Another piece of older audio from a radio program featuring Dr. Namie. Law Professor David Yamada joins the podcast with a history lesson to share. The topic is the origins of employment law in the U.S. that governs the workplace. Unfortunately, the relationship between Master and Servant is the starting point. And not much has changed since. The question for Prof. Yamada is whether assurances of dignity and equality for workers is possible given current laws. Yamada is the author of the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.
US Congressman Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee bullied fellow Congressman Elijah Cummings and below is the video record of it recorded by C-SPAN. Issa allowed no one to testify at this Wed. March 5 hearing held to humiliate former IRS worker Lois Lerner who invoked her 5th Amendment right to not give self-incriminating answers to Issa’s questions. Rep. Cummings had something to say, but Rep. Issa turned off his microphone twice. Issa adjourned the hearing while the outraged Cummings attempted to speak.
Bullied targets have borne the brunt of a bully’s contempt similar to that demonstrated by Issa.
By Caitlin Bronson
March 5, 2014
Insurance Business America
Workplace mistreatment and office bullying contributes to employer losses of more than $4bn in annual absences, including in workers’ comp and disability insurance, a new study suggests.
According to researchers at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, bullying accounted for 5.5% of sickness absenteeism in 2010. That translates to higher workers’ comp costs in an environment already wary of additional risk.
Researchers noted that workplace bullying, which could include insults, intimidation, withholding information or gossiping, often causes anxiety, stress, depressive symptoms and even post-traumatic stress disorder in affected workers.
“Furthermore, as exposure to bullying increases, the risk of depressive symptoms also increases,” the study found. “Besides targets of workplace bullying, employees who observed workplace bullying have also reported stress and anxiety.”
By Joyce E. A. Russell
The Washington Post
Career Coach: How to detect subtle forms of bullying at work
Sad to say, but bullying does not just exist in the schoolyard. It is alive and well in the workplace.
We probably all know what the obvious signs of bullying look like. Examples include: offensive communication (using profanity, gossip or derisive jokes); aggression (yelling or shouting at an employee); coercion (forcing someone to say or do things against their will); belittling or demeaning someone regarding their ideas or work; embarrassing, degrading or humiliating someone publicly in front of others; retaliation; threats; blocking the advancement or growth of someone, or actively campaigning to get rid of them.
In addition to these obvious forms of bullying, there are many subtle forms that may not easily be detected but still cause emotional damage. Perhaps a bully is in charge of taking photos at a key event. He/she may take pictures of everyone but their victim to let them know who is in control. Maybe the bully acts chummy with the victim’s friends or share jokes and social events with everyone but the victim. These are forms of socially isolating the victim.
Bullies may constantly justify their behavior or make excuses for it (“I raised my voice because I am going through a bad time right now”). They may act oblivious or dumb (“Oh, I didn’t know that was important to you”). They may constantly blame the victim or use him/her as a scapegoat. One tactic that I have heard used a lot is pitting employees against each other so that they will turn against each other. This way, the bully comes out as the winner.
As managers, bullies may set unrealistic expectations or set their employees up to fail. They may also display sudden mood swings, making them unpredictable. They may take credit for others’ ideas without acknowledging them. They may lie or distort the truth about what others have said in order to advance their own agendas. For example, the person may say, “Josh said this is how we should run the meeting” since that is how the bully wants to run it, when in fact, Josh never said that at all.
Really clever bullies are manipulators who are skilled at reading others and understanding their weaknesses so they know how to exploit them. In fact, many bullies can disguise their bullying behind a very nice and charming demeanor and a “pure” or noble cause. For example, they may demean a group of employees by arguing passionately that getting rid of them or limiting their power will be for the “good of the entire institution.” Thus, it may initially be hard to detect the bullying. Also, bullying often reflects a pattern of actions over a long course of time so it may actually go undetected in the workplace, yet still have substantial costs to an employer.
By Nancy Fischer
News Niagara Reporter
The Buffalo News
March 4, 2014
NORTH TONAWANDA – Bullying has gotten a lot of attention among schoolchildren, but hostile work environments and bullying behavior in the workplace are now being addressed by a bill in the State Legislature.
In advance of the proposed legislation, the North Tonawanda Common Council unanimously adopted its own measure Tuesday, updating its 2009 Workplace Violence Prevention Policy with specific language to address bullying.
The Council did not discuss the policy, but Mayor Robert G. Ortt said after the meeting that bullying is a “real deal” that goes beyond schools, even to the case involving the Miami Dolphins in the National Football League.
“I think if you are going to ask kids to behave a certain way, there’s no reason not to expect adults to behave in the same manner,” Ortt said.
