Posts Tagged ‘David Yamada’


Boston Globe: Dealing with bullies in the workplace

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Victims say the problem is tangled by workers’ fear of retribution, lack of legal protections, and concerns about what constitutes abusive behavior.

By Bella English – The Boston Globe – July 29, 2014

Carol Anne Geary is a veteran librarian who loved her profession and went back to school, while working, to earn a master’s degree in library science. But her passion turned into a nightmare when, she says, she was bullied on the job to such an extent that she was hospitalized with high blood pressure and other health issues.

Geary, who lives in Shrewsbury, was working at a library in another town where she says other staffers verbally abused and excluded her, spoke to library patrons about her in derogatory terms, and made disparaging remarks about gay issues, knowing that she has a gay son.

When Geary took a short leave, on her doctor’s orders, she was bombarded with phone calls, asking her why she couldn’t work from home. The truth was, she could hardly get out of bed. The library, she says, fought her workers’ compensation claim, and then fired her when she was too sick to return to work. “Workman’s comp — they understand if you hurt your leg on the job. But it’s almost impossible to prove that you’re sick because of bullying,” says Geary, who doesn’t want to identify the library because she fears her former co-workers. “We need to make the workplace safe and healthy.’’

In recent months, a spotlight has been turned on the issue of workplace bullying by some high-profile local cases, including Suffolk County Register of Probate Patricia Campatelli, who was suspended over allegations of punching a subordinate after a holiday party. A report by a court-appointed investigator said she “created a fearful atmosphere” in the office.

In July, Leslie Berlowitz resigned as head of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge following several accusations that included subjecting employees to frequent tirades, prompting some to quit in a matter of days or weeks. One former worker recalled that Berlowitz barred entry to the employee kitchen for weeks by posting yellow crime scene tape over the doorway because a worker left a dirty spoon in the sink.

Research suggests that the problem is widespread, with as many as one in four workers saying they have been subjected to abusive conduct on the job. And state legislators are considering a bill to combat it.

Given the apparent scope of the problem, why does it remain so shrouded?
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Healthy Workplace Bill legislation: A 2014 perspective on distorted amendments

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Healthy Workplace Campaign is WBI’s effort to enact anti-bullying legislation for the American workplace state by state. The model bill is called the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB).


Features of the HWB

• Suffolk University Law Professor David C. Yamada, text author, used federal Title VII Civil Rights laws as basis

• Defines severe abusive conduct — does not use term workplace bullying

• Provides legal redress for anyone subjected to abusive conduct, whether or not the person is a member of a protected status group

• Requires that abusive conduct result in either demonstrable health or economic harm to plaintiff

• Plaintiffs who file lawsuits make public formerly hidden, confidential employer processes that hide and deny bullying

• Prohibits retaliation against any participant in procedures involved in dealing with the abusive conduct complaint

• Requires plaintiffs to hire private attorneys, no fiscal impact on state government

• Provides incentives (affirmative defenses) for employers who implement genuine corrective procedures

• Preserves managerial prerogative to discipline and terminate employees

• Does not interfere with state workers’ compensation laws or union CBAs

We named the HWB in 2002. All other uses of the name HWB are unauthorized by us. California first introduced the HWB in 2003. It has been carried in over half of states and two territories since. The Workplace Bullying Institute trains and provides support to a national network of volunteer Sate Coordinators who lobby their respective state legislators to sponsor the HWB. You can track its status at the HWB website.

Botched Amendments & Unanticipated Consequences

As authors of the HWB, we naturally want the full and original version of the bill enacted into law. And we realize compromises will be made during the process. It is “sausage making,” after all. We just wish all bill sponsors would refuse to allow major revisions that change the spirit of the bill from protecting abused workers to something else. Since the HWB was first introduced, different amendments have been proposed or made.

Often the well-intended sponsor, a pro-worker advocate, agrees to compromise adopting the belief that the law can be built in steps. Let’s get this version passed now and it will be revisited in the coming years and supplemented with the other desired provisions.

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NPR: Workplace bullying and the Healthy Workplace Bill

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

States Consider Bills To Crack Down On Workplace Bullies
By Yuki Noguchi, National Public Radio (NPR), May 27, 2014

Listen to the NPR audio segment

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Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they’ve experienced abusive conduct at work.

Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.

Lisa-Marie Mulkern says her boss — the commandant of a retirement home for veterans in New Hampshire — turned on her after she expressed concerns about what she calls wasteful financial management. Mulkern was working as a public-relations manager and fundraiser at the home.

“Even though residents and their families had nothing but praise for my work, and the home’s publicity continued to increase, the commandant started to make my work situation a living hell,” she says.

Mulkern says she was repeatedly excluded from meetings and denied credit for her work and access to critical information. Colleagues took notice but treated her like she was contagious. “And I was told point blank, ‘You’re on your own with that one, Lisa-Marie,’ ” she says.

Mulkern says she lost weight and sleep from the stress.

“I didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking on me. I was the public face of the home, and I was trying to look the part of the PR person and not let people know that personally, I was being pummeled at work,” she says.

In 2006, after four years working at the retirement home, Mulkern tangled with her boss over a bad evaluation, and lost her job. The current commandant of the home declined to discuss Mulkern’s case, citing state privacy laws. But Mulkern has since testified several times before the New Hampshire legislature, which is one of 15 states, including, and,that are considering bills giving legal protection to workers harmed in abusive work environments.

(more…)

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Announcing the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing and Abuse

The Workplace Bullying Institute and the New Workplace Institute are happy to announce the launch of a joint initiative, the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse, which will support and promote the multi-disciplinary work of leading and emerging educators, researchers, practitioners, writers, and advocates who are dedicated to understanding, preventing, stopping, and responding to workplace bullying and related forms of interpersonal mistreatment.

“For over a year, we’ve been contemplating how to bring together an American network of leading and emerging experts on workplace bullying and related topics. The Academy is our conduit for doing so. We look forward to highlighting the good works of these incredible people,” says David Yamada, Suffolk University law professor and New Workplace Institute director.

The Academy has over 50 Fellows including leading psychological researchers, physicians, attorneys, occupational health experts, professors of management, nursing, and communications, counselors, union trainers, military leaders, advocates, and consultants. The complete list of Fellows can be seen at workplacebullyingacademy.com.

“When we started WBI there was one trade unionist and a couple of academic researchers with the courage to focus on workplace bullying. Since then the field exploded exponentially,” says Gary Namie, PhD, Co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, established in 1997. “We recognize the universality of these destructive behaviors, and this network focuses on the unique challenges posed by American employee relations, mental health, and legal systems.”

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Good News, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Products & Services, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



WBI Podcast: David Yamada

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Another piece of older audio from a radio program featuring Dr. Namie. Law Professor David Yamada joins the podcast with a history lesson to share. The topic is the origins of employment law in the U.S. that governs the workplace. Unfortunately, the relationship between Master and Servant is the starting point. And not much has changed since. The question for Prof. Yamada is whether assurances of dignity and equality for workers is possible given current laws. Yamada is the author of the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.

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Professor David Yamada on Greater Boston-TV

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Hear opponents of our anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, then supporters, including Suffolk University Law Professor, WBI Affiliate and HWB author, David Yamada.

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Gazette: When it comes to workplace bullying, employees have limited options

Monday, January 27th, 2014

The (Eastern Iowa) Gazette, Jan. 26, 2014

Greater awareness helps in coping with the problem — but some companies ignore it

The thing about work place bullying is, it’s been there all along.

What’s different today is that it is wrong, and we know it.

At a time when solutions to bullying among school-aged students is being heavily discussed on a national scale, some say the name-calling, humiliation and intimidation that comes along with bullying has become a silent epidemic throughout America’s work force.

And because workplace bullying — which the Workplace Bullying Institute defines as repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators — is not illegal in any of the 50 states, those affected often have few options available when it occurs.

According to a 2012 Career Builder Survey, 35 percent of workers said they have felt bullied at work, and 17 percent decided to quit their jobs because of the situation. The survey was conducted on online by market research company Harris Interactive and included 3,892 full-time, not self-employed, non-government workers over the age of 18.

Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, based in Bellingham, Wash., said the issue gets worse when fewer jobs are available, providing a person who feels they are experiencing the bullying with fewer escape routes.

“Its always been there, it’s just a matter of considering it wrong,” Namie said. “What’s new is that it’s wrong, because it is all too often considered routine.

“Management wants you to think this is a routine managerial prerogative, not a problem, and it need not be.”

Namie and his wife, Ruth, founded the Workplace Bulling Institute in 1997 after Ruth experienced bullying at her own job. Now, the group blogs on the topic, runs studies on workplace bullying and is working to get a Healthy Workplace Bill passed to help fix the problem and help raise awareness.
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Workforce: Bullying, bigotry and a bill

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Bullying, Bigotry and a Bill to Prevent Picking on All Personnel
by Frank Kalman, Workforce, Jan. 5, 2014

Unless bullying involves discrimination, it’s mostly legal to be a jerk at work. Some are trying to change that.

Culture is a powerful force, especially in the workplace.

In the right setting, high-stress, high-profile workplaces such as hospitals, law enforcement offices and professional sports teams can promote a culture of camaraderie and teamwork while producing positive results. However, big egos also can quickly reign supreme, leaving an environment ripe for intimidation and bullying. With no laws specifically preventing workplace bullying — unless the conduct involves discrimination — it’s legal to be a jerk at work, experts say.

Workplace culture likely played a role in a recent high-profile bullying case that became national news with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins. In midseason, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin unexpectedly left the Dolphins saying he was being harassed by teammates, including fellow lineman Richie Incognito.

(more…)

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Cobb: Workplace Bullying: USA Versus Much of the World

Monday, November 25th, 2013

By Ellen Pinkos Cobb, Isoceles Group, Nov. 18, 2013

With alleged harassment on the Miami Dolphins football team, there is increased discussion of workplace bullying. It’s about time. The United States lags behind many countries in this area.

As a start: think about sexual harassment. It’s not done. And yet, it was done, flagrantly, constantly, with a wink and a nod, until not that long ago. It still happens, but less, and public perception has changed. In the United States, workplace bullying has been found to be four times more prevalent than sexual harassment.

A 2010 Zogby International survey of adult Americans (commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute) showed that 35% reported personally being bullied at work. Of the respondents, 64% supported having laws to protect workers from “malicious, health-harming abusive conduct” committed by bosses and co-workers.

Despite these findings, an employee can still be a target of bullying in the workplace in the US and have no legal recourse. State and federal laws do not cover acts of harassment unless based on characteristics covered by law, such as race, religion, gender, or disability. Numerous states have introduced anti-bullying legislation drafted by Suffolk Law School Professor David Yamada. None have been enacted. Yet.

The US would do well to look around the world. Numerous countries have legislation to protect workers from bullying. Canada, Australia, and nine European countries have enacted anti-bullying laws, including Sweden, France, and Denmark, and Serbia. As of January 1, 2014, an Australian worker who believes he or she has been bullied may apply to the Fair Work Commission for an investigation and if cause is found, have an order issued to the employer to stop the bullying.

Costs to workplaces in which bullying is allowed to occur include loss of skill and experience when a worker leaves due to being bullied, lowered employee morale, medical and insurance costs, and harm to a company’s reputation. Research has shown that workers who witness bullying can have a stronger urge to quit than those who experience it firsthand.

Under workplace health and safety laws, employers have a duty of care to provide a safe work environment for employees. This requirement is often interpreted to require ensuring persons in the workplace are both mentally and physically safe at work and increasingly interpreted to require a workplace free from bullying.

It is time for public perception on workplace bullying to change. Maybe, with attention focused on the complexities of the Dolphins situation, it will.

Ellen Pinkos Cobb, Esq.is Senior Regulatory & Legal Analyst for the The Isosceles Group.

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Follow the full NFL story in the Category list in the sidebar: NFL: Jonathan Martin

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, NFL: Jonathan Martin, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI in the News | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



Yamada: Masters & Servants

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

WBI’s colleague, Professor David Yamada of Suffolk University and author of the Healthy Workplace Bill, just published a great piece about the roots of American employment law.

Here’s a link to the Minding the Workplace blog article.

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