Posts Tagged ‘abusive conduct’

City of Anchorage Alaska implements a Workplace Bullying Policy

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week-WBIOn October 19, 2015, during WBI Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz approved a new policy to combat bullying in the workplace. The policy aims to ensure that city employees are respected and treated with dignity while at work.

Berkowitz said that Anchorage does not have a significant bullying problem in work areas, but the issue does come up on rare occasions. He said the idea was first brought to him by city employees to propose a policy prohibiting all verbal abuse, humiliation or threatening behavior in the municipality’s workplaces.

The new policy went into effect Oct. 19. It is an expansion of existing anti-discrimination policies that comply with state and federal laws. The policy fails to address thorough procedures to ensure fair and credible resolution of reported incidents. However, it’s a start.

WBI congratulates Anchorage for taking this humane step to provide additional protections for City employees.

Read the policy.


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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Employers Doing Good, Good News, Media About Bullying | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

West Virginia cities proclaim Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week-WBIThe Workplace Bullying Institute thanks the following West Virginia cities for acknowledging Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week and the necessity of caring for those subjected to abusive conduct at work.

It’s a call to action for employers in those cities and the entire state.

St. Albans
Star City

Click to view the Proclamations.

West Virginia has a history of introducing the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. It has yet to be enacted into law.

The time has come. 2016 provides the state lawmakers a chance to show who they represent.


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Posted in Freedom Week, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Lutgen-Sandvik: Bullied at work? What to do

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Bullying in the workplace: How to recognize and address it
By Becky Parker, WDAZ-TV (Grand Forks, North Dakota), Oct. 22, 2015

Bullying is an issue people may think is reserved for the schoolyard, or even cyberspace.

But adult bullying in the workplace can have devastating effects on people’s lives.

One in 10 U.S. workers say they are being bullied at their jobs.

Forty-five-percent say they’ve been bullied at some point during their career, and another 25% say they’ve witnessed workplace bullying.

We spoke to North Dakota State University professor and researcher Pam Lutgen-Sandvik, who has been studying workplace bullying for nearly 15 years. [Note: Dr. Lutgen-Sandvik is a WBI friend & colleague; her research is featured prominently in the WBI training for professionals, Workplace Bullying University.]

She defines bullying as persistent, hostile, aggressive behavior that can be verbal or non-verbal.

Research shows adult bullying can lead to depression, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, PTSD and physical ailments.

It also increases the person’s stress levels and degrades their mental health by making them feel crazy, scared, and anxious.

“It also bleeds into families. When you’re bullied and abused at work you go home and sometimes there’s displaced aggression when you’re screaming at your family members, sort of that, ‘kick-the-dog’ kind of thing. We do know for sure it reduces people’s satisfaction with their personal lives,” says Lutgen-Sandvik.

Here’s what she says you should do if you are being bullied at work:

• Give it a name – define it as workplace bullying.
• Remember that it’s not your fault – bullies often make the victim feel crazy.
• Get some social support – like a counselor – as bullying can degrade your mental health.
• Take some time off from work to regroup and figure out how to address the problem.

“Trying to make sense of it and figure out what you’re going to do is really difficult when you’re in the environment and you’re constantly bombarded with this aggression and hostility. If it’s possible, take some time off of work so you can kind of get your bearings and figure out, ‘am I going to stay? If I’m not going to stay, what am I going to do here?'”

Many people in a bullying situation at work might want to fight back, but that can be risky.

Often, bullying situations at work involve an element of power. In the U.S., it’s usually a manager, but can also be a peer.

If you do choose to fight back, Lutgen-Sandvik says the best way is to talk to someone who has power over the bully.

Bring specific examples of bullying, have other co-workers to back you up, and have a clear goal in mind.

Lutgen-Sandvik says it is not a good idea to confront the bully directly.

“They will escalate the abuse worse than it ever was before, and drive the people out of the workplace because now they’ve become serious threats to the perpetrator. So, directly confronting the perpetrator, it’s really a very, I would say, dangerous thing to do.”