“You want people to be able to come to work and do their job in an environment that is professional. Without that, morale goes down, people don’t do their jobs as well, and there are health-related issues that are additional costs to the employer, which in this case is the city and ultimately the public.”
Assistant City Attorney Katherine D. Alexander said prior to the meeting, “We are just trying to be as prepared as we can here. If something were to happen, there will be steps an employee could take.”
Like the law being proposed in the State Legislature, the city policy gives employees the definition of an abusive workplace and provides for specific consequences. The policy also requires a system for reporting incidents of aggressive bullying.
The city now has a “zero tolerance policy” regarding reports of an abusive work environment.
According to the new city policy, after an investigation by the supervisor and the city attorney, any employee who is found to have committed a violation may be disciplined – which could include discharge, and criminal or civil prosecution.
A recent survey found that 93 percent of Americans support legislation that would offer protections against bullying at work. The survey, conducted by Zogby Analytics for the Workplace Bullying Institute, found that 27 percent of Americans report having experienced abusive conduct at work. Another 21 percent say they have witnessed such behavior. Overall, 72 percent of those surveyed said they were aware of the issue of workplace bullying.
“Everybody has a story,” said Gary Namie, co-founder and director of the Workplace Bullying Institute. “It is an epidemic. When you count witnesses, 65 million people in the workforce know firsthand what (bullying) is about.”
The Incognito-Martin case brought workplace bullying into the spotlight.
Martin accused Incognito of bullying him, and then left the team. A lawyer hired by the National Football League to investigate the matter recently released a report concluding that Incognito “engaged in a pattern of harassment” of Martin.
Namie and his Bellingham, Wash.-based institute have been working on the issue for more than 20 years, but he said that the Incognito-Martin case caused “a tectonic shift.”
Last year’s National Football League season was tainted by on-field racial slurs and the bullying of a Miami Dolphins player. Of course, professional football players operate in an emotional, intensely competitive and physically punishing environment. It is obviously not your normal workplace. But, as employees, there is no reason they should be immune from modern standards of workplace conduct.
Professional football seems to know it has a problem. Over the weekend the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the N.F.L., recommended strict consequences for players who use discriminatory language on the field, including slurs against African-Americans: The first offense would result in a 15-yard penalty; the second, in ejection.
The chairman of the alliance, John Wooten, said he expected the N.F.L. to adopt the rule in March. Although referees can already cite players for unsportsmanlike conduct, the creation of a specific infraction sends a clear message that something that may once have been overlooked is now unacceptable.
The league’s official report in the Dolphins bullying case, released last month, sends a similar message. It found that three players had “engaged in a pattern of harassment” against Jonathan Martin, who quit the team in desperation and sought psychiatric treatment. The investigators said it was “urgent that a tolerant atmosphere exist throughout the league.” That is especially relevant in light of the recent announcement by Michael Sam, an N.F.L. prospect, that he is gay and will enter the draft. The Dolphins have since fired their offensive line coach and head athletics trainer, both implicated in the report.
Creating that “tolerant atmosphere,” though, will require not just firings or other punishment but a shift in society’s expectations for athletes. Even the authors of the report made allowances, explicitly accepting that “the communications of young, brash, highly competitive football players often are vulgar and aggressive.” They added: “We did not approach this assignment expecting to discover behavior that society might anticipate in, say, an accounting firm or a law office.”
It was not so long ago that accounting firms and law offices excused sexual harassment as boys-will-be-boys high jinks. But in recent years, most workplaces have tried hard to move beyond the vulgarity and aggressiveness of the “Mad Men” days, and certainly beyond racial animosities. Locker rooms should do the same.
By Scott Whipple, The Bristol (CT) Press, March 1, 2014
NEW BRITAIN — Workplace bullying is back in the public eye.
According to a recent national survey, an overwhelming majority of Americans — 93 percent — support enactment of a new law that would protect workers from repeated abusive treatment at work. Only 1 percent strongly oppose such a measure.
“Because of the strong public support and stories from Connecticut citizens we are seeking sponsors in the state legislature to enact the Anti-Bullying Healthy Workplace Bill” said Katherine Hermes, state co-coordinator promoting the legislation.
Ban on workplace bullying stalled at Vermont Statehouse
Advocacy group asks lawmakers to hold public hearing
by Stewart Ledbetter, WPTZ, NBC-TV, Montpelier, VT, Feb. 28, 2014
Sherill Gilbert says she walks the Statehouse hallways as often as she can, trying to persuade members of the Legislature to take up her cause.
She’s determined, even after five years without much success.
“I’d love to see Vermont become first state with law against workplace bullying,” Gilbert said Thursday. “I’ve heard from people from all 14 Vermont counties. Somebody needs to do something. It’s the only legalized abuse in the United States.”