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Nexus of Workers' Rights, Research & Social Policies

December 13th, 2017

WBI’s take on the #MeToo Sexual Harassment Revolution

An incomparable amount of public attention has been fixed on sexual harassment in the latter half of 2017. It’s a tsunami, a virtual revolution.

We are finishing a short book, a primer, a white paper on lessons and opportunities for bullied targets to apply from the new movement and changing employer landscape.

The publication will be available for sale at a nominal price in early January 2018.

Check back to get your copy.


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Posted in Books, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Media About Bullying, Products & Services, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | Post Comment

December 13th, 2017

US News: Battling Bullying

Battling Bullying in the Workplace
By Rebecca Koenig, U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 13, 2017

It’s Monday morning and you’re filled with dread. You have to present research at the office this afternoon, but the gnawing feeling in your stomach isn’t just performance anxiety. Whenever you speak in front of your team, your boss interrupts to mock what you say. He questions your judgment, calls you an “idiot” and even mimics your voice in an unflattering way. Worse, a few of your co-workers have started to follow his lead, criticizing your work behind your back, and, increasingly, to your face.

You know your contributions are excellent – at least, you used to know. Lately, you haven’t been so sure.

Welcome to the world of workplace bullying. That’s right, the same sort of name-calling, intimidation and ostracism some children experience on the playground can take root among adults in their offices. When constructive criticism crosses a line, or a co-worker undermines your efforts, or your boss starts spreading rumors about your personal life, those are all examples of workplace bullying.

The effects of this abusive behavior can be serious: decreased self-esteem, worsened health and career deterioration. Read on to learn more about the phenomenon and how to combat it.

Understanding the Workplace Bullying Definition

Office bullying is defined as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment” that involves verbal abuse, work sabotage and/or humiliation and intimidation, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, a research and advocacy organization.

It may occur one-on-one (between two co-workers or a supervisor and subordinate) or in a group setting. The latter, in which multiple people gang up on one person, is known as “mobbing.”

Typically, a bully is “an aggressive person who strikes out at a particular person more than once over the course of months,” says Nathan Bowling, a psychology professor at Wright State University.

Workplace Bullying Statistics

One-fifth of American adults have directly experienced abusive conduct at work, according to a 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute survey of more than 1,000 people.

More than two-thirds of office bullies are men, and both men and women bullies target women at higher rates. Hispanics report higher levels of bullying than members of any other race.

It’s not uncommon to have a bully boss: 61 percent of targets reported bullying from people in more senior positions.
Continue reading this article… »


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Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI Surveys & Studies | Post Comment

November 14th, 2017

Ruettimann: HR Sucks

Written by Laurie Ruettimann after the Uber and Weinstein harassment scandals, but before Alabama’s Roy Moore’s misconduct.

Let’s Face It. HR is Powerless to Help Women Who are Harassed.
I’m a 20-year Veteran of HR. Something Needs to be Fixed

By Laurie Ruettimann, Vox.com, Oct 18, 2017

Women are a human resources nightmare.

The national conversation has once again turned to women’s experiences of sexual harassment. Nearly two weeks ago, the New York Times and the New Yorker published allegations of rape and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein against actresses in Hollywood and beyond. These experiences go back decades, and they are often, but not exclusively, related to women who met Weinstein in a professional capacity and felt pressured, out of fear for their safety and their careers, to comply.

In other words, these women were harassed in the workplace.

Earlier this year, Susan Fowler blew the whistle on sexism and harassment at Uber. Fowler and her colleagues complained to Uber’s leadership about the culture of harassment within the organization, and they were routinely dismissed by everybody — including the HR department.

It was only when Fowler wrote a viral blog post detailing her complaints that Uber got serious. The company hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation to understand why so many women had such bad things to say about their employee experience. The report was damning, and more than 20 people were fired for inappropriate conduct, including allegations of sexual harassment and management ignoring multiple reports of sexist behavior and harassment. Former CEO Travis Kalanick, who was not accused of harassment himself but reportedly did nothing to stop it when allegations came in, as well as other sexist and toxic behavior, resigned under pressure from investors.

