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


The Workplace Bullying Institute and the New Workplace Institute are collaborating on an important new initiative, the creation of the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse.

The Academy will support and promote the multi-disciplinary work of its Fellows, a group 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.

Although we recognize the universality of these destructive behaviors, we are creating this network to focus on the unique challenges posed by American employee relations, mental health, and legal systems.

This initiative has been in the works for over a year, and I’m delighted to see it taking shape. The Academy’s website, to which more will be added in the months and years to come, is here. And here is the initial list of Fellows.

Academy Co-Facilitators

    • Gary Namie, Ph.D.
      Director, Workplace Bullying Institute, Bellingham, WA
    • David C. Yamada, J.D.
      Professor of Law and Director, New Workplace Institute, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA

Academy Fellows

(Note: Fellow status does not imply agreement with, or endorsement of, editorial, analytical, or public policy positions taken by the Workplace Bullying Institute or the New Workplace Institute.)

    • Beverly J. Aho, M.B.A., J.D.
      Attorney, James H. Gilbert Law Group, Eden Prarie, MN
    • Carol Arao, M.A.
      Co-Coordinator, California Healthy Workplace Advocates
      Columnist, Workplace Bullying Institute blog
    • David W. Ballard, Psy.D., M.B.A.
      Assistant Executive Director for Organizational Excellence
      American Psychological Association, Washington, DC
    • Peggy Ann Berry, Ph.D. candidate, R.N., SPHR, COHN-S
      Owner, Thrive At Life: Working Solutions Dayton, OH
    • Jane Bethel
      President, SEIU/NAGE Local R4-200, Norfolk, VA
      State Coordinator, Virginia Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Sharon Brennan, Ph.D.
      Past Pres. & 2014 President-elect, Division of Organizational, Consulting & Work Psychology
      New York State Psychological Association; Psychoanalyst, NY, NY
    • Jessi Eden Brown, M.S., LMHC, LPC, NCC
      Psychotherapist, Seattle, WA
      Professional Coach, Workplace Bullying Institute
    • Carrie Clark, M.A.
      Co-Founder, California Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Ellen Pinkos Cobb, J.D.
      Senior Legal Analyst, Isoceles Group, Boston, MA
      Author, Bullying, Violence, Harassment, Discrimination and Stress: Emerging Workplace Health and Safety Issues (2013)
    • Lana Cooke
      State Coordinator, West Virginia Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Barbara Coloroso
      Author, The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander (Wm. Morrow, 2009)
      Expert in Youth Bullying, Littleton, CO
    • Pamela Countouris
      Bullying Prevention Trainer and Consultant, TCB Training & Consulting, Pittsburgh, PA
    • Teresa A. Daniel, J.D., Ph.D.
      Dean & Professor, Human Resource Leadership Program, Sullivan University
      Consultant & Author, Stop Bullying At Work (SHRM, 2009)
    • Michelle K. Duffy, Ph.D.
      Professor, Work & Organizations, Center for Human Resources & Labor Studies
      Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
    • Maureen Duffy, Ph.D.
      Author, Overcoming Mobbing (Oxford U Press, 2014) and Mobbing: Causes, Consequences & Cures
      (Oxford U Press, 2012) and Psychotherapist & Consultant, Miami Shores, FL
    • Lisa Farwell, Ph.D.
      Professor of Psychology, Santa Monica College
    • Carol Fehner
      Co-Coordinator, California Healthy Workplace Advocates
      Union Bullying Consultant, AFGE National Officer (Ret.)
    • Bernice L. Fields, J.D.
      Arbitrator & Attorney, Minneapolis, MN
    • Jackie Gilbert, Ph.D.
      Professor of Management, Middle Tennessee State University
      State Coordinator, Tennessee Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Denise Halverson, Ph.D.
      Professor of Mathematics, Brigham Young University
      State Coordinator, Utah Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Leslie Hammer, Ph.D.
      Professor of Psychology, Portland State University
    • Katherine A. Hermes, J.D., Ph.D.
      Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
    • Victoria Johnson, Ph.D.
      Author & State Coordinator, Pennsylvania Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Melody M. Kawamoto, M.D., M.S.
      Public Health & Occupational Medicine Physician, Cincinnati, OH
    • Loraleigh Keashly, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Communications, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
    • Wynne Kearney, Jr., M.D.
