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WBI BLOG

Nexus of Workers' Rights, Research & Social Policies



August 30th, 2014

Officevibe: Workplace Bullying is a Huge Problem

By Jacob Shriar – Officevibe – August 27, 2014

Workplace bullying is a serious issue.

It’s an issue that I don’t think gets enough attention, considering how big of a problem it is.

I was really shocked and surprised when I learned at how often bullying in the workplace takes place.

A recent survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute shed some important light on this issue.

Let’s look at some of the more interesting numbers from the survey:

  • 27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work
  • 21% have witnessed bullying
  • 56% of the time it was from the top-down (more on this later)
  • Hispanics and African american workers experience more of the bullying
  • Most employers either deny or discount the bullying
  • 38% of co workers did nothing (although I don’t blame them)

These numbers are incredible.

The 2 numbers that really stick out at me, are the fact that 56% of the time, it comes from a manager or senior leader, and that most employers deny or discount (25% and 16% respectively).

This is why I’m such a big fan of having a flat hierarchy. It’s been proven many times that power corrupts, and so it doesn’t surprise me that most of the bullying comes from someone in a higher position of power than you.

For the employer to hide or discount it as not being serious is so stupid. It’s incredibly serious, because it has a major effect on your company culture.

According to a study from the Sauder School of Business at UBC, workers who witness bullying have a stronger urge to quit than those who experience it firsthand.

A lot of people don’t stop to think about this. The bullying doesn’t only affect the person that was bullied. It has a terrible effect on morale. And as the study showed, just witnessing workplace bullying gets people to want to quit.

This is what happened to me personally at a company I used to work for.

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Posted in WBI in the News | 1 Comment



August 29th, 2014

Kaplan: Nearly Half of Recent Nursing School Graduates Are Concerned About Being Bullied at Work

Business Wire – August 28, 2014 – Kaplan Survey

For those entering the workforce, typical top-of-mind issues include opportunities for growth, benefits, and job security — but nearly half of those entering the nursing profession voice another concern: being bullied by colleagues. According to a just-released Kaplan survey of over 2,000 nursing school graduates from the class of 2014, 48% say they are concerned about being the victims of workplace bullying or working in a hostile working environment.* The survey also found that 39% personally knew nurses who were victims of workplace bullying or a hostile working environment.

One widely cited study found that approximately 60% of nurses left their first nursing job within six months because of bullying issues or because of a hostile work environment.** And studies conducted over the past decade show there’s a financial cost to this for medical providers, ranging from $22,000 to over $64,400 per turnover. (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/569393_2).

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | Post Comment



August 29th, 2014

Real Business: Are You a Workplace Bully?

Real Business – Aug 25, 2014

Click to enlarge infographic

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Posted in WBI in the News | Post Comment



August 28th, 2014

Artie T. back in saddle at Market Basket – worker revolt successful

UPDATE: Success.

We reported in late July about the long-standing feud between second generation owners of the Market Basket grocery store chain in the Northeast. Arthur S. Demoulas fired his cousin Artie T. Workers rose in support because he had done several costly things to help financially strapped workers when the stock market collapse ate up retirement savings. Local politicians called for boycotts of the stores. Shelves ran bare. Governors in two states pled for a solution.

Now, Artie T.’s offer to buy the chain, to remove Artie S., has been accepted by the Board. Artie T. will restore all lost jobs. Artie S. had fired protestors.

Life resumes to normal in a couple of months as the chain reverts to control by Artie T.

This is a very rare story where non-union workers prevailed. A great story. Justice.

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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Good News, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | Post Comment



August 28th, 2014

Two tales for 2014 Labor Day

Happy Labor Day. Two tales about unionism. Abraham Lincoln said it best:

Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.

Good news in an unexpected place: Workers at the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen auto manufacturing plant have created UAW Local 42 to represent workers. The company is expected to recognize the union once a threshold number of workers join the union. The company favored the union in the Feb. 2014 election. Outside Tennessee politicians fought hard to defeat the union winning the support of workers to keep Tennessee hostile to unions. It is a “right to work” state.

