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As submitted to 9 to5 National Association of Working Women October, 2009 Newsletter

WORKPLACE BULLYING

In a Toxic Work Environment, It Won’t Hurt to Look at Your Options

 

I am a California Healthy Workplace Advocate and affiliated with the Workplace Bullying Institute’s legislative campaign for a Healthy Workplace bill (http://www.workplacebullyinglaw.org).   Currently, there are no laws that protect employees against workplace bullying.  The legislative campaign for a Healthy Workplace bill is growing and gaining momentum in several states and in two Canadian provinces.  There are laws to protect employees against sexual harassment, but not against workplace bullying which is just as pervasive in the workplace, and likely more damaging to the target.

It is instinctual to want to report workplace bullying.  However, in most cases, Human Resources (HR) is not your friend.  HR represents management.  When you report what has happened to you, you will likely be perceived as the problem and may then endure retaliation.  HR will contact your supervisor to say that you reported a problem.  If you are reporting a supervisor or a manager, management will likely protect that individual and not you.  Also, be careful of who you confide in.  Managers are friendly with other managers—they are expected to be in a club of their own.  Going up the ladder to complain may not garner you the results you had hoped for.  You will be labeled a troublemaker.  It may be difficult for you to find allies who will be sympathetic to your situation because co-workers are usually afraid to get involved or to speak up. 

If you are being bullied, start looking at your options and ask yourself, “Do I really want to work in this job?”  “Is my health and sanity worth it?”  You may want to seek an immediate transfer if you work in a large organization.  If you work for a small company, you may have no choice but to look for another job.  If you cannot find a transfer to another department due to blacklisting, you may have to look for another job or suffer in silence. 

I know several workers who transferred out to lower paying positions rather than to continue working in a toxic work environment.  These workers realized that nothing happened to the bully even though there were numerous complaints.  According to a Zogby International poll conducted for the Workplace Bullying Institute, only 23% of bullies are ever punished for their abusive behaviors in the workplace.

In what is now being called “The Great Recession,” it is a difficult choice to make whether to stay on the job and suffer in silence or to seek another job.  California unemployment statistics for August 2009 showed 12.2% of workers were unemployed.  It is important to note that government agencies do not track those workers who drop off the unemployment benefits list, yet who may not have found a job. 

Career experts suggest that workers should not quit a job before lining up another job or have a plan.  With fewer jobs and many more job applicants, it isn’t easy to find a job these days.  Thus, it is important to have a plan and savings to tide you over until another job can be found.  Some workers are going back to school to learn new job skills.  Take the time and look at your options.

If your supervisor is a bully and you have been written up numerous times, chances are a paper trail is being created and that is a sure sign that your days may be numbered.  It won’t hurt to update your résumé, obtain job letters of recommendations, and check out your local newspaper’s on-line “Career Builder” for jobs.  No one need know that you are looking for another job other than those that you have asked to write a letter of recommendation.

If you are experiencing anxiety and depression, please seek help immediately by seeing a doctor and asking for a referral to a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.  It is important to take care of yourself.  Do this while you still have health insurance coverage.  If you don’t have health insurance, seek out a local community mental health organization.  It is important to have medical records that document the stress and anxiety you will likely be experiencing.  The stress you are feel may manifest itself in other ways including high blood pressure, weight gain/loss, lack of sleep, gastrointestinal problems, etc.

In this difficult economy, it isn’t easy to quit a job; but one must ask, “Is it worth it?”  Only the individual that is bullied can answer this question.   In time, the toxic work environment will affect your health, your relationships, and your career.  It may be time to start a new job search because “work shouldn’t hurt.”

 

UPDATES:
5/4/2009   Illinois Healthy Workplace Advocates -
IllinoisHWA are proud to announce that HJR 40, the study bill for the Abusive Work Environments Act, has passed with a unanimous floor vote of the Illinois House of Representatives.  The bill's sponsor, Representative Art Turner, has told us he fully expects this bill to pass easily through the Illinois Senate.  We have Senator William Delgado's support for this effort.
To read about House Joint Resolution 40, visit:  http://ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=40&GAID=10&DocTypeID=HJR&LegId=47520&SessionID=76&GA=96

Our goal is to include both public and private sector employees in the "Abusive Workplace Environments Act."  The bill that was sent to the Rules Committee (HB 374) only applied to public employees.  In the short run, this seems like a setback.  In the long run, we may do better as a State to include all workers because "work shouldn't hurt!"