      Surgeon & Activist, Mankato, MN
    • Kevin Kennemer, M.A.
      President, The People Group, Tulsa, OK
    • Paul Landsbergis, M.P.H., Ed.D., Ph.D.
      Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
      SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
    • Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Communication, North Dakota State University
      Author, Adult Bullying: A Nasty Piece of Work (2013)
    • Lewis Maltby, J.D.
      Founder & Director, National Workrights Institute, Princeton, NJ
      Author, Can They Do That? Retaking Our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace (Portfolio, 2009)
    • Andrew Mitchell
      Activist, Blogger – Stop Workplace Bullies Now, Dixon, IL
    • Ruth F. Namie, Ph.D.
      Founder, Workplace Bullying Institute
      Author, The Bully-Free Workplace (Wiley, 2011) and The Bully At Work (Sourcebooks, 2009, 2nd ed.)
    • Joel H. Neuman, Ph.D.
      Director Center for Applied Management, State University of New York at New Paltz
      Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior
    • Christina Purpora, R.N., Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Nursing, University of San Francisco
    • Judith A. Richman, Ph.D.
      Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry, University of Illinois, Chicago
    • Heidi R. Riggio, Ph.D.
      Professor of Psychology, California State University, Los Angeles
    • Kathleen M. Rospenda, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago
    • Mike Schlicht, M.S.
      Founder & Co-Director, New York Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Peter Schnall, M.D., M.P.H.
      Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine
      Director, Center for Social Epidemiology
    • Michelle E. Smith, M.A.Ed.
      Co-Founder, California Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Gregory Sorozan, M.Ed., L.C.S.W.
      President SEIU/NAGE Local 282, Quincy, MA
      State Coordinator, Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Matt Spencer, Ed.D.
      Consultant, Workplace Bullying in Schools Project
      Author, Exploiting Children: School Board Members Who Cross the Line (R&L Education, 2013)
    • Len Sperry, M.D., Ph.D.
      Clinical Professor, Florida Atlantic University & Medical College of Wisconsin
      Author, Overcoming Mobbing (Oxford U Press, 2014) and Mobbing: Causes, Consequences & Cures
      (Oxford U Press, 2012)
    • Lamont E. Stallworth, Ph.D.
      Professor of Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Loyola University of Chicago
      Founder & Chairman, Center for Employment Dispute Resolution
    • Kerri L. Stone, J.D.
      Associate Professor of Law, Florida International University, Miami, FL
    • USN LCDR Leedjia A. Svec, Ph.D.
      Director & Senior Scientist, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick AFB, FL
    • Bennett J. Tepper, Ph.D.
      Deans Distinguished Professor of Management & Human Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    • Darren Treadway, M.B.A., Ph.D.
      Associate Professor of Organization & Human Resources, State University of New York at Buffalo
    • Esque Walker, M.S., Ph.D.
      Arbitrator/Texas Credentialed Distinguished Mediator
      State Coordinator, Texas Healthy Workplace Advocates
    • Tom Witt, M.L.S.
      Co-Director, New York Healthy Workplace Advocates

As U.S. universities embrace the New Gilded Age, what institutions will help us to grow a better society?

Suffice it to say that American higher education, as a general proposition, is embracing the values of the New Gilded Age. A growing number of American colleges and universities are degenerating into career training centers, touting unpaid internships while charging sky-high tuition, neglecting the liberal arts, and loading up on well-paid administrators and exploited adjunct faculty while shedding full-time professors.

These trends are disturbing in and of themselves. Moreover, they raise a challenging question: If universities are heading in this direction, what institutions, structures, and networks will help us to blend research, theory, and service toward creating a better society? And how do we create decent, paying, sustainable jobs to support this work?

Of course, the fate of the public intellectual in higher education has been a subject of debate for some time now, especially since the 1987 appearance of Russell Jacoby’s important book, The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe. Among other things, Jacoby posited that sharp trends toward narrow specialization in academic scholarship were creating a professoriate that is less relevant to the major public issues of the day.

