Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’


Research: Explaining peer condemnation of targets of workplace bullying

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

WBI review of an academic research study:

Diekmann, K.A., Walker, S.D.S., Galinsky, A.D., & Tenbrunsel, A.E. (2012) Double victimization in the workplace: Why observers condemn passive victims of sexual harassment. Organization Science, 2012, 1-15.

A well practiced tendency of observers of workplace harassment, coworkers of the targeted person, is to declare that they themselves would have taken more action to stop the harassment than the victim did.

The researchers in this study call this prediction “forecasting,” and people claim they would do more than they actually do. They have an optimism bias, especially with respect to moral or socially desirable conduct. No one wants to admit they would not do “the right thing” when opportunities present themselves. And there is an equal underestimation of how likely they would be to yield to social pressure and self-interest.

A common consequence of such observer hubris is the subsequent condemnation of victims for failing to have acted — to resist, to confront, to report, to reverse the harassment. Of course, as WBI research shows, confrontation fails to stop the negative conduct and leads to retaliation of the victim which exacerbates the suffering.

Staying passive is the preferred choice of both sexual harassment victims and bullied targets. From their perspective, it is safer than alternatives. However, observers may interpret passivity as weakness. Thus, harassment victims are harmed twice over.

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



Main St: This Workplace Offense is More Common than Sexual Harassment

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

By Susan Kreimer, Main Street, August 7, 2013

Bullies exert control in schools, playgrounds, cyber space—and in the workplace, too. But adults typically don’t expect as much empathy as kids do. Many suffer in silence.

“Ideally, coworkers should intervene,” says Gary Namie, who co-founded the Workplace Bullying Institute with his wife, Ruth, in Bellingham, Wash. in 1997. “However, research shows that this happens in less than 1% of incidents.” Compounding a bullied worker’s misery, “employers seem reluctant to act.”

Bullying on the job occurs four times more often than sexual harassment or racial discrimination, according to the institute, which is leading a national campaign to enact the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in all 50 states.

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Posted in Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



Lustful dentist fires “irresistibly attractive” worker, OK by Iowa Supreme Court

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

In January, we detailed the case of Melissa Nelson, a long-time worker in the dental office of James Knight, DDS. After Knight turned 50, Nelson said he became lewd. Knight’s wife and pastor told him to fire Nelson because of the temptation her attractiveness caused for Knight. He followed the advice.

Nelson sued, not for sexual harassment, but for gender discrimination. The dentist was supported by the courts, both trial and appeals, by granting summary judgement in his favor. They threw the case out. In the July 12, 2013 Iowa Supreme Court ruling, they made it clear that since sexual favoritism need not be based on illegal forms of discrimination, neither should unfavorability (page 8 in the Court’s decision). The Supreme Court affirmed the prior appeals court decision. Knight was allowed to legally terminate her on the basis of her beauty as he perceived it!

Read our prior coverage of this case.

Read the July 12 Iowa Supreme Court decision.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Rulings by Courts | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Iowa dentist lusted for assistant, fired her, state appeals court backs him

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Don’t ever lose your ability to be shocked by injustice. That’s what employers want us to do. Here’s a shocking tale.

Melissa Nelson, a 32-year old mother and happily married wife, was a dental assistant for 10 years for a Fort Dodge, Iowa dentist named James Knight. Knight had been her family dentist. A Nelson acquaintance worked in his office. She felt close to his wife and family, too. Knight is older than Nelson. It was an amicable midwest workplace for years.

Nelson said that Knight became lewd when he turned 50. He found her “irresistibly attractive.” He sleazily commented that if she (Nelson) saw his pants “bulging,” she would know her clothing was too revealing and he objected that he was able to tell during work hours that she had breasts. Remember, this was an educated health professional! Knight learned cell phone texting and began sexting to Nelson, asking how often she had orgasms. Nelson never encouraged or invited Knight’s advances. Knight told his pastor and wife that he had “feelings and emotions” for Nelson. Both told him to fire Nelson, the woman Knight considered his best-ever assistant. The wobbly Knight made termination a religious affair. He invited another pastor from his church to attend the Jan. 4, 2010 meeting with Nelson where they ambushed and fired her.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Rulings by Courts, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



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