The text HJR 40 is linked to the above site and uses the language "workplace bullying."  We are happy with this progress and will keep you well informed as time passes.  It would be a valued gesture now to thank House Majority leader Art Turner for the valued work he has done for this very important legislation.  E-mail: turneral@ilga.gov  or (217) 782-8116. While you are at it, wish him well in his bid for Lt. Governor in 2010.

illinoishwa.org      Illinois Healthy Workplace Advocates

* 

3/23/2009 In Massachusetts, the full version of the Healthy Workplace Bill has been filed by State Senator and Assistant Majority Leader Joan Menard, Senate No. 699, making it the 11th state this year to introduce the HWB into active legislation. Congratulations, the race is on!

 *
3/12/09 Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, reponds to a question about workplace bullying.  See the question and answer at
"...my name is Shirley Miles and I work at the overseas building operation.  My question is what would be your plans for addressing workplace bullying of women, an issue that I know you would have zero tolerance for?"
"SECRETARY CLINTON:  I do have zero tolerance for it.  (Applause.)  You know, I have zero tolerance for any kind of bullying.  I find it intolerable."
*
2/24/09 - Watch Good Morning America's segment on "Women Bullies in the Workplace" at http://abcnews.go.com/gma 
*
As of  March, 2009, our grassroots movement has 26 States with citizen lobbyist coordinators promoting the Healthy Workplace Bill to their state legislators! 11 States have active legislation this year. Which state will lead the way in advancing human rights for all of us by correcting and preventing workplace bullying?

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-whistleblower27-2009feb27,0,1906475.story?track=rss

Whistle-blowers get protection from California Supreme Court

State workers who suffer retaliation gain the right to sue for damages even if their cases lose before a civil service board.
By Maura Dolan
February 27, 2009
Whistle-blowers in state government received protection Thursday from the California Supreme Court in a case in which a low-level employee reported that her superior had violated a regulation she was supposed to enforce.

The state high court gave whistle-blowers who suffer retaliation the right to sue for hefty damages in court even if they lose their case before a civil service board.

"The Legislature enacted the California Whistleblower Protection Act to protect the right of state employees 'to report waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violation of law or threat to public health without fear of retribution,' " Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for a unanimous court.

"In adopting the act, the Legislature expressly found 'that public servants best serve the citizenry when they can be candid and honest without reservation in conducting the people's business.' "

The decision was a victory for Carole M. Arbuckle, who worked for the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners, which regulates chiropractors.

Arbuckle received a telephone inquiry in 2001 about the license of Dr. Sharon Ufberg, who was then chairwoman of the state board. Arbuckle discovered that Ufberg's license, required for board members, had lapsed several months earlier.

Within 15 minutes of getting the report, Arbuckle said, Ufberg called her and explained that she had forgotten to pay her license renewal. Ufberg paid it later that day. But Arbuckle noted on an "information line" in the computer database that Ufberg's license had been invalid from January until May 11, 2001.

During the next several months, Arbuckle issued citations to other chiropractors who had practiced without a license. Fines ranged from $100 to $5,000. Arbuckle said she asked the board's then-executive director several times whether she should cite Ufberg. She was told to take no action, she said.

"In the wake of these events, Arbuckle confronted a stressful work environment, including numerous indignities, disputes and acts of favoritism," the court said, reporting her allegations. Arbuckle eventually was transferred to a different unit.

Arbuckle filed a retaliation complaint in 2002 with the State Personnel Board, which oversees the state civil service workforce. An investigator recommended dismissing her complaint, saying she had not proved the job actions were a result of whistle-blowing.