Yup, one could argue that part-time college teaching jobs, unpaid internships, “non-stipendiary” fellowships, and assorted volunteer gigs offer outlets for expression and creativity. And between individual blogs, sites like The Huffington Post, and free websites, there’s no shortage of online venues for publishing or sharing one’s work.

The problem is that most people have this weird need for food, shelter, and clothing. “Exposure” and “contacts” don’t pay for those basic necessities. A little bit of job security wouldn’t hurt either.

During the coming months, I will devote some space to exploring this and related questions, incorporating a variety of new and emerging voices on public intellectual life in this plutocratic, New Gilded Age. In doing so, I’ll be talking about educators, researchers, activists, practitioners, writers, artists, and others who share a common, understandable concern that our society has no place for them.

As a central part of this inquiry, we need to consider strategies for change. Is it possible to reverse the bad course taken by so many standard-brand universities? Or do we have to think about creating new, sustainable entities that embrace a different, better set of values? If so, how do we go about this?


To the many readers who follow this blog because of its focus on issues such as workplace bullying, employee well-being, workers’ rights, and the like, stick with me on this one. Research and ideas matter, including within the realm of dignity at work. However, mainstream academe has not been a major driving force in calling for a more humane workplace, which means that we have to identify, support, build, and create the institutions that are eager to do so.

“Rebellious Lawyering” conference: Discussing origins and meaning of the intern rights movement

From the Rebellious Lawyering conference program book

From the Rebellious Lawyering conference program book

On Friday I was part of a terrific panel discussing unpaid internships at the annual Rebellious Lawyering conference, held this year at Yale Law School. Among other things, we discussed how the emerging intern rights movement got started and how the seeds of litigation challenging unpaid internships were planted. It was an honor to be in the presence of three individuals who are pioneers in the intern rights movement, Eric Glatt, Ross Perlin, and Rachel Bien. More about their signature roles below…

Path to pathbreaking lawsuit

My connection to this august group came about from an article I wrote over a decade ago.

In a 2002 law review article, “The Employment Law Rights of Student Interns” (Connecticut Law Review), I set out a legal framework arguing that many unpaid internships violated minimum wage laws. Frankly, it didn’t cause much of a stir. Rather, over the years it attracted a handful of citations in other law review articles, and this was pretty much about it.

That changed when writer Ross Perlin cited and touted the article in his seminal book, Intern Nation (2011; 2012 updated p.b. edition), the first comprehensive examination of the social, economic, and legal implications of the burgeoning intern economy.

9781844678839 Intern Nation PB

Ross was the first writer to connect all the dots on the intern economy. I regard his book as the bible of a new movement. It’s quite possible that none of this would’ve happened had he not written it.

Among the early readers of Intern Nation was Eric Glatt, an MBA holder and former unpaid accounting department intern for the Fox Searchlight Pictures production of the movie “Black Swan.” Eric spied the references to my law review article, and after reading it he came away with ideas for a lawsuit seeking back wages from Fox. He sought a law firm to explore this possibility, and he found one of the very best in Outten & Golden, a leading plaintiffs’ employment firm in New York City. They decided to file suit, and Rachel Bien, a partner at the firm, would serve as lead counsel.

The lawsuit prompted some media coverage when it was filed, and then the story exploded when, last June, a New York federal district court judge ruled that Glatt and co-plaintiff Alex Footman were entitled to back pay under state and federal minimum wage laws and certified the case as a class action for other Fox interns.

Rachel and Eric are now planning for the case to be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In the meantime…

As the lawsuit against Fox was percolating, Glatt and others were busy organizing in New York.

Out of the Occupy Wall Street movement came a working group that evolved into Intern Labor Rights. ILR has become the “go-to” informational and organizational presence on challenging unpaid internships. More than any other group, ILR is responsible for branding this as a movement now properly “owned” by a younger generation of activists who are putting their own stamp on it via creative social media outreach, organizing, and advocacy.

