Posts Tagged ‘abusive conduct’


Trump Effect on U.S. Workplace Relationships: WBI U.S. Survey

Monday, June 26th, 2017

2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey: Trump Toxicity


46% believe the brutish 2016 election campaigns negatively impacted the workplace

The U.S. is unique among nations in the world when it comes to electing its political leaders. Candidates for the highest office, the President, spend nearly two years campaigning for the four-year post. The run-up to the election of November 2016 for President and members of Congress began in 2015. Media coverage was amplified by three major cable networks devoted nearly entirely to political campaigning. The role of social media online also drove the themes during the seemingly endless two years.

The saturation coverage magnified flaws in candidates. There was an unprecedented amount of rancor among candidates on the Republican side. Veteran Republican candidates seemed to coalesce into an anti-Trump coalition. Over the two years, Donald Trump showed a willingness to behave in a non-normative manner. There were several episodes during which his personal vulgarity was exposed. However, he paid no political penalty for these foibles. His shortcomings, read by most as evidence of bullying with a narcissistic flair, encouraged his supporters.

Pundits and commenters lamented the coarsening of political campaigns. Before the election, with nearly two years exposure to bullying and disrespect exhibited at the highest level, school bullying researchers noted the increase in aggression among school age children.

Ultimately, Trump was rewarded, not sanctioned, for his conduct. He had modeled bullying and given license for others to forego norms of interpersonal civility and kindness.

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.

This survey question asked the entire sample [N = 1,008] to opine about whether the American workplace had been influenced by the two-year bombardment of bullying messages manifested during the long electoral campaign.

Wording of the Question: How did the presidential and congressional elections of 2016 affect relationships in American workplaces?


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Women Still Majority Targets of Abusive Conduct at Work: WBI U.S. Survey

Monday, June 26th, 2017

2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey: Gender & Race


Women are 66% of the targets of abusive conduct at work
Men are 70% of the perpetrator
Hispanics & African-Americans bear the brunt of bullying

GENDER

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. At work, what has been your personal experience with the following types of repeated mistreatment: abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or verbal abuse?

Wording of the Gender Question: Think of the perpetrator and target of repeated abusive mistreatment at work. What was the gender of each?


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2017 WBI US Survey: Infographic of major workplace bullying findings

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Infographic for 2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey



Click on this link to view the 2017 WBI Survey Infographic

Download the Infographic in pdf format

Report Sections

You can download the COMPLETE REPORT here.

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WBI U.S. Survey: National Prevalence, 60.3 Million Workers Affected by Workplace Bullying

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey


19% of Americans suffered abusive conduct at work
another 19% have witnessed it
63% are aware that workplace bullying happens

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.

Wording of the Prevalence Question: At work, what has been your personal experience with the following types of repeated mistreatment: abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or verbal abuse? [Response choices are non-italicized phrases in the Table below.]

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Biz Insurance: Awareness of Workplace Bullying ‘Epidemic’ Grows

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Awareness of Workplace Bullying ‘Epidemic’ Grows
By Rob Lenihan, Business Insurance, June 20, 2017

Workplace bullying has reached “epidemic level,” according to a new study, and legal analysts are advising companies to take heed.

The San Francisco-based Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2017 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, released earlier this month, estimated that 30 million American workers have been, or are now being, bullied at work, while another 30 million have witnessed it.

“These proportions are epidemic-level,” the report said. “The number of U.S. workers who are affected by bullying — summing over those with direct bullying and witnessing experiences — is 60.3 million, the combined population of six Western states.”

Unchecked, the repercussions of workplace bullying can result in absenteeism, low morale, high turnover, reputational damage and lawsuits, experts say.

Defining workplace bullying can be challenging, but Gary Namie, the institute’s director, described it as “a form of workplace violence.”

“It is, by our definition, repeated health-harming mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees,” Mr. Namie said. “It’s abusive conduct that takes the form of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation or workplace sabotage or work interference.”