Arbuckle then sued in Sacramento County Superior Court. An appeals court in Sacramento dismissed her suit, ruling that she had not pursued all administrative appeals. The appeals decision also said state employees could pursue a lawsuit only if the state personnel board agreed with their claims.

Arbuckle and her then-superiors no longer work for the licensing board.

Brian Stiger, executive officer of the board, said the governor appoints its members, who receive $100 for each meeting attended and travel expenses. Being on the board carries "a lot of prestige," he said.

Bruce Monfross, acting chief counsel of the State Personnel Board, said it handles about 55 whistle-blower cases a year out of a total caseload of 5,000.

Most whistle-blower claims fail, he said.

"Retaliation claims aren't the easiest cases in the world to prove," Monfross said.

Ufberg, who is on sabbatical from a medical office in New York, could not be reached for comment.

maura.dolan@latimes.com

Bullying makes joke of our legal system –

Bullybusters have long acknowledged that serious, severe bullying can take place in a jury room where all deliberations occur behind closed doors. 
Check out this story from Santa Ana, California.  An Orange County sheriff’s corruption trial evolved into one juror’s complaint to the judge and later to press that a fellow-juror was bullying his peers.  The corrupt sheriff was acquitted last week of conspiracy and four other counts and convicted only of witness tampering.  According to the complaint, the bullying juror slept through much of the trial.
If a juror wants a quick end to his assignment, bullying can be very effective.
If a defendant wants an acquittal, jury tampering can be very effective, as bullies can be bought. 
If a juror is willing and able to bully the other eleven jurors, our judicial system is a joke. 
http://www.sfgate.info/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/01/21/state/n155429S02.DTL
Judge reveals juror notes in ex-OC sheriff's trial
Wednesday, January 21, 2009  (01-21) 17:22 PST Santa Ana, CA (AP) --
A juror who served in the corruption trial of former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona said he felt he might be threatened and that another panelist wanted to acquit in order to "party" with the defendant, according to a note unsealed by the judge on Wednesday. Carona, 53, was acquitted last week of conspiracy and four other counts and convicted only of witness tampering.
"There are certain persons who slept all through the presentations, who have not written down a single word in their trial notes, but have suddenly 'come alive' and just want to acquit," juror No. 3 said in a Jan. 14 note. "Further on, there is a juror who wishes to acquit who, I believe, wants to party with Carona and his women."  "I think I may be threatened," the note continued. "There are other jurors who feel the way I do."
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Guilford talked to the juror and ordered him to return to deliberations after the man said he did not really feel threatened, defense attorney Brian Sun said. Another juror, Marcia Deatherage, told the Los Angeles Times that she also felt intimidated and that most of the pressure came from a single juror.
"This guy very candidly stood up and said, 'I don't even know why the government even brought the case,'" Deatherage said. "He felt Carona was not guilty of anything. It kind of set a tone for an upset in the jury room. He was kind of a bully. ... Without him as a juror, I think we would have had more counts we would have found (Carona) guilty on."
Much of the trial focused on allegations Carona took bribes from a millionaire who was made an assistant sheriff. Carona's wife and a former mistress are awaiting trial on related charges. Some jurors told reporters after the trial that they believed Carona was guilty but the statute of limitations had expired on most of the crimes.
Juror No. 3's allegations were "absolute nonsense," the jury foreman told the Orange County Register. "I never heard of anyone wanting to party with Carona. No one wants to see Carona. He did a lot of bad things," said the foreman, who identified himself only by his first name of Surj. Some panelists "nodded off" during proceedings but they were careful during deliberations, he said.

No. 3 leaned toward convictions and was upset because others seemed to be favoring acquittal on most counts, Surj said.  The judge also unsealed a note in which juror No. 9 asked to see him on an unspecified matter "about your jury, which I feel should be brought to your attention."

Carona will be sentenced in April. The witness tampering conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison but prosecutors say he probably will get only two or three years.
2008

Contact: Workplace Bullying Institute (360) 656-6630 namie@workplacebullying.org

Rampant Workplace Bullying Ignored by Employers

http://workplacebullying.org

In a new Labor Day 2008 study conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), bullied workers report that employers predominantly do nothing to stop the mistreatment when reported (53%). Employers actually retaliated against the person (in 71% of cases) who dared to report it.

