US employers react to laws. The HWB will convince employers to prevent & correct health-harming abusive conduct. The WBI HWB campaign began in 2001. WBI State Coordinators create groups of Healthy Workplace Advocates to lobby legislators.
From June 1997 until the present, the Namies have led the first and only U.S. organization dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying that combines help for individuals via our websites & over 12,000 consultations, telephone coaching, conducting & popularizing scientific research, authoring books, producing education DVDs, leading training for professionals-unions-employers, coordinating national legislative advocacy, and providing consulting solutions for organizations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ACTION IS REQUIRED
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.