If you want to learn about the dynamics behind and the harm caused by workplace bullying, you owe it to yourself to listen to a tremendously insightful podcast (link here) by Dr. Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute.
The story of “Susan” and “Maude,” brilliantly told
Gary weaves a story of “Susan,” a once confident, highly competent employee who suffers a year-long campaign of targeted abuse at the hands of “Maude,” her new supervisor, culminating in her termination. Throughout the story, he explains the mounting psychological and physical harm that Susan experiences.
It’s a superb bit of narrative in roughly 12 minutes, capturing the essence of countless stories I’ve heard over the past decade.
Okay, I’m biased. I’ve been working with Gary and Ruth Namie since 1998, and they are colleagues and friends. But among the many times I’ve heard Gary speak, I found this podcast to be an especially useful teaching tool. He gets the detail and connects the dots as well as anyone I’ve encountered.
My only nitpick
In Gary’s summary of Susan’s legal options, he says that because her tormenter is a woman, discrimination laws could not help her. That’s likely given the facts of his scenario, but it’s worth noting that in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. (1998), the U.S. Supreme Court did hold that same-sex harassment claims are actionable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Thus, had Maude sexually harassed Susan, discrimination laws presumably would apply.