Posts Tagged ‘workplace bullying’

Minnesota Lawyer: Abuse of power: Dealing with a bully lawyer

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Abuse of power: Dealing with a bully lawyer. By Barbara L. Jones, Minnesota Lawyer, May 10, 2013.

CLE examined the cost of bullying in the legal profession

When Minneapolis attorney Bernice Fields organized a CLE on Bullying in the Legal Workplace, some legal secretaries told her they were afraid to ask for time off to attend.

At least one person in the audience cried at the description of being a bully’s target and what that can do to your health.

And the Minnesota Supreme Court last week confronted bullying in the profession when it suspended attorney Peter Nickitas for 30 days, followed by two years of supervised probation. There were several charges against Nickitas, but they included behavior that could readily be described as bullying. The petition said he made insulting remarks to opposing counsel during an arbitration, even screaming nose-to-nose with one attorney, the petition said. Nickitas could not be reached for comment.

The topic of bullying has taken center stage lately. The Anoka-Hennepin School District entered into a consent decree in 2012 governing discrimination and bullying after seven students there committed suicide. The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed the Safe and Supportive Schools bill requiring schools to have tougher antibullying policies. Hennepin and Ramsey County have “respectful workplace” policies that encompass bullying.



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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Tragic Outcome to Bullying

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

I’ve worked for a large Big Ten University for 11 years. I met my husband here, we got married, we were a ‘dream team’ together. We worked in separate but related fields and both were at the top of our field.

Then, our college hired a new Dean. This Dean first dismantled my husband’s research. Then he dismantled my job. But instead of just ending my position because of lack of funding, he wrote inaccurate and scathing letters about my performance and personal relationships with colleagues that were simply full of lies.

Overwhelmed with our work issues, my husband and I separated. As soon as we were separated the bullying that targeted me intensified.

I was eventually fired for ‘not getting enough done’ the year my mother died, and my son ended up in the hospital. Because my son is covered by FMLA, I filled a claim of violation with the state and Federal FMLA. At this time, the state has found probable violations and the DOL has found the University in violation.

But, during this time my husband killed himself. The atmosphere in the University is so toxic, that when I called to talk to him that morning, I was told he hadn’t shown up for class (which was unusual) my coworker admitted some concern, but not much at the time. I called back and talked to a different coworker who laughed at me when I asked if anyone knew about my husband’s whereabouts. She laughed and said, “no not about Bill”…laugh laugh laugh. I eventually called the sheriff’s department, and eventually received the terrible news.

The first thing our Dean did was to call into HR to tell them that he knew better than the sheriff’s department and that we weren’t married, we weren’t separated, but we were divorced. That was not true, and both the Sheriff’s representative and the campus police had told the Dean that my husband and I were separated but married. This messed up our benefits for months. I had to prove that we were married.

The college then didn’t invite me to a program at which they honored my husband. I found out about it, but the college told me it wasn’t for me or my son to attend.

At this time the DOL has told the University to give me my job back. But the University is choosing to go into non-compliance. It breaks my heart to think about how much my son has lost because of workplace bullying. And now, because the University is choosing to go into non-compliance, we will have to move just months after his dad passed away. He will now be losing his friends and the only home he’s ever known.



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WBI Study: Mental health professionals & Workplace Bullying

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

WBI 2013-E Instant Poll

Individuals targeted for bullying have trouble being believed. At work, many of the disbelievers have the incentive to blame the victim, either to bolster their own sense of power or to distance themselves from the pain associated with an empathic response. Prior WBI research (WBI-2011-IP-L) confirms that family and friends are the primary sources of emotional support.

Prior WBI research (WBI-2012-IP-D) also found that over 70% of bullied targets reported seeking treatment from a mental health professional. An understanding therapist is essential for effective treatment. Misunderstanding, or ignorance about, the impact of abusive mistreatment at work can lead to an improper diagnosis and ineffective treatment. At worst, a therapist who does not understand the effects a toxic work environment can have on individual clients, may overestimate the target-client’s ability to reverse her or his fate. An effective therapist will be familiar with trauma and can best characterize the bullied target’s experience as a response to violence.



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Posted in Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Research: Employers conned by bullies with political skills

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Most research on workplace bullying uses bullied targets as participants. That is true of our online studies here at WBI. Those are the people who visit the website and can complete surveys. When we do national surveys, we contract with pollsters who can randomly sample Americans so we can draw conclusions about the entire population. Research on, or about, bullies is rare.

Now comes a clever new study (Treadway, et al. 2013 — see below for full citation) that investigates the relationship between bullies’ perceived political skill and perceptions of the bullies’ job performance.



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

New WBI Training DVD: Teach your psychotherapist

Friday, May 24th, 2013

An Introduction to Workplace Bullying: For Mental Health Practitioners

We designed this brand new DVD with two goals in mind: To help Targets of workplace bullying and to train mental health professionals about this challenging topic. It is the perfect introductory training for mental health practitioners.

