Boston Globe goes front page on workplace bullying

The Boston Globe‘s decision to put Beth Teitell’s excellent feature on workplace bullying on its Dec. 30 edition front page was a welcomed development to close out 2017. Among other things, it may be the first time that a major newspaper has given front page status to a piece on workplace bullying. Here’s the lede:

As workplaces of every imaginable kind are rocked in the national reckoning over abuses of sex and power, some say another, related issue waits in the shadows.

Experts say it can be more common and as damaging to its victims as sexual harassment, but with no clear definition in the law or widespread social recognition, it remains largely out of the public eye.

It’s called workplace bullying, although victims say the term doesn’t fully capture its power.

Of course, those of us who have become closely familiar with workplace bullying might quarrel with the article’s characterization of it being “in the shadows” and lacking wide recognition, but the underlying truth is that we’re talking about a very common and destructive form of workplace mistreatment that still doesn’t receive sufficient attention. Pieces like this one help to bring it out of the shadows and put a label to behaviors that too many have suffered with in silence.

Teitell gives a few snapshot examples of bullying at work:

…A former public school instructor who spoke to the Globe says she was denied the opportunity to sign group birthday and condolence cards after she challenged an administrator. Another person, a high-level state administrative assistant, said she was reassigned to reorganize a storage room, endlessly, according to an attorney she contacted.

In yet another case, a longtime state employee with peanut and tree allergies alleges her supervisor or one of two co-workers smeared peanut butter on a folder sitting on her desk. “They just thought it was a joke,” she said. “One day they stood outside my office door and sang a stupid song they made up about how much they love Almond Joys.”

The article doesn’t get into the more drawn out and deeply malicious accounts of bullying and mobbing that send shivers up our spines. Nevertheless, it covers a lot of ground and also gives a nod to the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, which is currently pending before the Massachusetts state legislature.

Equally important, of the 80+ comments left by readers, many understand what workplace bullying is all about, and many shared bits of their stories. It’s one of the few times that I’ll say the comments following a posted news article are worth reading.

This one of several articles on or mentioning workplace bullying that have been inspired by the numerous public revelations of workplace sexual harassment. I’ll have more to say about these linkages in a post this month.

3 responses

  1. When I was bullied out of my job, career, and livelihood in 2006 after being illegally fired after filing HUD Fair Housing complaint against my employer, I had already heard of work place violence/work place bullying. The Waterbury Republican American had published two articles about the subject with resources to contact for help. I studied work place bullying while still employed at the Housing Authority of the City of Torrington and quickly realized that I was a text book example!
    I met the criteria of a perfect victim in a perfect storm with my female Supervisor and Executive Director fitting the description of tyrants to a tee. The information I studied warned of confronting the abusers by explaining the well studied response of human resources, union bosses, and upper management who still operate in the blame the victim mode but I decided to confront my bullies any way and stood up for what I thought were my rights to equal opportunity and protection.
    This February will be 12 years since I lost almost everything I had worked all my life to obtain and had I known what I would face by standing against tyranny, despite everything, I would do it again. I continue to fight the unlawful employment discharge and the intense illegal retaliation that pursued that has lasted through to this day. The attacks I suffered for standing up for what I believe in and having lost my job for standing up for the tenants rights that were being violated have left me disabled since 2010 but I will never give up my long suffering pursuit of truth and justice with faith the size of a mustard seed that promises God will restore all the years the locusts ate away.
    The Civil Rights and all other laws that should have protected me from the onslaught of illegal retaliation will be enforced in my favor and I will be made whole in all ways. God alone has sustained me through a very hard path of choosing right over the gross wrong doing that I and many tenants of the Torrington Housing Authority suffered. Those responsible for this massive waste of public funds used to defend illegal Labor, Fair Housing, Civil and ADA violations and fraud/conspiracy to commit fraud will be held accountable to the highest level of law- God’s Law! He is the only True Judge and regardless of the worldly outcome of this legal dispute, I have already won! I stand proud and sure in my conviction and will take my stripes any day to be the Servant of God All Mighty and His Son Jesus Christ rather than to be an enemy of God and all of the Natural rights He bestowed through the founding of this Nation and the foundation of law for which We all stand- the U.S. Constitution. Every soul who has fought to preserve those rights and gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve them are on My side as they stand with the entire company heaven and fellow Patriots with boots on the ground to win this battle for which God has already won the war on The Cross of Salvation and the ultimate blood shed for us all.
    My many political enemies have chosen who they serve, the love of money, power, ego and greed has taken us all down a path of much sorrow, war and pain and they failed the test for which we are all sent to take that proves our devotion to either God and Heaven or Man and Earth. Man and Earth will pass away but the Divine Reign of Our Creator lives forever! I passed the test for Me and My House serve The Lord and I pray my enemies decide to choose the same.
    There has always been a legal remedy that my fierce evil opponents chose for the past 12 years not to take, but now they have no other option because God’s promised victory is near! I will be made whole in ALL ways, God will restore all the years the locusts ate away and the Divine intervention will prove My Destiny to be Who God created Me to be and not who evil man has tried but failed to make me.
    2018- God speed to truth and my long suffering pursuit of justice!

    • I lived through it…am wondering if I’ll ever fall asleep without terror, and if I’ll ever get over this numbness…really appreciated the book THE SHACK for the perspective on getting out of the way, G-d will take care of it…

  2. I experienced severe workplace bullying and mobbing while working in an active adult community, filed a toxic/hostile work environment and resigned. Nothing was done to protect me after I went to management, their so-called HR representative, and a 10-member resident HOA board and two of their attorneys. I reported multiple violations to the organizational and personnel policy manual, including allowed alcohol consumption where some employees consumed wine at their desks while others, including me, worked and residents were still present in the building. I was falsely accused of wrongdoing, my work interfered and sabotaged, and although I worked in a secured locked office, my desk and computer were tampered with multiple times. Someone downloaded shocking pornography on my computer but there was no sense of urgency by management or security to investigate it when reported. Some employees used extremely lewd and offensive profanity but nothing changed when reported. I was screamed at by two employees for reporting the wine in the office which went on for years. I endured demeaning, insulting and condescending remarks by some coworkers. I was mobbed at a health fair where my personal employment information was divulged to health vendors prior to informing me. There was no accountability to enforce the policies designed to protect employees and residents. Weak oversight, feckless, and abusive bullying conduct. I have since become a strong advocate for the Healthy Workplace campaign to help others.

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