Four hundred (400) respondents completed an online Employer Response survey at the WBI website, a self-selected sample. In 2007, WBI wrote, and Zogby International conducted, the first scientific U.S. survey of workplace bullying.

With 7,740 respondents, the WBI-Zogby poll found that 37% of the workforce directly experienced mistreatment characterized as either verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation or sabotage of work. An additional 12% of adult Americans witnessed bullying at work. It was shown to be undeniably common.

According to the 2008 WBI survey using the same definition, in 40% of cases, targets considered the employer's "investigation" to be inadequate or unfair with less than 2% of investigations described as fair and safe for the bullied person. Filing complaints led to retaliation by employers of bullied targets leading to lost jobs (24%). Alleged bullies were punished in only 6.2% of cases. Bullying is done with impunity.

The online Co-Worker Response survey of 400 different respondents found that coworkers were nearly as unhelpful as employers. In 46% of bullying cases, coworkers abandoned their bullied colleagues, to the extent that 15% aggressed against the target along with the bully. Coworkers did nothing in 16% of cases. They took positive steps 36% of the time -- limited to offering moral support. The rarest outcome (less than 1%) was for coworkers to band together to stop the bullying through confrontation. Coworkers' personal fears were the preferred explanation (55%) by bullied targets for the actions taken or not taken by witnesses.

"Despite recent major business headlines (Wall Street Journal: Lawyers & employers take fight to bullies ; Business Week: Employers can't ignore workplace bullying), and the costs associated with bullying, it is obviously going to take the passage of anti-bullying laws to get employers to take bullying seriously," speculates Gary Namie, WBI Director. The WBI-Legislative Campaign is responsible for the introduction of the anit-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in 13 states since 2003. Coordinators are active in 21 states and one Canadian province.

Results found at: http://bullyinginstitute.org/wbi2008.html

http://boston.bizjournals.com/boston/stories/2008/08/18/story1.html

Business News - Local NewsClick here to find out more!

Bullies beware: Employees have more options — including court — to confront bad bosses

