 percent, admitted to being bullied in the workplace.

The issue is so prevalent that Gary Namie and his wife, Ruth Namie created the Workplace Bullying Institute(WBI), an organization dedicated to eradicating workplace bullying.

Defining Workplace Bullying

Different people may have different ideas about what workplace bullying means, but the WBI offers these thoughts: “We have a fairly high threshold for the definition of bullying; we define it as repeated mistreatment and abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, work sabotage or verbal abuse. Even so, we consider it something of an epidemic,” Gary Namie says.

Bullying Has Widespread Organizational Impact

Bullying in the workplace affects more than just the individual targeted. It has negative effects on an entire organization, according to Namie and WBI data. “Victims suffer from depression, anxiety and panic. They take more sick days, resulting in higher rates of absenteeism. They have higher rates of stress-related health problems, increasing employers’ healthcare costs. They aren’t as motivated, engaged or productive – why would they be?” says Namie.

These individuals who are bullied are more likely to leave your organization and they certainly aren’t going to recommend your company to their talented friends, family or professional contacts.

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied | 1 Comment



December 8th, 2014

Holiday buttons & magnets from WBI

Click on the images to purchase.

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December 8th, 2014

Cap Times: UW-Madison bullying policy

New Policy at UW-Madison Aims to Discourage Faculty Bullying
By Pat Schneider, Capital Times, Dec. 1, 2014

Derogatory remarks. Unwarranted physical contact. Sabotage of a colleague’s work. Use of threats or retaliation in the exercise of authority.

Sounds like seriously bad behavior in the workplace, especially for faculty at Wisconsin’s flagship university.

But Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology, says she has heard of many incidents fitting one or all of those behaviors at UW-Madison.

This kind of bullying is not limited to UW-Madison, or to academics, Shim stresses.
“It’s human behavior. It’s everywhere,” she says.

But the occurrence of such hostile and intimidating behavior at a university threatens the fundamental tenet of academic freedom that allows faculty to search for and express truth in individual ways, Shim says.

“Lack of respect or making someone feel unwelcome or unable to voice their opinions goes against academic freedom. You should be able to voice your opinion without being threatened or sabotaged in promotion,” she says.

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December 8th, 2014

Woman-on-woman bullying: UK tech Destiny mag

Beef With Bullies
By Mariam Isa, Destiny Connect (UK), Dec 4, 2014

The prevalence of woman-on-woman bullying in the workplace is surprisingly high and, in many instances, is spiraling out of control in the absence of legislation or company policies to curb it. We look at what is behind this insidious trend

Lillian Karuri-Magero, Sourcing Executive for Africa at Barclays Absa, is successful, confident and assertive. She began her second job in the IT industry full of enthusiasm and energy, but ended up leaving prematurely after being bullied by a woman senior who deliberately alienated her from the office environment.

“She publicly humiliated me many times, using her rank to belittle my work. She deliberately withheld information that would have made my working life more efficient and my outputs quicker and better. She called meetings without including me and her behaviour towards me was blatantly rude – no ‘good morning’ or ‘goodbye’, barking orders and things like that – which, to me, are outright bullying. It made my ability to function almost impossible,” Karuri-Magero says.

Eventually she decided to confront the bully, but it only made things worse: the woman began calling her into her office and behaving more belligerently than 
she would ever have dared to do in front of her own manager. So Karuri-Magero approached the company’s HR department for help. That also failed, as the bully, who had been in the company much longer than she had, blatantly lied, making it her word against her victim’s. At that point, Karuri-Magero resigned, feeling helpless.

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December 8th, 2014

Guest: The Lived Experiences of Bullied Teachers

By Deidra A. Sorrell Ed.D., NCC, LPC

Summarizing her newly completed doctoral dissertation …

The research examined the lived experiences of elementary school educators facing workplace bullying within public schools.

The researcher recruited six elementary school educator-participants from WBI volunteers. All participants were female and over forty-years-old. All of the participants experienced bullying after taking medical leave due to preexisting health issues, which caused more stress and anxiety. As a coping mechanism, all of the participants found the teachers union ineffective in solving their disputes. The educators were interviewed at length to gain extensive descriptions of their experiences.

Three major themes emerged from the data. The themes included: (a) experiences with workplace bullying, (b) coping, and (c) environmental factors contributing to workplace bullying.

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



November 26th, 2014

Holiday Deals from WBI: Univ & DVD discounts

Discounts for Holiday sales. Act before midnight Friday Dec. 26.

DVD for employers: Workplace Bullying & Abusive Conduct: The Other Harassment

New for 2014. Dr. Gary Namie explains the essentials in a 20 min. production.
Streamable for online delivery or for in-person viewing.

Was $499. Only $399 until midnight Dec. 26. Order today.

Watch the preview.


Workplace Bullying University®

The only immersive training for professionals in all aspects of workplace bullying/abusive conduct offered in the U.S. and Canada. Three full days with Drs. Gary & Ruth Namie. Train the trainer for unions and organizations. Diversify a consultant’s portfolio. Specialize in the topic for mental health clients. Choose a new career path for entrepreneurs.

Jan. 16-18 in Bellingham, Washington
Jan. 23-25 in Houston, Texas

Regular tuition: $3,100. $2,600 if deposit paid before Dec. 26 ($2,500 if prepaid in full by Dec. 26). Register today.

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November 25th, 2014

Univ of Minnesota: Graduate student bullying

Grad and Professional Student Bullying Rises
By Christopher Aadland, Minnesota Daily, November 24, 2014

University of Minnesota surveys show peer-to-peer and faculty-to-student bullying has risen since 2007.

From verbal attacks to threats, graduate and professional students are increasingly experiencing harassment and bullying at the University of Minnesota, according to surveys.

“… I’ve lost all desire for research because of the continual harassment and hostile environment I’ve experienced,” an anonymous student said in a recent survey. “I never thought I would give up on research, but I guess anything’s possible. I’ve given up.”

For the past decade, Jan Morse, director of the University of Minnesota’s Student Conflict Resolution Center, has noticed an upsurge in graduate and professional students coming to her office looking for relief from bullies.

And despite work over the last six years by a group of school administrators, faculty members and students that aims to tackle bullying, this year’s survey still shows graduate and professional students are increasingly experiencing harassment.

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Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | Post Comment



November 24th, 2014

New WBI Instant Poll to complete: Holidays & workplace bullying

Year end holiday season and workplace bullying. Were (are) they connected for you?

View Results

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