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 10,000 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. We proudly helped create the U.S. Academy of Workplace Bullying, Mobbing & Abuse.
Julian Troiano and Tayo Jacob, from Toronto, wrote a lovely song with rich vocal harmonies that evoke a profound spiritual experience. Only veteran bullied targets know the pain they are made to involuntarily bear. It is captured in this song.
I’ve pulled a comment posted to the suicide research post. It shows how quickly life can spiral down for an otherwise competent nurse. Some many to blame, including her family.
In her own words …
I’m an RN, I resigned unwillingly Sept.18 from the Veterans Affair. Its difficult for me to determine if I was experiencing bullying, harassment and or discrimination but the end result an attempt to end my life July, 30th, 2015, spending 12 days in the hospital.
I was diagnosed with PTSD and medicated for nightmares while hospitalized. I’m or I was a well functioning Bipolar II. I endured (from a newly arrived nurse manager, moreover the was not my manager) bullying/harassment for 14 months,mid Jan 2014-Mar 2015 and on March 26th 2015 – June 17th she and another official came at me with a vengeance. On June 16th 2015, around 4:30 pm after entering human resources and reading false accusations, a co-worker’s description of me and a sticky on top of the charges “AL, can we ask for fitness of duty, reprimand or suspension” (I had no write-ups prior to these false charges) I started crying, I was devastated, shocked.
I have no memory of leaving the HR office, driving into work the next morning, my next memory was approx. 12:45-2:30 pm my work schedule 8-8pm. Instead of management or co-workers looking for me or being concerned, they accused me for patient abandonment from 12n-2pm and escorted me off the unit.
On July 20th after reading the fact findings of the charges against me, I called my EAP counselor, because I knew she could clear my name. I whaled as I heard her tell me, “xxxx, you called at 11am. again at 12n.” There are no words to describe what I was feeling, I paced, cried, cried, could not eat, sleep and on the July 30th, I gave up. The pain, fear, was unbearable.
On the day of discharge from the hospital, I was in group and my counselor states “Well xxxx, you’ve got some family issues to work on.” I had no idea what he was talking about. The counselor said my brother had called asking them to block my mom’s number and to stop allowing me to use the phone (day 4 of admit), my brother accused me of verbal abuse on my mom!!!! I do not remember doing this, my nurse then informs me, on the day if my discharge, says, after 5 days of admission I ask the nurse “how can you give me medication if you don’t know me.” The nurse acknowledged my concerns of memory loss.
I can’t believe or comprehend these unfathomable events, I’m lost. How can this all be happening. I suffered/suffer fear, anxiety, terror, pain, uselessness, worthlessness, impending doom, shame and guilt!!!!!!. My livelihood was taken from me.
I’m in the first stage of foreclose of my home, I can’t find a job due to, no reference, attempting suicide. I live in severe fear so much so, I tie ropes from one door handle to the other so no one can come through the other bedrooms , I then wind the rope around my bed post as a brace to each bathroom doors, finally I tie off the double doors to my bedroom. I literally have to go under the rope to get in bed.
HOW IN GOD’S NAME CAN ONE WOMAN HAVE THIS MUCH POWER. This woman was able to turn my co-workers of 8 years from me, I was shunned daily, I don’t know what this woman said to the other official because she and I were friends prior to March 26th 2015 but she came at me with such rage. My life I had and who I was, has disappeared. I’m numb, I live in disbelief and there are times I want to give up, there are times
I’m afraid I may hurt myself, but do it right this time, my heart is broken, I’m broken. I can’t be treated for the PTSD, no insurance. HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING, I DON’T UNDERSTAND?!!!
While in the hospital my sister came into my house and took what she wanted and made a huge mess and drove my car wherever she wanted, I’ve sold everything in my house except my bedroom and tv, my brother stole $500, After being released from the hospital Aug.12, my brother has come to see me twice, my dad has not called nor come to see me. I’ve left my house only twice. I’VE BEEN TREATED LIKE TRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Designed for professionals in Healthcare, Mental Health, Counseling, Management, Higher Education, HR, Training, Consulting, and those in life & career transition.
Past graduates have said …
“Like that infernal whack-a-mole game in carnivals, bullies keep popping up in our organizations. Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie have blown the cover of off this game to show us exactly how bullying works, its devastating effects on employees and the negative impact it has to the bottom line. The Workplace Bullying Institute University program has given me the tools to protect our employees from bullying and to permanently disconnect the bully’s power source. Definitely the most value-added program to organizational development I have attended in my 30-plus years in the business.”-Greg H.