From Intern Labor Rights

From Intern Labor Rights

Many more lawsuits challenging unpaid internships have been filed. Some have settled; others are pending. The intern rights movement has hit the court dockets.

There’s so much more I can say, but I’ll save space and simply reference these three excellent resources:

  • Go here for a comprehensive report by Intern Labor Rights documenting the extraordinary developments of 2013.
  • Go here for ProPublica’s wide-ranging investigative project on the intern economy.
  • Go here for an in-depth Boston Globe Sunday magazine cover story on unpaid internships by Melissa Schorr.

Beyond unpaid internships

The discussion about unpaid internships at the Yale conference quickly evolved into a broader examination of social, economic, and political ramifications concerning students, recent graduates, and work, especially as it pertains to law students and new lawyers who want to do public interest work.

There’s a particular dilemma here for those who want to extend legal services to the poor, while not wanting to deprive law students and lawyers from compensation for their work, especially during rough economic times for the legal profession. Because most of the unpaid intern litigation has focused on for-profit corporations, the applications of wage & hour laws to the non-profit sector are unsettled. In a nutshell, federal minimum wage laws do not exempt non-profit employers, but they also allow for taking on volunteers. Hence, there’s a massive gray area for legal pro bono work.

In addition, the dialogue explored the implications of the intern economy for work in general. What happens when young people get caught in a cycle of constant unpaid “opportunities,” with no paying work on the horizon? Indeed, the narrower focus on internships per se is giving way to a broader inquiry about employment, jobs, and the labor market in the midst of the meltdown economy, as it should.


Nostalgic, already

Please forgive a brief nod to my Cancerian nostalgic side, but at the conference I couldn’t help but reflect upon a December 2011 meeting with Eric, Ross, and journalist Tiffany Ap at my favorite Manhattan diner. Ross’s book had been published earlier that year, and Eric had filed his lawsuit in September. As you can read from the tone of my write-up on our get together, we had very little idea of what was to come.

Since then, it has been my pleasure to serve in a background, resource role to this growing movement. As I suggested above, it is now the province of a younger generation. I’m happy to say that there’s more to come.

You may go here for my 2002 law review article (Connecticut Law Review) on internships and go here for my forthcoming 2014 law review article (Northeastern University Law Journal) discussing legal and policy developments of the past three years.

“I want to help stop workplace bullying”

Periodically I get e-mails and voice mails from people who would like to get involved in addressing bullying at work. More often than not, they have experienced or witnessed workplace bullying firsthand, and now they’d like to do something on a broader scale to prevent bullying and help others who have been targeted. Here are my thoughts on this topic.

First, I’d suggest pondering these questions:

1. Do you have specific training, work experience, or licensure that provides opportunities to address workplace bullying? If so, you may be able to contribute your specific expertise to this movement.

2. Do you have a personal or professional network that you can influence or tap into? Your networks may be a potential audience for your efforts.

3. Are you ready to learn about workplace bullying beyond your immediate familiarity? Personal experience can be a great teacher, and most people who are active in this movement have been bullying targets, have witnessed others being bullied, or have been close to someone who was bullied. But workplace bullying is a topic with complexities that go well beyond one person’s experience. The more you know, the more effective you’ll be as a change agent.

4. Especially if you’ve experienced workplace bullying, are you ready and able to become involved in a movement that may cause you to revisit some of those bad experiences? Admitting that you’re not ready to become active in these efforts is a sign of self-honesty and strength, not personal weakness. For some people, getting active in this movement is an affirming activity. For others, it is too unpleasant a reminder of what they went through, and they owe no apologies for that. Take care of yourself first, and make a decision accordingly.