Peter Dean, president of Leaders By Design at executive consultancy Leaders Edge in Philadelphia and co-author of “The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath,” said workplace bullying goes beyond someone “just losing their temper or their impulse control for a time.”

“It’s not a one-off,” Mr. Dean said. “It is a targeted attention to one person that is very negative and meant to demean and belittle and degrade that person’s self-esteem.”

And bullying begets more bullying, Mr. Dean added.

“You have one bully getting away with being a bully and it starts to spread in an organization,” he said. “People start to think two things: No. 1, it’s OK to bully here; and No. 2, there’s no way to fight it because it’s accepted.”

The 2007 study said antidiscrimination laws apply in only 20% of bullying cases do. In order to claim sexual harassment, racial discrimination or hostile work environment, the report said, the victim must be a member of a protected status group. Mr. Namie said the Healthy Workplace Bill — which among other things, precisely defines an “abusive work environment” and requires proof of health harm by licensed health or mental health professionals — has been introduced in 30 states and two territories, but has yet to be enacted.
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HR put in its place – the “KGB”

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

We recently received the following note here at WBI. Writer’s words are in bold.

I feel like your website is extremely one sided. I came to it because an HR colleague referred me to it however she warned me the site was negative, anti-HR and anti-employer and she is correct.

We are not anti-employer. We are anti-abuse. When an employer abuses as general operating procedures or treats the rare complaint about abuse with indifference, then we oppose that particular employer. We have consulted and helped organizations since 1985, long before our 20 years in workplace bullying began. And we continue helping employers who give a damn about their employees. See here how we help. In court, I even help defend employers who wisely terminated abusers. We like good employers. Hate bad ones, don’t you?

Why did you come to visit us in the first place?

You pretty much tell the person they are being abused and the company will fire you.

We describe the predictable pattern that bullying follows. The sad experience mirrors what battered spouses go through. Do we make targets out of site visitors? No, 97% of site visitors come to us self-diagnosed as victims of workplace bullying. We simply report what over 12,000 targets have told us to bolster the mental health of visitors and inquiring family members. Admittedly, we have heard descriptions of two (2) heroic HR folks from all of those anecdotal tales. You are correct, HR is not all bad. In fact, several progressive, compassionate and thoughtful HR practitioners have attended the WBI Workplace Bullying University training for professionals and left with an in-depth knowledge of the phenomenon.

However, WBI research, based on polling individuals who suffer the mistreatment and not your guess about what outcomes are, shows that once targeted bullied workers face a 77% chance of losing their jobs. Read the study results here. And there is international research showing that bullies do not lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2016) Do the bullies survive? A five-year, three-wave prospective study of indicators of expulsion in working life among perpetrators of workplace bullying. Industrial Health, 54, 68-73.) Targets do lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2015) Take it or leave: A five-year, three-wave prospective study of workplace bullying and indicators of expulsion in working life. Industrial Health, 53, 160-170.).

In another study, we specifically asked what happened to people after they reported the bullying incidents to HR. Doing so proves to be a mistake. It seems, according to the one group who would know how and if HR helped them — individuals targeted for bullying — they were either retaliated against, lost their job, or ignored. On the plus side, nearly 2% of respondents said HR did help. Read the study results here.

This has not been my experience in the business world, nor many of our colleagues.

Those of us in the trenches in the war against workplace abusive conduct tend to share a common wisdom about HR. Colleague and friend Law Professor David Yamada (who is much more diplomatic than I, being careful to never offend unlike me) wrote recently in his blog, Minding the Workplace, that he hears reports such as “HR was useless,” “HR threw me under the bus,” and “HR protected the bullies.” He added, “in the worst instances, HR has actively furthered, supported, and enabled the abuse.”

And dear HR professional, in case you think it is only WBI-affiliated persons who hold such negative perceptions of HR, read on.

From the headlines, you may have heard about the costly corporate liability faced by Fox News for sustaining Bill O’Reilly’s employment. Fox or O’Reilly has paid $13 million in settlements to five of his accusers. One accuser of Roger Ailes won a $20 million settlement.

