Management harassment and bullying up, reports Labor Notes

Labor Notes, the ongoing beacon of labor journalism, ran this piece by Jane Slaughter on the rise of management bullying of workers:

A Labor Notes survey this month found harassment in the workplace at unprecedented levels, with a sharp uptick since the recession began. It may be that a measurable chunk of the unemployed have been harassed out of their jobs, fired rather than laid off.

Union members report increases in verbal abuse, discipline including discharge, crackdowns on attendance, surveillance, hassling to work faster, forced overtime, and a concerted effort to get rid of older workers. “It’s at a level that I have not seen equaled in my 20 years with the company,” said Seattle UPS driver Dan Scott.

This is entirely consistent with other indicators, as we have noted before on this blog.

For the full article, “Harassment: The Recession’s Hidden Byproduct”:

7 responses

  1. I came across the following information from 2008 when I wrote a letter, 3/25/2008, to the Labor Secretary, Elaine Choa, in Washington, DC.

    This was before I knew there was a name for it, “Workplace Bullying”

    I thought it might be of help to others.

    Greg Barber of OSHA in Washington, DC called me on 6/10/2008 to ask me questions surrounding my particular circumstances that I experienced with Bullying in the Workplace. Mr. Barber stated that anyone who is being bullied should immediately call (202) 693-2473, his office, and OSHA will come to their workplace, confidentially. They would do an inspection. This is also for employees who work in Administration offices. Mr. Barber said you need to do this within a year. This is why a journal and records are so very important.

    On September 5, 2008, Mr. Richard E. Fairfax, Director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs sent me a response because Greg Barber also sent my letter to him. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

    “As you may know, OASH is the organization within the Department of Labor that develops and enforces standards or rules to protect workers against hazards on the job. Although workplace bullying is not covered in any of OSHA’s specific standards, OSHA recognizes that issues associated with workplace violence (e.g. anger, threats, harassment and ridicule) if not promptly and appropriately addressed, may develop into acts of workplace violence. While generally deferring to other federal, state and/or local law enforcement agencies to regulate workplace violence, the Agency has been proactive in addressing this issue. For example, OSHA has developed general and workplace-specific guidelines on workplace violence in the retail, health care and social service industries. For more information, you can visit our website: Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’S website at If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Federal Agency Programs at (202) 693-2122″.

  2. Pingback: More on workplace bullying and the recession: WBI Survey « Minding the Workplace

  3. Pingback: The Role of Unions and Collective Bargaining in Combating Workplace Bullying « Minding the Workplace

  4. Pingback: More evidence of management-by-bullying during the recession « Minding the Workplace

  5. This is so true. I knew it was happening everywhere. I work for the railroad and harassment is very high. Management is violating rules. Before I had to comply with the rules to stay out of trouble, now I have to violate the rules to stay out of trouble. Unbelievable!!!

  6. This site is very informative. I work for the rail road, and just very recently file a harassment/ threat/ violence complaint against my supervisor with the companies EEOC dept. Nothing has happened. I now feel more threatened; and acts of harassment have occurred against myself.

  7. I am experiencing harassment and bullying at my job in a credit union in Poughkeepsie, NY. I was shoved into a few times by an employee, although he was fired, and not for this act but for his incompetence, I am now being treated like I am the problem. Management is trying to push me out now by allowing other harassment to continue, and by causing some type of noise around me, especially, when I’m at lunch. I eat late and alone and they consistently come into the lunch room banging things, playing a radio loud, etc. The victim is punished for speaking out!

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