Next, if you truly want to get involved, consider these possibilities:

  • Support the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. Go here to identify ways to be part of the advocacy campaign.
  • If you feel secure in doing so, encourage your employer to develop anti-bullying policies, procedures, and training programs. In this context there is strength in numbers, as the University of Massachusetts workplace anti-bullying campaign illustrates.
  • Speak out. Post about workplace bullying on social media. When articles about workplace bullying appear online, post comments that reinforce the importance of stopping bullying at work, taking on Internet “trolls” who deny that bullying is a serious problem in our workplaces. Help create a chorus of voices who proclaim that workplace bullying is inexcusable behavior.
  • If you’re in a union, get them on board with this. ‘Nuff said. Go here for a sampling of what unions can do to put an end to workplace bullying.
  • Encourage civic or professional groups in which you are active to support the workplace anti-bullying movement. Organizations associated with specific professions or vocations are especially good possibilities.
  • If you are in a position to do so, provide financial support for workplace anti-bullying initiatives.
  • Play an active role in efforts to prevent and respond to bullying behaviors across the lifespan, including in schools and senior facilities, in addition to the workplace. After all, bullying does not start and end in one setting.

If you want a great example of a super activist concerning workplace bullying, then take a look at the work of Drew Mitchell, who hosts a Stop Workplace Bullies Now! Facebook page and website. Drew has created an important role for himself as a writer and connector in this movement.

I’m sure I’ve omitted other viable possibilities, and I’m happy to take your suggestions in the comments.

Dialogues about dignity, Part III: Claiming and using power to do good

Presenting about workplace bullying at HumanDHS workshop (Photo: Anna Strout)

Presenting about workplace bullying at 2013 HumanDHS workshop, at right (Photo: Anna Strout)

How can those who want to advance human dignity claim and use power toward that good end?

I spent two days last week participating in the annual workshop of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) Network, held at Teachers College of Columbia University in New York. The workshop is a global, transdisciplinary gathering of educators, practitioners, and activists devoted to advancing dignity and ending humiliation in our society.

At the end of the workshop, we stood in a circle, and each person shared a closing thought. When it was my turn to speak, I noted that the term “power” was not invoked often during our two days together, and I suggested that we need to summon our personal and collective power to address the societal challenges highlighted so eloquently by the participants.

I’d like to elaborate on my remarks here.

I submit that those of us who have witnessed excesses of power may be wary or downright fearful of it, and with good reason. All too often, power is exercised by those who use it to hurt others. Consequently, many of us have come to associate power with abuse.

To illustrate, I think this apprehension is why some progressives are uncomfortable with the labor movement. Organized labor is about building collective power and exercising it. On occasion it can misuse that power. So, yes, there are trade-offs when even the most valuable social movements and institutions demonstrate their imperfections. However, without a strong labor movement, the prospects of everyday workers are quite perilous. It’s no coincidence that here in the U.S., we’ve witnessed the simultaneous decline of union membership levels and rise of massive wealth inequalities over the past three decades.

My larger point is that such ambivalence can cause us to cede our own power to make positive change. Perhaps some feel comfortable with the term “empowered,” which is more likely to be invoked at gatherings of social activists. But I think we need to face down the beast. We need to build our individual and collective power, exercise it effectively and judiciously, and keep it in check when we are tempted to use it excessively.

I realize that my comments may sound more like a self-help rap than a call for a better world, but I have long believed that artificial dichotomies between individual change and social change cause us to overlook their interrelatedness. Power can be heady stuff, like holding a live wire. Those committed to advancing human dignity should carefully but decisively embrace it and use it.

Dialogues about dignity, Part II: Mainstreaming the message

Day 1 participants (Photo: Anna Strout)

Day 1 participants (Photo: Anna Strout)

How do we make human dignity a primary, framing concept for how we look at society and ways to better it?

As I reported in my last post, I spent two days last week participating in the annual workshop of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) Network, held at Teachers College of Columbia University in New York. The workshop is a global, transdisciplinary gathering of educators, practitioners, and activists devoted to advancing dignity and ending humiliation in our society. I’ve been a part of HumanDHS for some five years now, including serving on its global advisory board.

At the workshop, one of our small group discussions centered on the question of how to carry the dignity message beyond the choir. In other words, how can we reach others who might be receptive?

Politically speaking, there remains strong, powerful pushback against anything that might be construed as a dignity agenda for public policy, especially when it comes to economics, wealth inequality, human rights, and the environment. As I wrote in a 2009 law review article, “Human Dignity and American Employment Law,” any “dignitarian” view of the workplace must confront a dominant “markets and management” framework that presumes the superiority of the market economy and unbridled management control.