This is Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week and October is Bullying Prevention Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Readers may click-to-purchase Adult Bullying, Pam’s chronicle of her decade of research into workplace bullying, written in easy-to-understand prose.


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Posted in Bullying & Health, Bullying-Related Research, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying University | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

A look back at 2012 Freedom Week at the National Press Club: Tales from the Trenches

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Lana Cooke, West Virginia State Coordinator, Healthy Workplace Bill campaign

Ernie Cooke, Lana’s supportive husband, Requiescat in pace dear gentle man

Jane Bethel, Virginia State Coordinator, Healthy Workplace Bill campaign

Neil Dias, Verizon

Susan Rae Baker


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A look back at 2012 Freedom Week at the National Press Club: American Unions

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Gary Namie introduction

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry

NAGE: Nat’l President David Holway & VP Greg Sorozan

AFGE: Local President Charletta McNeill


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Posted in Freedom Week, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Unions, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Boston Globe: UMass Faculty Bullying

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Bullying of Faculty Alleged at UMass
By Laura Krantz, Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2015

Power struggle roils chemical engineering department

It began as minor personality clashes among professors, the type that can be common at any university. But what evolved at the University of Massachusetts Amherst chemical engineering department has proved far nastier.

Over three years, the dispute has turned into an ugly power struggle over an aggressive — one report said “bullying” — attempt by four members of the department to recruit others in a coup to oust their department head.

Documents and e-mails provided to the Globe paint a picture of the extended battle. Some involved in it describe screaming at faculty meetings, a rigged department election, vindictive annual reviews, and an attempt to block a professor from securing a full-time position.

Facts about who is ultimately to blame are harder to find. What is clear is that for the prestigious department in the state’s flagship public university, with its renowned faculty, millions in funding, and promising research, the imbroglio created a poisonous atmosphere that has disrupted the scientists’ work.

Beyond the department, it pulled in the faculty union and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, who called the situation “quite serious.”

On one side, professors accuse four colleagues of trying to bully other faculty into supporting a bid to undermine then-department head T.J. Mountziaris, who served for nine years.

On the other side, professors said Mountziaris, who lost his chairmanship last year and is on sabbatical, made life difficult for some faculty, going so far as to block one person’s attempt to shift to become a full-time professor.



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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Workplace Bullying May Increase Risk of Suicidal Thoughts

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Workplace Bullying May Increase Risk of Suicidal Thoughts
By Lisa Rapaport, Reuters News Service, Sept. 17, 2015

(Reuters Health) – Workers who are victims of bullying on the job may become more likely to contemplate suicide than people who don’t experience a hostile office environment, a Norwegian study suggests.

Researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of roughly 1850 workers and followed them from 2005 to 2010. While less than five percent of participants reported thoughts of suicide during the study period, they were about twice as likely to do so after being victims of workplace bullying.

“Our study adds to the understanding of how bullying is related to thoughts about suicide by showing that the perception of being bullied at work actually is a precursor of suicidal ideation and not a consequence,” said lead study author Morten Birkeland Nielsen of the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen.

At least 800,000 people worldwide take their own lives each year, making suicide a leading cause of death, Nielsen and colleagues write in the American Journal of Public Health.

Although psychiatric disorders are involved in the majority of suicide attempts, most people with mental health disorders don’t take their own lives, the researchers note.



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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Bullies at Weatherford College find support in Truth-averse 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Workplace bullying is endemic in healthcare and education, including higher education, for reasons discussed elsewhere at the WBI website.

Now comes a story of an inept community college administration, at Weatherford College, unwilling to even consider complaints from a long-time faculty member. Professor Karen Lopez Austen about the abusive conduct she faced in the Athletics Department.

The WBI 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey revealed that most employers deny complaints or justify them. In Austen’s case, they never considered the evidence she had assembled for the Board. An outsider can easily infer that the Administration, led by Kevin Eaton, had decided to not renew Dr. Austen’s contract, despite the legitimacy of her complaint.

