Posts Tagged ‘education’


Training in workplace bullying/abusive conduct is necessary but not sufficient

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

In 2015, California law mandates that supervisors in all firms with 50 or more employees receive “training” in abusive conduct. The term “abusive conduct” was lifted from the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill language we have been using since 2003 to introduce and pass a comprehensive law against workplace bullying.

Training done right can overcome deficits in skills. Training is the wrong tool to reverse immoral conduct. But training is useful to make everyone aware that misconduct is happening.

Training backfires when it teaches there is a problem and the organization has no procedures in place to deal with the misconduct. It’s clear that only a small (5.5%) of American employers have the will to actually prevent or correct health-harming abusive conduct. No effective state laws have yet been enacted to compel employer compliance. So, few have good policies. Even fewer have the voluntary desire to stop it. No laws; no policies; lazy employers.

When supervisors get trained, in the best possible way — live, interactive, Q&A sessions, employee expectations will rise. Everyone will wonder when and how the bullying will end in their workplace. If employer actions are limited to supervisor training, very little will be done. Employee distrust and disengagement will follow.

Another concern is how will the training be conducted? The new law based on AB 2053, adds training in abusive conduct (which is currently legal) to the requisite training in sexual harassment (which is illegal). The mix will not only confuse employees; most employers don’t know the difference. Workers will be expecting policies for bullying to apply that don’t exist.

It is alarming to find that many employers post online slide shows to educate workers about sexual harassment. It’s a joke that no one takes seriously. A slide show with little content and no interaction. Really, how lazy can employers be. It’s called “compliance.” Given the complexity of bullying’s effect on the entire workplace and the fact that current sex harass trainers and conflict resolution professionals don’t understand bullying, we fear for the future.

In other words, disembodied training can do more harm than good. Beware of premature awareness!

Training should be preceded by a commitment by leadership to stopping bullying. Then, organizational prevalence should be determined. Next, a code or policy or set of behavioral expectations must be created along with procedures to correct confirmed violators. Then, and only then, should training be undertaken.

If you know of, or are, a California employer, contact WBI for help addressing the problem that will comply with the law and help your organization at the same time. We have also produced a 20 min. DVD to introduce Abusive Conduct to organizations.

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



California lawyers respond to new abusive conduct training law

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Law Takes Aim at Workplace Bullying, Raises Questions

By Laura Hautaia, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Sept. 17, 2014

What counts as bullying in the workplace?

While the concept may be relatively new, managers will have to undergo training on preventing abusive conduct at work once a new law goes into effect in January. The training will come along with other required lessons on preventing sexual harassment and discrimination, but it’s different in one important way: bullying isn’t illegal in California. For now.

Attorneys say AB 2053, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed in August, might open the door to making abusive conduct illegal, opening a new category of liability for employers.

“There’s a feeling that there should be a way to prevent that kind of destructive behavior, because it does hurt people when it’s extreme enough, and it causes economic damage,” said Margaret H. Edwards, a shareholder at Littler Mendelson PC who has researched the advent of anti-bullying laws worldwide.

At the moment, the required training might still come into play in a court case if workers sue for harassment or intentional infliction of emotional damage in the workplace, attorneys said.

Whether or not employers provided adequate training on abusive conduct, said Chaya M. Mandelbaum, a partner at Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe who represents workers, “could be a very relevant piece in looking at the culture of the workplace.” Edwards said the new requirement heralds wider recognition of bullying as a problem that can be addressed with laws. Indeed, other states are considering bills that address bullying in schools, and Tennessee passed a law encouraging public employers to create anti-bullying policies.

What’s more, she noted, laws have passed in Canada, the UK and Europe that address bullying in the workplace. “I think part of this is because of work that has been done that comes out of the harassment arena and a desire to try to address destructive behaviors in the workplace that don’t quite fall into the traditional harassment and discrimination categories,” Edwards said.

Some of that work has been done by Gary Namie, a Washington State social psychologist who advocates for anti-bullying legislation. He worked to get a more comprehensive law banning workplace bullying in California in 2003, but the law didn’t pass. Namie said his organization, the Workplace Bullying Institute, talked with California Assemblywoman Lorena Gomez as she authored AB 2053, but that the resulting bill was watered down from what he hopes to see eventually become the law.

“The law is a baby step toward recognizing the impact of workplace bullying defined as abusive conduct,” Namie said. Namie compares abusive conduct at work to domestic abuse. Rather than isolated incidents of cruelty, he said, bullying is a pattern that systematically beats down an employee.

Employment attorneys agreed with this description. “It’s vicious a lot of times,” said Kathryn B. Dickson. What’s more, she said, everyone at the workplace can suffer when bullying takes place. “It has impact on morale and productivity.” But Dickson also noted that while the law defines abusive conduct, naming it in the workplace might still be difficult.” “It gets very mushy around the edges,” she said. However, she compared the task of defining workplace bullying to the questions that surrounded the idea of sexual harassment when it was first litigated in courts. “People said how are we going to say what harassment is? That worked out.”

One test case emerged in 2006, when a judge in London ruled in favor of a former employee of DB Services (UK) Ltd., a UK subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, who said she was systematically bullied at work until she suffered two bouts of Major Depressive Disorder. In a detailed, 46-page decision, High Court Justice Robert M. Owen said the bullying was harassment under the country’s Protection from Harassment Act of 1997, and that the company should have done more to prevent it.

