Workplace Bullying Imposes on High Costs in New York
This past October, 32 villages, towns, cities and counties across New York State issued proclamations recognizing “Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week” and acknowledging that protection from abusive work environments should apply to every worker and not be limited to legally protected class status based only on race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability.
Workplace bullying is four times more prevalent than sexual harassment and employees have no recourse in law but to quit their jobs. In today’s jobless recovery, that is not possible. Employees will stay as long as they can in abusive work environments, incurring mental and physical health ailments to provide for their families until they become disabled, take their own lives or strike out in acts of workplace violence. Targets of workplace bullying can incur severe depression, anxiety, increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, and symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Employers also incur costs from workplace bullying. Studies continually show that workplace bullying reduces productivity, incurs higher sick leave and health insurance costs, turnover and talent flight. Sadly, most employers do not understand these costs. Even if they wanted to reprimand, transfer or fire a bully for these specific actions, they face a wrongful termination suit.
Employees often seek out the services of human resources, believing that this department will help them address workplace bullying only to find that in most cases it does nothing or makes the situation worse. A recent survey found that 31 percent of human resources personnel are also bullied in the workplace. If they can’t help themselves, it is assured nothing can be done about it in current law.
Workplace bullying is defined as repeated, health-harming mistreatment in the form of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation and work sabotage that undermines business and services. Targets of workplace bullying are employees who are bullied because they bring positive attributes to their employer and work environment. They are employees who are productive, talented, educated and team players. Workplace bullies are threatened by these traits so they make the workplace environment abusive and toxic in hope that the person will leave. When this doesn’t happen, the stakes rise and more egregious and aggressive tactics are used to impair the employee’s effectiveness that will assure the employee develops health issues.
For the lucky ones, an early retirement may be a way out, but at substantial cost. The unlucky may become partially or permanently disabled, under-employed or unemployable due to health impairments. Thirty-two communities have spoken. It is time to be free from workplace bullies.
CA Senate, CA
Chino Hills, CA
City of San Francisco, CA
El Centdo, CA
El Dorado County, CA
Grass Valley, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Mission Viejo, CA
Monterey County, CA
Moreno Valle, CA
Morro Bay, CA
Palm Springs, CA
Pismo Beach, CA
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Rancho Mirage, CA
Rio Vista, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco County, CA
San Jose, CA
San Juan Bautista, CA
San Pablo, CA
Santa Clara, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Maria, CA
Santa Maria, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Sonoma County, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Yuba City, CA
Mark Willus, host of the Road Dog Trucking show on ch. 128 on Sirius XM, and Dr. Gary Namie, WBI Director spent an hour together on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) with truckers working during the American holiday. Callers Randolph (stay healthy, take time to exercise) and John (limit your hours to include life with the family) shared wisdom to avoiding exploitation by owners. Isolation exacerbates stress and truckers have to work especially hard to avoid it, all agreed. Happy holidays to all truckers. Working hard, but hardly respected for it!
Hundred of workers at Halifax’s Irving Shipyard walked off the job Thursday, angry about the way management is treating them and what they call an oppressive work environment. Ross Lord reports.
HALIFAX, NS – Workers at the Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard walked off the job Thursday morning in protest after they say a co-worker killed himself after being suspended by management.
Rick Rose of Unifor says a worker took his own life on Wednesday after he was suspended for 30 days.
Rose says the death came after a series of disciplinary actions involving various employees.
He says other employees are upset over what they say is an increase in disciplinary actions by management.
In an email statement, Irving said it was “devastated” to find out one of its workers, whom it identified as Peter MacKenzie, had died.
Police were on scene to keep things under control and so traffic doesn’t get back up. Protesters were crossing Barrington Street earlier in the morning, which caused lengthy delays for downtown commuters.
Rose says he is meeting with management today about the death and the workers’ grievances.
The intriguing angle to this bullying-suicide-protest story is that troubles began when Irving brought in an American president and he, in turn, imported an American management team. Since then, there have been 14 disciplinary dismissals. One triggering a suicide. What did they do differently? Why did the new team not acclimate to the culture of the shipyard? Were the Americans sent in to “clean up” the shipyard with respect to workers? Was previous Canadian management considered to cooperative with the union? Were the Americans sent in to bust the union?
I am a partner in a major law firm. At the time I was bullied I was
one of two female partners in the regional office in which I worked.
For three years before that I had been the only female partner. In
total, there were about 17 partners in the regional office, and 150
The bully was another partner, who was also the manager of the
The campaign escalated over a period of about three years, but this is
a summary of the types of things which happened:
at the weekly partners meetings, during which each partner was asked
to detail what they had been doing, he would either pass over me, or
if I did speak, look down while I spoke, and either harrumph when I
had finished and change the subject, or make a belittling comment
If there was good client feedback about a partner, the usual
position was that it would be mentioned at those meetings or more
broadly. If I got good client feedback (which was not uncommon),
nothing was said
there was one important client of the firm which had a manager who,
for reasons he would not articulate, would not give me any work (so
there was no negative feedback, even though it was sought; he would
just not give me any work). The fact that I did not get work from this
client was mentioned at least once in every two weeks in a public
when I won large retainers from clients (not infrequent), this
manager would tell me the work should be done by another partner
JB is intelligent. He’s well-educated, has in-born operational savvy, and a work ethic unlike that of most of his generation. He obtained degrees from top-rated institutions, had his choice of job offers upon graduation and lives the life-style of his choice.
JB is privileged. He’s also a bully at work.
The Workplace Bullying Institute conducts surveys across the USA on workplace bullying. Here’s some of what they found in their most recent national survey (2010):
1) 35% of workers have experienced bullying first hand;
2) 62% of bullies are men; 58% are women;
3) Bullying is four times more prevalent than illegal harassment;
4) Bullying is a ‘silent epidemic.’
According to WBI, workplace bullying is defined as ‘repeated, health-harming, abusive conduct committed by bosses and co-workers.’ It consists of ‘mistreatment, sabotage that prevents work from being done, verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation, and humiliation.’
Take JB, for example. His bosses and co-workers report that he is competent at his job. Yet, he doesn’t care about the work, the team or the company.
His personal agenda takes precedence over the work itself. It includes having an unhealthy need to control others. JB gets his ‘kicks’ from behaving badly on purpose and enjoying negative reactions.
There’s Nothing Postracial About Richie Incognito or Craig Cobb
No matter how you parse it, Incognito is a bully and Cobb is a white supremacist
By Patricia J. Williams, The Nation, Nov. 26, 2013
They’re curiously phrased, those expressions of sympathy by Miami Dolphins players who have lined up to defend left guard Richie Incognito’s violent behavior toward his teammate, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin. Incognito achieved particular notoriety recently for directing a hefty wet stream of racialized epithets at Martin. (“Hey, wassup, you half-[n-word] piece of [expletive]…[I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face…. I’ll kill you!”) This bullying was so relentless that Martin decided to resign from the NFL.
Despite Incognito’s extensive history of brutality (he was elected “dirtiest player” in the league), a significant number of black and white teammates have rallied around him as an “honorary” black man, incapable of racism. Incognito, it has been proffered, had merely “messed” with Martin as one would a “little brother.” Martin, by contrast, the genteel, sweater-vested Stanford classics major, has been depicted as “not really black” because he’s somehow too “soft” to stand up to a bit of friendly hazing. Most intriguing, he’s been painted as a reverse racist for even complaining.