So, as was her right, Dr. Austen filed a civil suit claiming sex and ethnicity discrimination along with retaliation for daring to hold the college accountable to operate lawfully and according to internal policies. She probably, like most bullied targets, especially highly educated individuals, expected to find justice in court. We constantly warn targets that justice is rarely found and almost never in court.

Remember, the college administrators refused to hear her complaint. The trial court judge did not allow Dr. Austen her day in court. Judges possess ultimate authority to grant access to their courts.

Judges have two avenues to end cases before they start — dismissal or summary judgement. Targets are typically plaintiffs who sue their employers, the defense. The defense files the motion to dismiss. Dismissal is based on technical details of the case that have not been addressed ensuring that the law cannot relieve the problem — e.g., “including lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, insufficiency of process, insufficiency of service of process, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or failure to join a necessary party.”

When the defense files a motion for summary judgement, it is saying that if the parties don’t dispute the material facts of the case, then the judge can determine whether the defendant is liable based simply on the pre-trial evidence assembled, if any exists. In the case Austen v. Weatherford College, there was no such agreement. The civil case was all about the disputed facts. The college said nothing happened. Dr. Austen said otherwise. Guess what. The judge in Federal District Court agreed with the college and threw out the case based on summary judgement.

In most cases, financially strapped terminated and unemployed targets go no further. But Dr. Austen filed an appeal with the federal Fifth Circuit. It was no surprise that the Appellate Court upheld (agreed with) the pro-administration ruling of summary judgement. Remember, no entity had yet considered the evidence that plaintiff Austen had put together to prove her complaint of discrimination.

Austen’s attorney, Mark Robinett, at the Austin Texas firm of Brim, Arnett & Robinett. P.C., was shocked by the 5th Circuit Court’s ruling of a 3-judge panel (Judges Smith, DeMoss and Higginson). What he found appalling was that his client’s evidence did not matter. In a general letter to the public, attorney Robinett wrote:

… the Court of Appeals held that her evidence did not matter, that she had failed to present a “prima facie” case or “rebut the legitimate reasons for termination (sic nonrenewal) offered by the college. The court also holds, as if it has some basis for making a fact finding (which is a “no-no” for an appellate court) that “(t)he six serious, documented instances of misconduct from the semester after the settlement agreement were the primary reasons for termination (sic nonrenewal).

Robinett, quoting the appellate court’s ruling stated

What matters is not the truth of the underlying complaints and reports, however, but rather whether the college could legitimately have relied on them in deciding to terminate Austen. The college could do so.

In fact, the college president, Eaton, mis-characterized Dr. Austen’s complaint to the Board. The Board never heard Austen’s perspective.

The injustices Austen faced was compounded by the 5th Circuit with its pro-institutional bias that claimed evidence did not matter. Robinett concluded that the court was doing a trial jury’s job without the benefit of live testimony or assessing the credibility of the Weatherford College administrators.

Read Attorney Robinett’s letter countering the assertion that Dr. Austen was not renewed for just reasons. She never got to tell her side of the story to an impartial court.

Read the ruling by the three judges that back legal scholarship and justice by decades.

Justice in America?


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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Related Phenomena, Rulings by Courts, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

Gary Namie on KFI-AM, Los Angeles with Bill Carroll

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

On July 27, WBI Director joined radio talk show host Bill Carroll on KFI-AM, Los Angeles heard throughout Southern California.


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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Media About Bullying, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Pennsylvania anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill makes 11 bills in 10 states in 2015

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Cohen, along with seven co-sponsors, introduced HB 1041 on April 21, 2015.

PA joins other states — Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and Minnesota — with versions of the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) that include employer liability for enabling a health-harming abusive work environment.

In 2015 alone 11 bills have been introduced in 10 states. Since 2003, 29 states and two territories have introduced some version of the HWB.

If you are a Pennsylvanian, go to the State Page for all contact information for lawmakers — co-sponsors and the key members of the House Labor and Industry Committee. Thank sponsors and encourage committee leaders to hold a public hearing for the bill, HB 1041.


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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | 6 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

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