Posts Tagged ‘The Free Lance-Star’


Free Lance-Star: Bullies can make a workplace toxic

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

By Lynne Richardson, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA, May 11, 2014

When I was growing up, we saw bullying in elementary schools and on playgrounds.

The bully was generally the biggest boy in the classroom and he picked on “weaker” boys and girls, making rude and ugly comments about those being bullied and acting in a threatening manner toward them. Teachers tried to protect the children in their classes, but they could not be everywhere.

One of our family’s favorite Christmas movies is “A Christmas Story.” If you know the movie, you might remember that Ralphie was bullied, but ultimately fought back after school one day. As children, I think we all cheered (at least silently) when we saw people standing up to bullies, but it did not happen often.

Bullying in the workplace is a topic we are hearing more about today. There are countless employees being bullied daily by supervisors and peers. I have even seen it in the hallowed halls of academia! Perhaps you have been bullied and not even known to give this name to the behaviors. Bullies are both men and women.

As I am certainly not an expert on bullying and what to do when bullying creates a hostile work environment, I reached out to attorney Randy Sparks of the Richmond law firm Kaufman & Canoles. Randy specializes in employment law—bullying is something he knows a bit about. I asked him to share some thoughts on bullying in the workplace. His comments follow.
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The Free Lance-Star: They Stand Up to Workplace Bullies

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

By Cathy Jett, (Fredericksburg, VA) The Free Lance-Star, April 20, 2013

Dr. Ruth Namie thought she’d be helping families solve their problems when she began working in a private clinic in 1995.

Instead, the clinical psychiatrist ran into one of her own. Her name was Sheila, and she proved to be the proverbial “boss from hell.”

Sheila was nice for the first three weeks, then began complaining that Namie was “worthless,” said Namie’s husband, social psychologist Gary Namie.

The bullying ratcheted up when Sheila overheard clients say that they drove an hour just to see Namie, and were urging others to go to her instead of Sheila. Sheila stripped Namie of her clinical work and gave her clerical work instead.

The Namies hired a lawyer, but discovered to their dismay that there was nothing illegal about one woman bullying another. They figured there must be some organization that could help, but there wasn’t one. So the couple started the Campaign Against Workplace Bullying.

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