With the benefit of extended reflection, here are some of my thoughts on the realities of breaking through those hedgerows:

  • Limited access — Access to mainstream media is limited. The markets & management, command & control mentality drives the media as well, making it less likely that alternative perspectives will get regular airings.
  • Nuance and detail — The supposed virtues of the free market and top–down control make for easy, uncomplicated messaging. Arguing the virtues of dignity as a framing societal concept requires a respect for nuance and detail.
  • Translating our work — Academicians, in particular, can be woefully bad at communicating their work and ideas to the outside, general public. Furthermore, they often find little support for this role in academe, where notions of the independent, public intellectual have largely given way to exploited part-time instructors, narrowly specialized scholars and, on occasion, celebrity professors.
  • Bridging gaps — Those of us who value the application of research, analysis, and creative thinking to societal problems continually must work on bridging the gaps between scholarship and public education & advocacy.
  • Getting specific — In more concrete terms, platforms such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and independent publishing can provide alternative ways to advance a dignitarian message. Having that presence will also, at least on occasion, attract attention from mainstream media outlets as certain topics expand in the public eye.
  • Resilience and empathy — We have to be willing to take our lumps. In a more public forum, it’s likely that a dignitarian message will attract Internet trolls and others whose purpose is to ridicule and denigrate. But if we stay cocooned, we’re not making the world a safer and better place. Resilience and empathy must go hand-in-hand.

There’s a lot more to be done on this question, and it is very, very relevant to the central challenge of transforming our workplaces. I will continue to explore it in future posts.


Some related posts

Intellectual activism and social change (November 2013) – Collecting some of my writings on intellectual activism.

Dignity work (December 2012) – An extended report on last year’s HumanDHS workshop, with some thoughts on advancing a dignitarian message.

American elders: Human dignity and an aging population (December 2012) – The paper I presented at the 2012 HumanDHS workshop.

Work and human dignity from The Hedgehog Review (November 2012) – Work and human dignity: Shall the twain meet?


Dialogues about dignity, Part I: Meeting in Manhattan

Evelin Lindner, HumanDHS founder, and Linda Hartling, HumanDHS director (photo: Anna Strout)

Evelin Lindner, HumanDHS founder, and Linda Hartling, HumanDHS director (photo: Anna Strout)

In what has become a welcomed rite of December, I just spent two days participating in the annual workshop of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) Network, held at Teachers College of Columbia University in New York. The workshop is a global, transdisciplinary gathering of educators, practitioners, and activists devoted to advancing dignity and ending humiliation in our society.

The founding president of HumanDHS is Evelin Lindner, a physician, psychologist, and self-styled global citizen whose life mission is rooted in the displacement of her family during the ravages of the First and Second World Wars. In her remarks to the group, Evelin talked about the need to “embrace the world as our university.” She urged that in the face of powerful political and economic forces that operate to advance the interests of the most privileged, we must “build a new culture of global cohesion, global friendship.”

For me, one of the highlights of the gathering is psychologist Michael Britton‘s annual address, in which he weaves together individual and societal dynamics that either impede or promote the creation of a more decent world. Michael observed that after a century marked by major wars, severe financial crises, and significant inequalities, we are presented with a traumatized world containing an “immense surround of pain and dysfunction.”

The opportunity and challenge before us, he noted, is that we’re “groping toward a kind of world that none of us has experienced,” adding that we must create “learning environments where people sense the emerging future worth working for.”

The array of topics discussed at the workshop runs a global gamut, from conflict in the Middle East, to human rights and incarceration, to — yes — even workplace bullying. Indeed, the theme of bullying came up on several occasions during the gathering, in addition to my short talk on bullying at work. And, in fact, the director of HumanDHS is Linda Hartling, a psychologist and leading authority on relational-cultural theory whose assessment of workplace cultures is one of the most valuable framing concepts I’ve encountered toward understanding organizational life.

If you’d like to get a deeper sense of the rich variety of people and topics present at this conference, please see the extended agenda, here.