Boston Business Journal - by Lisa van der Pool Boston Business Journal

To the chagrin of employees everywhere, it’s not illegal for bosses to be jerks. But a recent jury decision to award a $325,000 judgment for assault to a hospital technician who was bullied by a supervising surgeon has captured the attention of the legal community and called into question whether plaintiffs now have more ammunition going into workplace bullying cases.
In the Indiana Supreme Court case in April, the plaintiff testified that he was confronted by his supervising surgeon who threatened him with “clenched fists, piercing eyes ... and popping veins,” according to press reports. The plaintiff’s expert in the case then described the confrontation as “workplace bullying” and termed the surgeon a “workplace abuser,” although there is actually no legal claim for workplace bullying.
“The ability to bring an assault claim is not surprising at all,” said Joshua M. Davis, an employment lawyer at the law firm Goulston & Storrs PC in Boston. “What’s interesting about the case is that the plaintiff tried to offer evidence about workplace bullying.”
Because there is no workplace bullying legal claim, U.S. workers have few legal methods to stop bullies who manage through intimidation, fear, and the occasional tossed chair, but some lawmakers are calling for a change in Massachusetts law that would place more liability on the employer.
Meanwhile, employment lawyers say that companies need to establish policies designed to discourage office bullies, who fuel lost productivity, costly attrition and poisonous office cultures. The issue is especially urgent, according to some, because bullies tend to act out more during economic downturns, as all workers face increased pressure to deliver results with fewer resources.
The phenomenon of workplace bullying is widespread. About 37 percent of American workers, or about 54 million people, said that they’ve been bullied at work in a 2007 online survey of 7,740 people last year from The Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash. According to the survey, bullying is four times more prevalent than illegal forms of harassment such as sex harassment or age discrimination. The survey also found that 72 percent of bullies are bosses and that women are targeted by bullies more frequently.
Only 3 percent of bullied workers file lawsuits, according to the survey.
“We’re still at a point where a lot of companies don’t want to cover workplace bullying because it’s not required by law,” said David Yamada, a professor of law at Suffolk University and director of the New Workplace Institute in Boston.
Yamada, who defines workplace bullying as “severe, repeated, malicious mistreatment of a worker to the point where there is demonstrated physical and psychological harm,” has penned proposed legislation called “The Healthy Workplace Bill” that would provide certain legal protections for workers who have been targeted by an office bully, including compensation. The legislation would also impose liability on both the individual perpetrator and his or her employer. Yamada is currently seeking a legislative sponsor for the bill.
“I think we need to fill in that gap in the law,” said Yamada. “It’s a tough balancing act. You want to give people who’ve been severely mistreated some legal right to claim compensation, but you don’t want to open the floodgates to frivolous litigation.”
State Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, is the sponsor of “An Act Relative to Bullying in the Workplace,” a bill that has been floating around the Legislature since 2005. The bill is dead for the year but her office plans on re-introducing it into next year’s session. Story’s bill focuses on requiring companies to establish anti-harassment policies, among other things.
Specific anti-bullying policies at companies are rare, but most businesses have anti-harassment policies, according to Philip J. Gordon, an employee-side lawyer at Gordon Law Group LLP in Boston, who has seen an uptick in calls about bullying recently.
“The problem with companies is not that they don’t have good policies, it’s that they don’t follow them,” said Gordon. “Bullying isn’t good for employee retention. Your culture stinks if you have a bully in the office and your employees won’t stay.”
Indeed, human resources departments should be ready to flag potential bullies and confront them about their behavior, said Jay Hargis, author of the blog “HRCleanup” and a vice president at human resources management firm Profiles International Inc. Hargis, who calls office bullies “culture misfits,” says that bullying tends to get worse in times of stress. “HR needs to be braver and really get in and address these kinds of problems quickly,” said Hargis.
Meanwhile, employees being bullied are left with few options. When Davis gets calls about office bullies, he checks to see if there is an underlying age, sex or race discrimination problem and then he evaluates whether the bully’s actions will create a negative atmosphere that might lead to a lawsuit.
Recently Davis came across a situation where a supervisor routinely called his employees at home, after hours, to complain about the quality of work they’d done during the day. One of his female employees claimed that he was causing her emotional distress, but she was unable to prove it in court.
“The danger of not taking action against people who mistreat employees is that it makes the company look like they endorse that behavior,” said Davis.

Lisa van der Pool can be reached at lvanderpool@bizjournals.com.

All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.

http://www.wichitanaacpblog.com/2008/07/from-convention-complete-list-of-all.html

Friday, July 18, 2008 - SEE RESOLUTION #15 BELOW:

From the Convention: The complete list of all Resolutions considered at the 2008 NAACP Convention

Here is the complete list of all resolutions considered at the 2008 NAACP Annual Convention.

Note: Some resolutions were abbreiveated or excerpted for brevity

The Resolution process begins with a local unit (or branch) who drafts a proposed policy or resolution. That resolution must be approved by the general membership of that unit. The proposed resolution is then brought before the State Conference for ratification. Once ratified by the State Conference at it's quarterly meeting, the proposed resolution is then forwarded to the National Resolution committee where it is reviewed and prepared for the annual resolution session.


Within the resolution session, all registered voting delegates to the convention are able to stand up and speak to each proposed policy or initiative. After debate, each is brought to a vote and if successful, it becomes binding NAACP policy.


1. NAACP Centennial Commemoration by Local, State, and National Governmental Authorities
Resolved: That all units of the NAACP shall petition their local, state, and national elected and appointed officials to issue proclamations dated February 12, 2009, honoring the NAACP and its work, and commemorating the NAACP's 100th anniversary.

2. Strengthening the African American Family
Resolved: That the NAACP in coalition with the faith community and other grassroots organizations lead a public campaign highlighting the need for promoting individual and collective community responsibilities along with public policies to assist African American families that alleviate the impact of criminal activity, inadequate health care and insufficient educational support on the African American community. And that the NAACP advocate through its units and promote activities that will strengthen and fortify the African American family structure.