Bad news where least expected: Amazon fights its workers’ right to unionize in Germany, a union-friendly country. Along with GMO and fast food, another horrible American export — anti-unionism!

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Remember without workers CEOs would have no income and investors would have no companies to push to their limits of productivity.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Unions | Post Comment



August 27th, 2014

Forbes: Can Boomers Stop The Bullying At Work?

By Nancy Collamer, Forbes, August 25, 2014

If you saw a young child being pushed around on the playground, chances are you would intervene. But are you equally proactive when you see bullying at work?

While this may sound like a hypothetical question, it’s anything but. According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 27% of Americans have been bullied at work, 21% have witnessed it and 72% of us are aware that workplace bullying happens.

Real bullying involves more than just bad management and obnoxious behavior.

How Bullying Can Harm A Victim’s Health

It also means health-harming behaviors that can include verbal abuse, offensive conduct and intentional sabotage. And workplace bullying doesn’t just harm the victim. It leads to poor morale, high turnover and low productivity, which impact the entire organization.

The problem is now so widespread that lawmakers in 15 states have introduced legislation aimed at prodding employers to take the matter seriously or face consequences.

Why Boomers Can Be Effective

So what are you willing to do about it? I ask because many boomers are in management and as a result, some are in a good position to take action. Even if you’re not among your employer’s leadership team, you still might be able to make a difference.

If you’re well respected by colleagues, have good relations with key influencers at your employer or have strong job security, it’s likely easier for you to speak up and get management to take bullying seriously than it is for your younger co-workers.

That is an important advantage. Just like on the playground where bigger kids target weaker ones, the majority of workplace bullying is inflicted from the top down. According to the WBI survey, 56% of it is attributed to bosses, compared to 33% that’s blamed on peers. Given this inherent power imbalance, it’s no surprise that few victims stand up to their abusers.

I want to emphasize that not every boomer is in a position to stand up to workplace bullies.

Many older workers are in precarious job situations and know that if they speak up, they could be fired. That’s especially true in environments where bully behavior is a celebrated part of the workplace culture. (Wolves of Wall Street anyone?)

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



August 20th, 2014

ABA: Understanding the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill

Understanding Workplace-Bullying Legislation
By Randi Melnick
American Bar Association, August 13, 2014

Labor-and-employment attorneys hear countless tales of abuse suffered by employees in the workplace. Employees subjected to mean-spirited or degrading treatment can often feel helpless, or even if they are proactive and make a complaint to human resources, they may simply be told to toughen up, or find a new job. With the realities of today’s increasingly stressful and competitive workplace, it is worth a moment of reflection to consider what level of civility should be expected in the workplace, and what the consequences should be, if any, for those who break such codes of conduct.

Workplaces can have tricky cultural norms, and some people will be more skilled than others at communicating. However, there is a difference between a manager or coworker who lacks tact and one who goes out of his or her way to purposefully target an individual. When one is verbally abused or intimidated, when work is sabotaged, or when humiliation is used as a tactic, that is bullying. And it is not always illegal in the United States.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | Post Comment



August 20th, 2014

Let’s Talk with Kalola: Worker is Exploring Taking Legal Action Against Her Employer

Dear Kalola,

I was bullied by my boss, and when I reported his insidious acts to Human Resources, he retaliated and placed me on a performance improvement plan and escalated his bullying towards me. When I complained to Human resources about the irregularity of the plan, and the fact that the bullying acts had only accelerated, I was advised to comply or lose my job.

My performance improvement plan was to last for three months, during which time my boss isolated me, excluded me from team meetings, stripped me of critical roles and took every opportunity he could get to humiliate me and call me names. At some point it was so depressing to go to work. Going to work was just to face more and more humiliation and isolation, and I developed body pains especially lower back and shoulder. The pains would never subside even when I was on the strongest of pain killers.