I’m going to devote another post or two to this workshop and to the work of HumanDHS, so stay tuned.


As an elaboration of some of the themes in his Friday talk, Michael Britton suggested the documentary film “I Am” (2010), the story of how Hollywood producer Tom Shadyac redirected his life after a severe accident. It’s an entertaining and absorbing film that asks what is wrong with the world and how can we make it better. You can view it here. (In one of those wonderful moments of pure synchronicity, last night one of my dearest friends e-mailed me to say that she watched the film earlier in the day and highly recommended it. I watched it and agree with the kudos!)

Intellectual activism and social change

For some time I’ve been studying a topic that I’ve labeled “intellectual activism,” the practice of using scholarly research and writing to inform, shape, and influence social change initiatives. This fall, I’ve been the fortunate recipient of a Dean’s Faculty Fellowship at Suffolk University Law School to support this course of study, which will culminate in a variety of publications during the coming years.

In addition to collecting and reviewing new materials on intellectual activism, I’ve been looking at my past writings on relevant subjects. For those of you interested in thinking about how we can harness our research to promote positive change, perhaps this material — some of which I’ve mentioned previously — will be of interest:

“If It Matters, Write About It: Using Legal Scholarship to Promote Social Change” (2013)

This piece has just been published in the inaugural issue of Bearing Witness: A Journal on Law and Social Responsibility, a new student-edited periodical at Suffolk to which I serve as faculty advisor. Here’s a brief abstract:

This essay centers on the concept of “intellectual activism,” discussing how legal scholarship can be used as the foundation for social change work. It recounts and reflects upon the author’s ongoing work in advancing issues such as workplace bullying and the rights of student interns. It concludes with advice on how to be effective in an intellectual activist mode.

Although the full issue won’t be online until later, you may download a pdf of my article here.

“Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Practice of Legal Scholarship” (2010)

This law review article, published in the University of Memphis Law Review, explores how legal scholarship can be used to make a deeper contribution to academic and public dialogue and to social action. Here’s the abstract:

The culture of legal scholarship has become preoccupied with article placement, citations, and download numbers, thus obscuring a deeper appreciation for the contributions of scholarly work. This article proposes that therapeutic jurisprudence (“TJ”), a theoretical framework that examines the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic properties of the law and legal practice, provides us with tools for understanding and changing that culture.

More prescriptively, the article applies a TJ lens to: (1) identify a set of good practices for legal scholarship; (2) examine the TJ movement as an example of healthy scholarly practice; (3) consider the role of law professors as intellectual activists; and, (4) propose that law schools nurture a scholar-practitioner orientation in their students to help them become more engaged members of the legal profession.

You may download a pdf here.

“The Adult Educator as Public Intellectual” (2009)

This book chapter was published in Andre P. Grace & Tonette S. Rocco, et al., Challenging the Professionalization of Adult Education: John Ohliger and Contradictions in Modern Practice (2009). John Ohliger was an iconoclastic adult educator, writer, and political activist, in addition to being my dear friend. In my piece, I discuss the typical role of the public intellectual and contrast it to ways in which John modeled a different approach that included a variety of non-traditional writings, a devotion to public community radio, and extensive, personal interactions with people who traversed his many paths.

You may download a pdf of my chapter here (free reg req’d).

Short paper

Here’s a short paper I presented at CUNY Law School in New York:

Law Professors as Intellectual Activists (2013) (free reg req’d)

2013 blog posts

I’ve been writing a lot about intellectual activism and related topics this year:

Insiders, outsiders, and change agents

Inspiration in Amsterdam

The social responsibilities of intellectuals at a time of extraordinary human need

Setting agendas for positive social change

10 ways to make a difference: Advice for change agents

Intellectual activism

Mary Pipher on Writing to Change the World

It played at a summer near you: “The Unpaid Intern Strikes Back”

As steady readers of this blog know, issues concerning the legal rights and economic exploitation of interns have been bubbling up for several years. However, this past summer marked the true coming out party for the the legal and social movement against unpaid internships.