A central tenet in the Fox defense is that accusers of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes never filed complaints with Fox Human Resources or called the company hotline.

Here comes attorney Nancy Erika Smith who represented Gretchen Carlson in her harassment lawsuit and now represents Julie Roginsky against Fox and Roger Ailes.

Smith was asked on CNN about the Fox defense. Some women at Fox News have said they are afraid the line is being monitored. Smith said calling the hotline is a good idea “only if you think it would be good to call the KGB to complain about Putin.” “HR is not your friend. HR will not help you,” Smith said.

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Jessi Eden Brown, WBI Coach for Bullied Targets Featured in Counseling Today magazine

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The cover story of Counseling Today magazine is about bullying. A significant portion of that article, written by Laurie Meyers, features an interview with WBI’s telephone coach for bullied targets, Jessi Eden Brown. Jessi maintains a private practice in Seattle in addition to continuing to provide coaching for targets who seek her advice after discovering her services posted at this WBI website.

Jessi is the most expert advisor to targeted individuals in the U.S. Her fees are inexpensive and worth every penny. Time precludes offering free advice, so please don’t insult her and ask. [Neither can WBI offer free advice by phone as it did for 18 years.] Here is Jessi’s information page.

An excerpt from

Fertile Grounds for Bullying
Counseling Today, April 21, 2016
By Laurie Meyers

Bullying isn’t confined to childhood or adolescence. Adults can experience bullying too, particularly in the workplace. Bullying in the workplace involves less obvious behavior than does school bullying and can be almost intangible, says Jessi Eden Brown, a licensed professional counselor and licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in Seattle.

“Bullying in the workplace is a form of psychological violence,” says Brown, who also coaches targets of workplace bullying through the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), an organization that studies and attempts to prevent abusive conduct at work. “Although popular media theatrically portray the workplace bully as a volatile, verbally abusive jerk, in actuality, the behaviors tend to be more subtle, insidious and persistent.”

Instead of shoving and name-calling, Brown says, workplace bullying includes behavior such as:

– Stealing credit for others’ work
– Assigning undue blame
– Using public and humiliating criticism
– Threatening job loss or punishment
– Denying access to critical resources
– Applying unrealistic workloads or deadlines
– Engaging in destructive rumors and gossip
– Endeavoring to turn others against a person
– Making deliberate attempts to sabotage someone’s work or professional reputation

“It’s the fact that these behaviors are repeated again and again that makes them so damaging for the target,” she explains. “The cumulative effects and prolonged exposure to stress exact a staggering toll on the overall health of the bullied individual.”

What’s more, those bullied in the workplace often stand alone, Brown notes. “While the motivating factors may be similar between workplace bullying and childhood bullying, the consequences for the bully and the target are unmistakably different,” she says. “In childhood bullying, the institution — the school — stands firmly and publicly against the abuse. Teachers, staff, students and administrators are thoroughly trained on how to recognize and address the behavior. Students are given safe avenues for reporting bullying. Identified bullies are confronted by figures of authority and influence — teachers, administrators, groups of peers, parents. When the system works as intended, there are consequences for the bully, as well as resources and support for the target.”
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2016 WA State activity: WBI Healthy Workplace Bill

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Eleven Washington State House Representatives have sponsored the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (HB 2894). Another 11 state Senators of both parties are sponsoring the Senate companion bill (SB 6532). The HWB defines health-harming abusive conduct and makes it unlawful for employers to allow it to happen.

This marks the return of the legislation to Washington, absent since 2012. Washington was the 4th state to ever introduce the legislation.

If you live in the state, please visit the WA State Page at the Healthy Workplace Bill website. Contact information for all bill sponsors and committee members can be found there. You can also volunteer to testify or help the State Coordinator get the bill through committees and floor votes in a very short legislative session.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Attorney Bullies

Friday, November 27th, 2015


Seek advice for your dilemma. Write to Kalola.

Dear Kalola:

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.

West Coast Worker
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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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