That could’ve been a watershed moment for women in the workforce, but it wasn’t. That’s because corporate America, and human resources in particular, don’t care about women. They care about minimizing risk to enhance the value of a brand, which ultimately leads to greater revenue and stronger profits.

In short, nobody cares about women. Once the shock-and-awe of Harvey Weinstein is over, very little will change for the average worker in America. I know this because I’m a 20-year veteran of human resources. In that time, I worked at big organizations like Pfizer, Kemper Insurance, and Monsanto. I left my corporate job in 2007 and started writing and speaking about HR in an attempt to transform the entire function. I haven’t done a very good job because HR still sucks.

Continue reading this article… »


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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Tutorials About Bullying | 1 Comment

October 27th, 2017

A modern tale of witnesses doing nothing, except when …

Burger King and Nobully.org, an organization focused on stopping school bullying, produced a clever test. Which was more likely to compel engagement by Burger King restaurant adult customers — the public bullying of a high schooler by peers or “bullying” a sandwich? Spoiler alert: smashing the sandwich led to complaints 95% of the time, while only 12% of witnesses intervened. Watch until the end to see the care shown by the few who assisted the bullied boy.

Very instructive.


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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Media About Bullying, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Tutorials About Bullying | Post Comment

October 24th, 2017

New WBI Instant Poll: Aftermath of Bullying

For those who lost a job to bullying, describe the aftermath.

View Results

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Posted in WBI Surveys & Studies | Post Comment

October 24th, 2017

California Cities & Counties Recognized Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week

The California Healthy Workplace Advocates, CHWA, is one of the most active state-based groups in the nation. They are volunteer citizen lobbyists for the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. They have members statewide. Monthly meetings are held in Sacramento. Details here.)

WBI established Freedom Week from Workplace Bullies Week, the third week in October during Domestic Violence Awareness and Bullying Prevention Month. CHWA routinely solicits proclamations from California cities and counties that declare the municipalities’ endorsement of the following principles:
• government has an interest in promoting the social and economic well-being of its citizens
• that well-being depends upon the existence of healthy and productive employees working in safe and abuse-free work environments
• abusive work environments are costly for employers with consequences including reduced productivity, absenteeism, turnover, injuries
• protection from abusive work environments should apply to every worker, and not be limited to legally protected class status based only on race, color, gender, national origin, age or disability

Here are the cities and counties that proclaimed Freedom Week in 2017. Use links for viewing.

Alameda County
Buena Park
Calaveras County
Canyon Lake
Cathedral City
Colusa County
Costa Mesa
Daly City
Del Norte County
East Palo Alto
El Centro
El Dorado County
Hermosa Beach
Humboldt County
La Canada Flintridge
La Quinta
Manhattan Beach
Moreno Valley
Morro Bay
Mountain View
City of Mt. Shasta
Rancho Cordova
Rancho Santa Margarita
Riverside County
Sand City
San Fernando
San Pablo
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz
Santa Maria
Santa Monica
Scotts Valley
Sierra County
South El Monte
South San Francisco
Thousand Oaks
Walnut Creek
West Hollywood
Yorba Linda


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Posted in Events & Appearances, Freedom Week, WBI Education | Post Comment

October 17th, 2017

Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week


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Posted in Freedom Week | Post Comment

September 22nd, 2017

Bullied targets at risk from Graham-Cassidy bill: Act now

UPDATE: Senate leadership pulled the Graham-Cassidy bill on Tuesday Sept. 26. There will be no vote that would have shamed those supporting the heinous legislation. Still we cannot rest. Republicans have sworn to “repeal & replace” the ACA. Stay tuned. Be vigilant.

If you are being bullied at work, and part of the 60.3 million American workers affected by bullying, you have a bone in the Senate fight over the attempt to terminate the Affordable Care Act rolling toward a Wed. Sept. 27 vote.


Here’s why.

An assumed majority of bullied workers or about-to-be bullied workers have some form of employer-based health insurance. It used to be that employers provided the insurance as a benefit. They paid 100% of the premium. But over the years employers learned to shirk that responsibility by making workers pay more as their share. Then they learned to lower their premiums by dumping large deductibles on workers.

