Workplace Bullying: A Short Primer

If you become a regular reader of this blog, you’re going to see a lot about workplace bullying.

For the unitiated, workplace bullying can be defined as the repeated, malicious, health-endangering mistreatment of a worker by a supervisor or co-worker, using verbal and non-verbal methods.  It may come in the way of the loud, thuggish, in-your-face boss, or perhaps a group of co-workers ganging up on someone they don’t like by spreading rumors and unfairly disparaging that person’s performance.

In any of its endless forms, workplace bullying wreaks havoc on workers and employers alike, impairing the health of targeted employees and hurting productivity and morale.

Many other countries have recognized the harms caused by workplace bullying, but in the U.S., we have become aware of it only during the past 10 or so years, thanks largely to the pioneering work of Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie and their Workplace Bullying Institute (, which for newbies to this subject should be your very first virtual destination to learn more.  Their book, The Bully at Work (Sourcebooks, with a new edition coming out in early 2009), is the best information source for the general reader.

The Namies also are leading the charge to help enact workplace bullying laws.   Several years ago, I drafted model anti-bullying legislation — which we’ve dubbed the “Healthy Workplace Bill” — that is now the subject of grassroots lobbying campaigns in numerous states.  To learn more, go to:

If you’d like to read some of the longer, more scholarly articles I’ve written on workplace bullying, you can check out abstracts and download information (all free) at:

One of the posted articles, “Workplace Bullying and Ethical Leadership,” is shorter, more accessible, and directed to organizational leaders and others who would like to address this destructive phenomenon.

Got Dignity???

Are you treated with dignity at work?

The quest for healthy, productive, and socially responsible workplaces starts by treating workers with basic dignity. For all too many, however, the notion that one is entitled to be treated with dignity at work remains a somewhat revolutionary concept. It’s time to change that worldview, which is especially prevalent in the United States.

If you’d like to see a short New Workplace Institute paper I presented on worker dignity, go here (pdf file):

If you’re in the mood for a long law review article on human dignity and employment law in the U.S., go here for an abstract and link to download the full article (pdf):

Dignity at Work will be a recurring theme in Minding the Workplace.  Welcome!

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