Here, in quick bullet point fashion, is a summary of what occurred:

  • It started in June, when a New York federal district court ruled in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures that lead plaintiffs Eric Glatt and Alex Footman, who worked as unpaid interns on the production of the movie “Black Swan,” were entitled to back pay under federal and state minimum wage laws.
  • The Glatt decision triggered a wave of mainstream national media coverage that, in turn, spurred public discussions about the intern economy and whether unpaid internships should be permitted under the law.
  • In the immediate aftermath of Glatt came a marked increase in filings of legal claims for unpaid wages by former interns.
  • ProPublica, the non-profit investigative journalism organization, created a project to examine the intern economy in America and conducted a well-publicized and successful crowd sourced fundraising campaign for a paid project intern.
  • When a senior official with the Lean In Foundation, a charitable organization launched by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg to support the careers of women, advertised for an unpaid editorial intern in August 2013, the result was a loud public backlash. Within 48 hours, the Foundation announced that it would create a paid internship program.
  • Interns at the Nation Institute in New York, publisher of the political magazine The Nation, submitted a letter to the editor to the magazine, calling upon it to pay its full-time summer interns a living wage, rather than the $150 weekly stipend it currently paid. The Institute’s director responded by saying that it will raise the internship stipend and raise money for travel and housing grants.
  • As Intern Labor Rights continued its key role as a face-to-face and social media organizing presence in New York, the movement expanded beyond its New York base to Washington, D.C., another common site of unpaid internships. The Fair Pay Campaign went public with a call for the White House to pay its interns, citing the Oval Office’s hypocrisy in calling for a higher minimum wage while failing to pay even the current one to interns for their work.

In sum, it was a breakthrough summer, during which the intern rights movement took a huge step forward.

This was not, however, a development that came out of nowhere. Rather, it was the result of several years of advocacy and public education, much of which occurred under the radar screen.

If you’d like to read more about this recent history, including the intern rights movement and developing legal issues surrounding unpaid internships, I’ve just posted an updated draft (freely downloadable) of my forthcoming law review article, “The Emerging Legal and Social Movement Against Unpaid Internships” (forthcoming, Northeastern University Law Review), which covers events through October 2013. Much of this blog post is drawn from that article.

The legal and social movement against unpaid internships

I’ve just posted a draft of forthcoming law review article, “The Legal and Social Movement Against Unpaid Internships,” which will be published in the Northeastern University Law Journal in early 2014. You may download a pdf copy without charge from my Social Science Research Network page.

The draft runs about 24 pages and discusses and analyzes the major developments concerning unpaid internships over the past four years. It is an update of, and sequel to, my 2002 law review article, “The Employment Law Rights of Student Interns” (Connecticut Law Review), which can be downloaded without charge here.

Here’s the article abstract for the new piece:

Until very recently, the legal implications of unpaid internships provided by American employers have been something of a sleeping giant, especially on the question of whether interns fall under wage and hour protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state equivalents. This began to change in June 2013, when, in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., a U.S. federal district court held that two unpaid interns who worked on the production of the movie “Black Swan” were owed back pay under federal and state wage and hour laws.

This Article examines and analyzes the latest legal developments concerning internships and the growth of the intern rights movement. It serves as an update to a 2002 article I wrote on the employment rights of interns, David C. Yamada, The Employment Law Rights of Student Interns, 35 Conn. L. Rev. 215 (2002). Now that the legal implications of unpaid internships have transcended mostly academic commentary, the underlying legal and policy issues are sharpening at the point of application. Accordingly, Part I will examine the recent legal developments concerning internships, consider the evolving policy issues, and suggest solutions where applicable.

In addition, the intern rights movement has emerged to challenge the widespread practice of unpaid internships and the overall status of interns in today’s labor market. Thus, Part II will examine the emergence of a movement that has both fueled legal challenges to unpaid internships and engaged in organizing activities and social media outreach surrounding internship practices and the intern economy.

This article grew out of my presentation at the March 2013 Northeastern University Law Journal symposium on employee misclassification.

Because it is a first draft, it will undergo edits and revisions, the latter especially if it is published after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issues decisions on the unpaid intern wage claims that have been certified for appeal.


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