We know from a WBI target survey, that for whom the bullying stopped, 77% had to lose their jobs to stop it. Simply put, there is a high probability that once you are targeted, for no reason of your making, you will lose that job.

Either before or shortly after losing the job you once loved, your health will decline — both physical and psychological stress-related problems surface. When insured and if luck, you might have been treated.

Before the ACA, treatment for any condition branded you a person with pre-existing conditions. Insurers had the right to deny you coverage. Some insurers would deny treatment for those specific conditions. Thank Obamacare, the ACA, for stopping this practice of denial of treatment by insurers.

Now you lost your job and with it employer-based insurance. You might have the option to continue the plan for a limited time (under COBRA), but the premiums shift to a very high individual rates now unaffordable without income.

Again, thanks to the ACA, if unemployed, you do not have to go without health insurance when your health is so unstable. You would qualify for either free coverage or subsidized premiums based on your now limited income.

Free insurance —Medicaid— paid for by federal funds and your state,. Of course, if you live in a state that refused the 90-95% federal funding because your red state governor and legislature copped an attitude toward ”guvmint,” you don’t have access to this option. Remember when you vote republican. There are consequences. FYI, Medicaid is how the elderly can get end-of-life nursing home care (rates hover around $6,000 per month). Medicaid helps the disabled and children in poor families.

ACA-subsidized premiums help you get insurance on most incomes. The federal government pays insurers the difference between what you can afford to pay and the premium. Government can help its people to prevent bankruptcy from healthcare-related expenses. We are the only “civilized” nation to allow people to suffer economic devastation on the heels of expensive health crises.

By the way, somehow Trump has been able to curtail payments to insurers in order to make it appear that the ACA is failing. Not so. “Businessman” Trump is throwing the insurance market into chaos deliberately to be able to destabilize the ACA.

This short review of the ACA is to remind you about what the Republicans (U.S. Senators next week, then if successful, House members shortly thereafter) want to terminate. In their zeal to “honor” campaign promises, they are hell bent on repealing Obamacare.

Included in the Graham-Cassidy bill which has never been debated in Congress are heartless, morally reprehensible features such as:

– ending availability of insurance for 22-32 million Americans (according to CBO estimates of prior versions of this legislation)

– the end of subsidies to insurers to offset high premium costs — insurance premiums will rise by approx. 15%

– giving states “block grant” money, ostensibly to pay for healthcare for its citizens, but it is money that can be spent on anything the state desires

– allowing states to allow insurers to again deny coverage (ALL coverage) for people with pre-existing conditions

– ending all Medicaid in 2027 — no more federal support for the least among us.

Thus, bullied targets who lose their jobs and health insurance have a vested interest in sustaining the ACA and not allowing the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal it.

If you are represented by a Republican Senator or House Representative, you have to contact their Capitol offices to register your displeasure with the fact that they would even consider such an inhumane piece of legislation. Let them know you are their VOTING CONSTITUENT.

Capitol switchboard to get connected: (202) 225-3121

The Senators who once voted against similar, but less draconian, bills to repeal ACA (Obamacare). If they all vote against the bill, it will die.

– Sen. Collins, Maine
– Sen. Murkowski, Alaska
– Sen. Capito, West Virginia
– Sen. McCain, Arizona

Watch Jimmy Kimmel explain some of the details of this horrible legislation.


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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie | Post Comment

August 1st, 2017

Foreign employer extortion to create jobs for Americans: Costs vs. benefits

The first glowing positive public headline read “Apple will make products (iPhones and iPads) in the U.S.” Yea! Good news, right? Maybe not so. Reading the details revealed that one of Apple’s major manufacturers in China, the Tawainese company Foxconn, was searching for an American location. Not Apple itself — its contracted manufacturer. Apple not only makes its gizmos offshore; it hoardes millions in profits offshore to avoid a US tax bill.

Foxconn, the astute reader remembers, was rendered infamous years ago when it coerced a spate of employee suicides. Investigations uncovered the fact that young workers were crammed into tiny employer-provided apartments too many for the space allotted. (Think factory towns under total employer control.) Then, at the worksite, the workers were forbidden to speak with one another on the Apple products assembly line. The prohibition extended to any talking, not gossip or non-work-related communications — any interpersonal contact!!!!