One day I felt I could not bear the thought of going to work. I called in sick and even sought medical attention. X-rays were carried out but the doctors could not find anything wrong and only prescribed pain killers. I decided to take time to clear my mind and assess whether I should quit my job. Surprisingly when I returned to work, my boss demanded that I produce my medical records for the day I was sick. Even though I knew that this was a violation of my privacy I handed him copies. Absurdly he accused me of falsifying the medical records and had disciplinary charges preferred against me. During the hearing he stated that he had gained access to my call records which to him proved that there was no way I could have been sick or sought medical help because according to him I was “roaming the town” based on my call records. Inwardly I was reeling from the fact that he had illegally obtained my call records, invaded my privacy, and had the audacity to discredit my defence and explanation. He demanded that the panel find me guilty. I got a warning letter and from that day he demanded that I no longer attend any divisional meeting. exactly one month later he asked Human resources to have me dismissed for failing to pass the improvement plan. I was dismissed and advised that I could exercise my right to appeal. I appealed against the dismissal. The appeal was never heard, and my dismissal was confirmed a month later.

On the whole the battle against a work place bully is an ugly one. They are usually in privileged positions of power which they abuse. A law suit against the company is the only option I have now. I am actively pursuing that right now.

Anita


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August 19th, 2014

WBI’s Frank Mulcahy presents to TX Chamber of Commerce

Deer Park Chamber Hears Presentation on Workforce Bullying

By Erica Drexler, Deer Park (TX) Broadcaster, August 18, 2014

Frank Mulcahy discussed the issue of workforce bullying within organizations and the school system to the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week.

Mulcahy was the featured speaker at the luncheon and is a Business Development Director for the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI).

“Frank speaks to groups across America about the true costs of workplace bullying, he works with hospitals, schools and businesses on developing a culture on sincerity … when you hear the words bullying, you automatically think of the schoolyard and things that take place there, bullying in the schoolyard is something that’s still there,” said Tim Culp, President and CEO at Deer Park Chamber of Commerce.

Mulcahy has won awards for his talents as a sales professional, entrepreneur and a master presenter.

“So you know that when somebody comes to you with discrimination or harassment, we got ‘Title 7,’ we can protect against that, but bullying falls into a different category where there’s no protection, and as Tim said, it is in classrooms, I did go to Clemson to get certified so I could work with my school districts to help them to stop the bullying in classrooms and it was there that I recognized workplace bullying,” Mulcahy said.

He said that 35 percent of teachers admitted to bullying a student in a survey and 27 percent of individuals have dealt with bullying at their jobs.

“So it estimates that one out of four people are currently going through or have been bullied and the business is the one who paid the price, because 77 percent of the time the target, not the perpetrator, but the target ends up moving on to another position, so the business has to lose their best and their brightest people, because the best and the brightest are the ones that are targeted, everybody recognized bullying in the classroom, everybody, because we know that the kids are tyrants you know, but what we stop to realize as they grow up and unless you stop them from being bullies as children, they then come to the workplace with us with this new practiced set of skills and that’s when they become workplace (bullies), the bullying to me has been a source of my want to give back to the businesses,” Mulcahy said. “I feel personal about this, you know it’s my calling or my mission … because you know it gets a certain point in your life that you want to give back and the Lord’s been good to me.”

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August 19th, 2014

Integrity in Sport — Sports Bullying & New NCAA Rules: Sept. 11 Sports Law and Ethics Symposium at Santa Clara University

The fifth annual Sports Law and Ethics Symposium hosted by the Santa Clara University (CA) Institute of Sports Law and Ethics will cover trending issues like changes in the NCAA, bullying, match-fixing, steroid use, and the opening of the new San Francisco 49ers stadium.

The event will be held at Benson Memorial Center on SCU’s campus Sept. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This year’s Symposium will feature top speakers from the Bay Area and the nation, from morning keynote speaker and San Francisco 49ers President Paraag Marathe to featured lunchtime speaker, Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Among the topics to be discussed during the Symposium:

Bullying and a Culture of Performance: Positive Coaching Alliance CEO and founder Jim Thompson will lead a discussion with Dr. Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute and expert witness in the Jonathan Martin bullying case; Dr. William Pollack, Harvard Medical School associate clinical professor and author of Real Boys: Rescuing our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood; and Brandi Chastain, Olympic gold medal winner and member of World Cup champion U.S. soccer team.

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