3. Supporting continued sovereignty and Federal recognition of the Shinnecock Tribal Nation and the Unkechaug Tribal Nation
Resolved: That the NAACP will continue to support and advocate for all legitimate claims for Native American federal recognition in general, including the Shinnecock and Unkechang Nations and the protections for Native American burial grounds.

4. Honoring John Roberts "JR" Clifford
Resolved: That civil Rights Pioneer John Roberts "JR" Clifford will be honored along with others as the NAACP moves towards it centennial celebration

5. Promoting non-discriminatory adoption and usage of broadband Internet & information technologies
Resolved: That the NAACP shall object to any corporate or governmental policies that increase costs, impede deployment, discourage adoption and usage, limit consumer access, reduce local commentary, or State oversight or that of public utilities commissions, public hearings, or other forums for citizen input and reduce affordability of broadband technologies AND that the NAACP will call upon its members to educate themselves and others on the importance of adoption and usage of broadband technologies.

6. Release of William Mayo
Resolved: That Local and State units as well as the National office, will advocate for Federal Legislation that would provide for an automatic retrial when testimony offer at a jury trial that leads to a conviction is later recanted AND that NAACP units will assist the Cincinnati Branch as requested in calling for the release of Johnathan Mayo and Troy Davis from their wrongful incarcerations.

7. Jury Panels
Resolved: That units of the NAACP will recommend and advocate to State and Local officials to reevaluate and restructure Jury selection procedures to increase non-white representation in jury pools.

8. Abolition of Life Sentences for Juvenile defendants
Resolved: That NAACP Units should call upon their respective legislatures to abolish life sentences for juvenile defendants

9. NAACP Opposes the transfer of Youth to the Adult Criminal Justice System
Resolved: That the NAACP will work to end the excessive practice of youth being tried in the adult criminal justice system and to insure that young people are appropriately adjudicated in ways that enhance community rehabilitation, safety and stability, AND that the NAACP shall strongly oppose any policies, statutes, or laws that increase the number of youth transferred into the adult criminal justice system or the number of youth held in adult prisons or jails.

10. Hangman's Nooses as a Hate Crime
Resolved: That the NAACP shall adopt a position of zero tolerance in opposing the conduct of anyone who uses the hangman's noose to intimidate, threaten, or assault....

11. Privatizing and Outsourcing Manufacturing jobs in prisons is contributing to low wages.
Resolved: that NAACP units will advocate before Local, State, and Federal policy making bodies to adopt regulations that will require prisons and private contractors to pay a living wage, and that the money earned by prisoners shall be divided equally between an amount paid to the prisoners during their incarceration, a victims assistance fund, child support payments, and a trust fund to be made available to the prisoner upon release AND that units will advocate for legislation requiring Companies that utilize and benefit from prison labor to offer the same or commensurate health care and other benefits to inmates and their family members that said companies offer to their other employees.

12. Educational Improvements
Resolved: That the NAACP will reaffirm its efforts to advocate for the increased collection of and transparency in accountability data so that the public and the school systems become more aware of the race, origin, and class dimensions related to the allocation of various qualities of educational services AND that the NAACP should enter into litigation against any governmental agencies that refuse to provide proper educational opportunities.

13. Support of remedial Education for youth who are over the age of 18 and not in High School
Resolved: That NAACP units shall actively advocate for the continued funding of programs designed to ensure that remedial educational opportunities are available for persons over 18, who are lacking basic literacy and math skills.

14. Oppose Wal-mart and Other Retailers Unfair Labor Practices
Resolved: That the NAACP will challenge Wal-Mart and other retailers to overcome any of their practices that are inconsistent with the highest standards of Labor and Civil Rights, to ensure equal opportunity and equal pay for Women, people of color and other minorities, and work with local communities to effectively address Wal-Mart's and other retailers negative impact on issues like the environment and local businesses, and establish a "Buy American" program that annually increases the percentage of "Made in America" goods purchased by Wal-Mart and Other retailers to help protect American Jobs.