The plaintiff, Helen Green, said coworkers engaged in “petty” bullying conduct and went out of their way to exclude her from conversations, lunches, work-related email chains and more. Green even recounted that one coworker made a raspberry sound every time she took a step while walking across the office. “Many of the incidents that she describes would amount to no more than minor slights,” Owen wrote. “But it is their cumulative effect that has to be considered.” What’s more, the company was privy to information about Green’s mental health history and could have known she would be vulnerable to such bullying, he ruled.

Such situations aren’t uncommon in American workplaces, plaintiffs’ attorneys said. Mandelbaum said many people call seeking legal representation, only to learn what they experience at the hands of a coworker or supervisor is not illegal. What’s more, often it’s bullying that motivates someone to sue for sexual harassment or discrimination in the first place, he said. “It’s that kind of conduct that underlies their feelings and their motivation to go through what they need to go through to enforce their rights legally.” Mandelbaum said.

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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



New Employer Training from Workplace Bullying Institute

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Workplace Bullying & Abusive Conduct:
The Other Harassment
DVD


We know time is valuable. Educate all employees with this 20 min. training DVD. Distinguish abusive conduct from lesser forms of mistreatment that do not cause the same level of disruption in productivity.

This DVD video training is appropriate for non-supervisory employees or managers. Produced in August 2014.

It is the ideal video to accompany sexual harassment training. Can be streamed for online viewing by employees.

Complies with Section 12950.1, California Government Code required as of 1/1/2015



The Other Harassment

Twenty-seven percent of adult Americans report being bullied at work; an additional 21% witness it (an est. 65 million workers) and vicariously are made miserable (according to the scientific national 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey). It’s time to examine the real costs for employees (health consequences) and for employers (unwanted turnover, absenteeism, lawsuit or complaint settlements, workers comp and disability claims).

Dr. Gary Namie, recognized as North America’s foremost authority on workplace bullying, personally introduces the topic, citing the latest prevalence statistics and the newest and most relevant research findings.

Program Topics


1. The Phenomenon
2. Examples
3. Perpetrators
4. Who Gets Bullied
5. Health Impact
6. Impact on Organizations
7. What Employers Can Do

DVD available for purchase now.

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Posted in Products & Services | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



WBI Workplace Bullying Retreat: A day for restoral, dignity & hope

Friday, April 18th, 2014

We announce the first-ever healing workshop for bullied targets and their loved ones.

WBI Workplace Bullying Retreat - A Day for Restoral, dignity and hope

The inaugural Workplace Bullying Retreat will be Saturday May 31 in Bellingham, WA. The one-day Retreat is facilitated by WBI founders, Drs. Ruth and Gary Namie. Attendees will understand the storm that ripped through their lives, its impact on their health, and solutions when employers do nothing to stop it.

“Bullying is perplexing, leaving targeted workers with lingering questions such as ‘Why me?’,” said Dr. Gary Namie. “The retreat is designed to answer those questions so the person can move on with her or his life after bullying.”

This new workshop differs from WBI’s other programs that emphasize education alone. The Retreat is designed to create a validating, encouraging, emotionally positive, healing, and supportive, safe harbor for attendees who have endured emotional abuse.

“No one else has talked with over 10,000 bullied targets like we have,” remarked Dr. Ruth Namie. “We’re proud to create this first-ever, in-person experience just for targets after 17 years of advocacy on behalf of targets.”

Family members are also encouraged to attend in order to learn how to best help their loved one move on toward an abuse-free working life.

The first three scheduled days in 2014 are May 31, July 19, August 23

Visit the Retreat page for details.

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Posted in Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Products & Services, WBI Education | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Education & Workplace Bullying: 2010 WBI Survey

Friday, September 17th, 2010

There are many myths and misconceptions about workplace bullying advanced by disbelievers and opponents. One portrayal is that bullying affects only the uneducated, unskilled workers.

The WBI 2003 online survey reported that the five top reasons individuals are targeted for bullying, in rank order, were: (1) refusal to be subservient (being independent), (2) being more technically skilled than the bully, (3) being liked by co-workers/customers (being the go-to expert), (4) being ethical and honest, and (5) not being sufficiently political. Thus, people are targeted for their strengths and the threats they pose to the defensive, narcissistic perpetrator.

In the scientific (nationally representative) 2010 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, respondents could check whether they had a college degree (or beyond) or whether they did not have a degree. That allows us to determine if the reported experiences with bullying differed according to education level.

(more…)

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Tutorials About Bullying | 15 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Stealing From Children: A Great Injustice Of Workplace Bullying In America’s Schools

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Guest essay by Matt Spencer, EdD, veteran school administrator and HR professional, connecting the dots between workplace bullying in the schools and its impact on students.

“The workplace bully in America’s schools is a taker…a robber…a thief. The bully steals the dignity, self-esteem, confidence, joy, happiness, and quality of life of the targeted victim. But when the target is a teacher, a great injustice occurs because the bully robs the students of what they want, need, and deserve…. A great tragedy occurs everyday in America’s schools as thousands of children are robbed by the workplace bully of the RIGHT to be nurtured and taught by such honorable, caring, outstanding educators.”

(more…)

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied | 8 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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