It gives Targets the power to teach their counselors about workplace bullying. As a bullied target, you can watch this video alongside your therapist and learn about the phenomenon together, during a single session. Don’t blame your therapist for not understanding workplace bullying. There are not many professionals out there that have experience with the phenomenon. In a 2013 WBI Instant Poll only 29.7% of Mental Health Professionals had a complete understanding of workplace bullying.

Teach Your Psychotherapist How to Help You

Bullied targets are a challenging clinical population, in part due to the recurring trauma and marked isolation they endure. And, while a significant body of research links workplace bullying to physical, mental, social, and economic health harm for the bullied target, there is a paucity of mental health professionals specially trained to work with this phenomenon.

What to do: Use one 50 min. session with your psychotherapist to play this DVD while you are in the room. Stop the disc whenever questions arise, or if you want to make a point to your therapist about your experience. Use the DVD to start a dialogue.

In this video, Jessi Eden Brown, MS, LMHC, LPC, NCC an experienced, licensed mental health therapist and the WBI Professional Coach, shows clinicians the pitfalls many therapists fall into when helping Targets of workplace bullying. She offers practical advice about how best to support those hurting. Viewers will learn how to recognize the signs, and address the symptoms, of workplace bullying in their clients. Ms. Brown skillfully imparts the unique treatment considerations associated with counseling bullied targets and offers practitioners an assortment of resources for supporting clients and their families.

Targets and counselors, click here to purchase a DVD for your next session!


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Corporate defense attorneys who deny workplace bullying happens

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Here are the “lessons” about workplace bullying that a 24-yr. veteran corporate employment attorney (and self-described Machiavellian) chose to impart on lucky me during a recent flight between gigs.

I pass along his major teachings to you, the WBI reader, so you know the type of legal opponent, as plaintiff, you will face if you ever decide to sue your employer in court.

He believes:

1. HR has known about, and has dealt successfully with, workplace bullying for over 20 years.

2. The prevalence of harassment and bullying are exaggerated, overestimated.

3. Claims of bullying are made by workers who refuse to be assigned work or told to perform when management knows they are goofing off.



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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | 4 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

WBI Podcast 33: Workplace Bullying is more than incivility and disrespect

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

More Than Incivility and Disrespect

Workplace bullying is a form of violence more severe and harmful than either incivility or disrespect.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


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Workplace bullying: Power of the name

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

It’s funny that the operative verb for discovering our website and the term “workplace bullying” is always “stumbled upon.” That accurately describes the weeks or months since the beginning of the misery instigated by the bully wasted by targets blaming themselves. That span of time is a dark bewildering time. The reality is that targets can be bullied without knowing it.

They believe the lies that they are suddenly incompetent. They have typically never had this happen to them before and do not recognize the evil nature that some people bring to the workplace. They doubt themselves.

Eventually, they find us and recognize that our description of their reality matches and voila, they have a name for what has been happening to them. They have been bullied at work!

Plenty of synonyms apply: psychological violence, abusive conduct, mobbing, psychological harassment.

When we started 16 years ago, I underestimated the power of this discovery. Since then, I’ve learned how powerful it is.

For the first time, targets can pinpoint the source of the treachery they’ve experienced. It is not them. They are not crazy. They know they didn’t invite the humiliation. But HR and the law (in the U.S. at least) did not allow them to legitimately, in a legal sense, hold abusers accountable.

Most important, they start to connect the dots. The sleepless nights now make sense. It’s stress. The loss of concentration and muddled thinking and sense of doom — it’s depression. Until they seem the causal sequence — bullying leads to stress-related health problems — they see no reason to visit their physician or to find a therapist. Now their doctor can tell them how dangerous their skyrocketing blood pressure is.

They were hurt, insulted and buried by an avalanche of injustice, but did not know to blame the bully. It is the bully (or bullies) who control who gets targeted, when assaults begin and end, and what particular version of cruelty is chosen. Externalizing the problem is the first step toward well being. Research reliably compares the mental health impact of sexual harassment to that of bullying. Bullying is always worse for its victims.

Until the target recognizes that it is bullying, a non-physical form of violence in the workplace, taking steps to get safe cannot begin.

That’s the power of naming it. The day targets discover those two soothing words — Workplace Bullying — is a happy, liberating day. Of course, the hard work has just begun, but it is the real beginning of working toward freedom with one’s eyes fully open.


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Workplace Bullying Support group in Seattle

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Attention Seattle-Area Residents

The next series of support groups for targets of workplace bullying is about to begin!

WBI’s Professional Coach and Licensed Psychotherapist, Jessi Eden Brown, MS, LMHC, NCC, invites you to join the next round of support groups in the N. Seattle area.

This is an excellent chance to receive specialized guidance for dealing with your workplace bullying situation, as well as connect with other targets in our region.

Please email Jessi Eden Brown through her private practice to learn more about this opportunity.


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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

New WBI Instant Poll — Uses of social media for workplace bullying

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

How are you using social media regarding workplace bullying? Select uses that apply.

View Results

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Posted in WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

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