“I acquired a treasure trove of historical and current data on the subject, and detailed explanation of every term and dataset along with a substantial amount of supporting material for use in future presentations of my own. This is the first time in my 17 years as a professional that I attended training and walked away with a turn-key program. I highly recommend this program to any professional who wants to be on the leading edge of preventing, training, and correcting one of the leading detractors to workplace health and productivity.”-D.I.G.
“I came away with an in-depth perspective that permeated my being. I received more information in 3 days than in the previous 2 years of research. Gary and Ruth Namie bring a perspective to organizational culture, leadership, and HR that can only be derived from personal experience coupled with scholarly research and study.”-Richard H.
“This is more than a course, a class, or a training. It is truly an experience. I have been in HR for 20 years and I can tell you that attending WBU was one of the most fulfilling and gratifying experiences of my life. It even motivated me to seek my PhD and to write my dissertation on workplace bullying.”-Nathalie D.
“This is the best training I have attended in my 22 years of being a union advocate.” -Judy C.
I was a legal assistant with a well-respected legal organization for a little over four years. The bullying occurred primarily in the last three years and very intensively in the lastnine months. I was let go during the summer.
I was treated by the lead attorney and staff attorneys as if I was inferior. Although everyone in that office made mistakes, mine were the only mistakes that were brought to light. Each small mistake was blown into a huge mistake and was used to threaten my job. Sometimes I found out I wasn’t even the one who made the mistake.
My co-workerswere very clique-ish and juvenile. There were many whispered conversations behind closed doors. I was definitely not included in that clique and was isolated psychologically and physically. I was told not to talk about my family, while everyone else in the office was free to talk at length about theirs.
I was treated rudely by the supervisor and all my co-workers (five total). They told me I asked too many questions. I have worked in the legal field for over 18 years and have never worked with any attorneys who did not want to communicate with their support staff. Also, I was asking questions because the tasks were often poorly written, hard to understand, and incomplete. They refused to look at my Outlook tasks to see how my workload was before they assigned a large task claiming that they were too busy.
In the end, I believe that two of the attorneys were trying to get me to lose my temper and/or quit my job. One would assign me tasks, complete them herself, and then “forget” to tell me, wasting a lot of my time while I was already under pressure. Another would show up in my office several times a day and chastise me for some small error (that I may or may not have made) or yell at me for some small problem and then turn on her heel and leave my office before I could respond. I was treated differently in that it was a huge deal if I used any vacation or sick leave, while everyone else in the office called in sick leave weekly for any little ailment and were often paid for hours they were not actually working. I think this was behind the bullying. I got the feeling they thought I was going to expose them, which I had not planned to do.
I tried to talk about the problems I was having with the supervisor, but eventually stopped when the conclusion to each conversation was everything ended up as my fault. I was thinking about going to the HR department when I was terminated. I was also starting to think about looking for another job. The official reason was that I “made too many mistakes”. When I asked what those mistakes were, I was told “I don’t want to argue with you.”
The termination was very cold and impersonal. A few days later I received a termination letter (with typos) that still did not tell me what these mistakes were. To this day I do not know what these mistakes were, how they effected the office or client, or even find out if I did make the mistake.
My termination came as a huge shock to me. Although I was unhappy, I thought if I just did my best they couldn’t get rid of me. And I needed the income. The first few weeks after being terminated were really rough mentally and physically. I isolated myself in self-doubt and depression. In the first few days I called the crisis line but there was only so much they could do. I was smoking way too much and having trouble eating. I’ve lost about 15 pounds. My stress level made it hard to sleep and I’ve increased my over the counter sleep aid. I was terrified at first to interview because of my damaged self-confidence and trying to figure out how to tactfully tell potential employers “why” I lost my last job. I’ve used the resources at Worksource to get some questions answered and help brush up on my job search skills.
I see now that I was much more stressed and angry in my last job than I thought. I’m nicer now to family, friends, and strangers hat I know I am not bullied anymore. I spent the last three years being short-tempered after a long day of being treated rudely and walking on egg shells. I know my family and friends can see a difference in me now that I’m getting back on my feet.
I believe I lost my job due to office bullying. I never believed in the term before, but I now know how real and damaging it is. If I would have done anything different, it would to realize that office bullying does exist and acted differently (document abuse situations, look for a new job). Thanks to the support of family and friends, I’m doing better. Instead of waking up each morning in terror of “what am I going to do?” I wake up grateful that I’m not a target anymore. I haven’t landed on a new job yet, but I have lots of good experience, a lot of job applications out there, apply for everything I can and have been on several interviews. In fact while writing this I received an email scheduling a promising interview tomorrow morning. I know I have the chance to work in a happier, more respectful work environment. I deserve to be happy again.