Worker have a fundamental human need to belong to groups, to be included. When that need is thwarted in cases of social exclusion or ostracism, individuals suffer social harm. Neuroscience research reveals that the social pain endured is real pain — the kind taking painkillers will reduce. Hence, the suicide by jumping off the roof of Foxconn buildings in China.

Foxconn institutionally abused its workers for some unknown reason. The solution to their suicide “problem” — probably considered nothing more than a public relations crisis — was to install netting to catch the jumpers before hitting the ground below. Great fix, huh? No need to attack the root cause — the Foxconn policy and practice. Better to simply minimize the deaths by suicide with “safety” nets. Stupid (or as Trump would say “Sad!).

Foxconn couldn’t convince Pennsylvania to give them a substantial prize for the locating there. But union-busting Scott Walker delivered Wisconsin. As the following report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states, the state will pony up $3 billion of taxpayer funds to entice the company to locate in either Racine or Kenosha counties. Further, the full-control Foxconn style practiced in China is likely to be replicated, or attempted, in Wisconsin. The newspaper story stated that the “factory project would involve a virtual village, with housing, stores and service businesses spread over at least 1,000 acres.” That is, employer-controlled housing.

Will Americans be willing to cram 10-15 people into spaces designed for two or three? Or will the company simply provide gymnasium-size quarters with cots so workers can sleep up to 6 hours before getting back to the assembly line?

Most important, watch to see how they manage interpersonal relations in the factory. Will Foxconn prohibit workers from talking to one another as they did in China? There’s not a single U.S. labor law to prevent it. [The Wisconsin legislature in the session immediately prior to Walker and the Republican takeover, not only sponsored the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill, it held hearings I attended. The bill did not pass, but at least workers’ rights were on the lawmakers’ agenda. Now, not so much.] And Walker and his Republican thugs have paralyzed once union-proud Wisconsites into fear of union organizing.

Watch for the proactive installation of nets to catch suicide leapers in Wisconsin. Why do we let this happen in America????

Read the Journal Sentinel article that follows.

Continue reading this article… »


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Posted in Bullying & Health, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, WBI Education | 1 Comment

July 7th, 2017

2017 WBI U.S. Survey: Strong Support for a New Law Against Abusive Conduct at Work

2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey
Support for a New Law Against Abusive Conduct At Work

77% of Americans support a new law to address abusive conduct at work

The Workplace Bullying Institute commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the 2017 national scientific U.S. survey across two days in late April. The stratified random sample of 1,008 individuals represented all adult Americans. [Zogby methodology and sample details here.] It was WBI’s fourth national survey.

We used the definition of workplace bullying that matches perfectly the definition codified in the Healthy Workplace Bill. Bullying is repeated mistreatment but also “abusive conduct.” We asked American survey respondents to consider only the most serious forms of bullying.

When the 2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying data were collected, legislation written to address abusive conduct in American workplaces – the Healthy Workplace Bill – had been introduced in 30 states and Territories. The bill had not yet been enacted into law in its complete form.

We asked all respondents [N = 1,008] whether they supported or opposed such a law.

Wording of the Support for New Law Question: Do you support or oppose enactment of a new law that would protect all workers from repeated health-harming abusive mistreatment in addition to protections against illegal discrimination and harassment?

It is clear that the American public wants to see worker protections against abusive conduct extended beyond the anti-discrimination statutes – 77% support specific anti-bullying legislation when strongly support and somewhat support proportions are combined.

Self-described political ideology was one of the demographic variables provided by Zogby. There were 242 liberals, 314 moderates and 369 conservatives. Table 12 shows the pattern of support and opposition for the new anti-abuse workplace law. The phenomenon of bullying ignores ideological boundaries (with the possible Trump effect being the exception, see the analysis of the final question). Nevertheless, liberals and moderates showed the strongest support for the bill. It is noteworthy that two-thirds of conservatives support enacting the law against abusive conduct at work.

Gary Namie, PhD
WBI Research Director

Download the pdf version of these Support for New Law findings.

View findings related to other questions asked in the 2017 Survey.

Download the complete report of the 2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey.


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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | 2 Comments



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