AlterNet, one of the leading progressive, online news aggregators and publishers, has run a lengthy piece on workplace bullying by Alyssa Figueroa, emphasizing the frequency and mental health impacts of abusive mistreatment at work. Here’s a snippet:
“Anything that affects 65 million Americans is an epidemic,” said Gary Namie, co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute. “But it’s an un-discussable epidemic because employers don’t want this discussed.”
Not talking about work abuse has, in turn, normalized the violence, fear and power structure inherent to the phenomenon.
As Namie said, “Work abuse doesn’t shock Americans anymore.”
…While we try to explain away work abuse, its victims are quietly suffering anxiety, depression and even PTSD. In one extreme example, Carrie Clark, a former teacher and school administrator, developed such severe PTSD she suffered permanent brain damage that left her with a speech impediment.
“It’s shameful when you’re being targeted at work. It’s such an embarrassment. That had never happened to me before. I loved working. … I had quite the career,” Clark said of the months she was targeted by her boss.
The article is a good one that covers a lot of ground, but pieces detailing the frequency and impact of workplace bullying are nothing new. What makes this especially noteworthy is its appearance on a politically progressive news site, connecting workplace bullying to larger issues of workers’ rights.
Although the effects of workplace bullying on workers and their families are well known, placing this issue on the liberal agenda has not been easy. Over the years, mainstream media, public health media, the business press, and to some extent, the legal press, have given workplace bullying far much more coverage than progressive and labor-oriented news sources.
So, hat’s off to AlterNet and to Alyssa Figueroa for this piece. I hope it sends a message to other progressive journalists that workplace bullying is a violation of human dignity and human rights that merits their attention.