If I could say anything to another abused worker, it would be to realize office bullying is real. Research it and be prepared to deal
with it if it happens to you. If it ends with a brutal termination, as it did with me, give yourself a little time to take care of yourself. Eat, breathe, sleep, and understand how important the healing process is. Reach out to friends and family, but realize not everyone will be able to be there all the time. Don’t get stuck – get moving on your job hunt and build back your confidence. The best revenge is to move on to something better with your head held high.
I was impressed to find the Workplace Bullying Institute website. It gave me hope that I’m not crazy and this problem truly exists. I am excited to see that there is an interest in proposing legislation that will address this problem. Targets should have some recourse in office bullying.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
– Emma Lazarus, American poet born to Portuguese immigrants, her 1883 sonnet The New Colossus
Here in America, employers claim that loyal, engaged, hard-working employees have disappeared or are extremely rare. Work, like many social functions operates on the notion of an implicit contract between the parties. In exchange for compensation, workers lend their talent to employers. Employers, in turn, have the exclusive right to optimize profit from the relationship. The deal should be a mutually beneficial one to both sides.
History shows that contempt for workers was common in the bad old days.
Legal documents show the policy on workplace bullying arrives nearly 2.5 years after three elementary school teachers and one staff member settled a lawsuit against their school principal.
“I think it’s just a way to help address the way, how we are creating the best workplace possible for our employees,” said Board member Christopher Barclay.
Barclay said the regulations will determine how Montgomery County Public Schools staff will address bullying.
“The policy is going to be the aspiration,” he said. “It’s going to be the regulation that will matter in terms of what ultimately will be the practice, and we have to see what systems are put in place.”
CareerSource Employee Says She Was Bullied for Being Pregnant
By Jess Swanson, Miami New Times,Oct. 26, 2015
Aylen Hidalgo says her supervisor has always been a stickler for clocking in on time and not leaving her desk or making personal calls. As a result, her job in finance at CareerSource South Florida, a county agency with a $70 million budget to help job seekers, has always been stressful.
But she says it got even worse last December when she told that supervisor, Christine Garcia, that she was pregnant. Instead of supporting her, Hidalgo says Garcia wrote her up, docked time from her vacation leave, and gave her negative evaluations.
“I’d tell her that I was not feeling good — throwing up and with nausea — but she didn’t care,” she says. “I was scared that she’d come and see that I wasn’t at my desk and have a fit.”
Hidalgo’s allegations — which are the subject of an ongoing county investigation — are the latest claims of employee mistreatment at CareerSource. A federal investigation recently found that its executive director, Roderick “Rick” Beasley, discriminates against female employees. Hidalgo thinks Beasley is to blame for fostering workplace bullying.
“I was under a lot of stress, and I believe that every problem that happened during my pregnancy was caused by stress from working at CareerSource,” Hidalgo says. “Beasley thinks he’s God on Earth and the supervisors can do whatever they want — good or bad.”
Neither Garcia nor Beasley responded to New Times’ messages seeking comment on Hidalgo’s claims. County spokesperson Michael Hernandez also declined to comment.
Hidalgo, who has worked at CareerSource for a decade, says her pregnancy immediately marked her for unfair treatment. When morning sickness forced her to come in late, the time was subtracted from her vacation. Her regular bathroom trips led to abuse from Garcia, she says.
It got so bad that in March, Hidalgo, then six months pregnant, filed a complaint against Garcia with the Office of Fair Employment Practices. The office confirms it’s still investigating her complaint, but Hidalgo is doubtful it will bear fruit. In the seven months since she filed the complaint, neither she nor any witnesses she listed have been interviewed. At least four other employees who have filed similar complaints against Beasley have been unsuccessful as well.
Though at WBI we focus exclusively on adults bullying one another in the workplace, there are lessons to be derived from attempts to stop schoolage bullying. A wonderful experiment exposed adults at a bus stop (probably in S.F. based on signage) to two girls tormenting a third girl. Note how adults intervene and some remove the bullied girl from the others for safety. If only adults would do the same to help their tormented colleagues at work. Of course, adults at a bus stop face no risk intervening with younger people. Wonder if the result would be the same if the kids were all boys and of high school age (who might be carrying a gun in their backpack), or boys of color?????