15. Workplace Bullying
Resolved: That NAACP Units at all levels will seek legislation at all appropriate levels to deem workplace bullying illegal.

16. An Act to Re-Affirm Resolutions previously adopted on Environmental Racism and to further oppose the planning and location of Level 4 Bio-Safety Laboratories and Hazardous facilities designated for densely populated areas.
Resolved: That the NAACP Re-Affirms all previous policies on Environmental racism (1993, 1996, 2000, & 2001) and that NAACP State and Local units should work with community organizations and citizens to prevent level 4 bio-safety laboratories and hazardous facilities from being placed within densely populated areas and shall advocate for legislation to prohibit the same.

17. Health Disparities
Resolved: That the NAACP will identify at least one county in each region where health disparities are most disproportionate among African Americans, poor people, and senior citizens and develop an advocacy, educational, and legal strategy to improved selected element of the system that are responsible for the disparity AND NAACP units at all levels will advocate to federal, state, and local governmental agencies and partner with different organizations or health care systems to establish and maintain programs that will bring information to teens, adults, ad families for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

18. The Impact of Autism
Resolved: The NAACP will lobby for increased Governmental spending for research on the causes and cure of Autism.

19. The NAACP supports efforts to further disaggregate Heathcare data by Race and Ethnicity
Resolved: That the NAACP supports efforts to ensure the accurate collection and reporting of data by heath care providers, programs, and plans about patients and the care they receive; broken down by race and ethnicity.

20. Support for Public Housing Residents
Resolved: That the National Office of the NAACP will encourage and support a Federal Policy that provides for "one for one" replacement of public housing units that are razed or demolished AND that NAACP units at all levels should monitor and pursue actions to ensure that the residents of Public Housing are afforded the full social, political, educational, and economic opportunities available for all residents throughout the nation.

21. Bylaws change - Advisors for Youth & College Chapters (Article V, Sections 10b, 12a, 12e, and 13)
Resolved: That all Faculty advisors, High School Chapter advisors, Youth Council advisors, and Junior Youth Council advisors shall serve as Ex-Officio members of their respective chapter or councils without voting rights.

22. Bylaws change - Disposition of records; Youth Units (Article VI, Section 3e, f, & g)
Resolved: Language added to the section which reads - All minutes and other official records are the property of the Youth Unit and shall be promptly transferred to the newly elected and qualified officers within 30 days after the election. Non-compliance with terms herein shall be considered conduct that is inimical to the best interests of the NAACP, meriting disciplinary action pursuant to Article X.

23. Bylaws change - Executive Committee in the Bylaws for Units (Article VIII, Section 1b)
Resolved: Language changed within the section - All references to Youth Councils replaced with references to Youth Units

24. Bylaws change - Youth Works committee (Article VIII, Section 51k)
Resolved: Language changed within the section - All references to Youth Councils replaced with references to Youth Units

25. Representation of behavior Not in the best interest of the association
Resolved: That the NAACP shall codify guidelines to become an appendage of the constitution and bylaws to highlight the penalties for infractions of the code of the NAACP

26. Peace Resolution
Resolved: that the NAACP actively engage , using its NGO status in the pursuit for peace and stability in Darfur AND that the NAACP request that the President of the United States advocate for peace and an end to the Human Rights abuses in China, Darfur, and Burma

27. Minority Business Participation in Government Contracts
Resolved: that the NAACP call upon Congress, the SBA, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and all Federal Local ad State Agencies to: 1) promote the use of MBE's in Federal, State, and Local contract and sub-contracts; 2) provide more oversight and monitoring of contracts for compliance in using MBE and small disadvantaged businesses; 3) call for the enforcement of existing laws and penalties on agencies and prime contractors that fail to comply; and 4) that the federal government be precluded from suspending these requirements based upon exigent circumstances

28. Calling for the NAACP to begin mobilization efforts for Census 2010
Resolved: That each State/State Area conference designate a Census 2010 committee to assist units in their jurisdiction to ensure that information and resources are properly deployed AND that the NAACP will advocate to the US Congress and the US Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census that for the purposes of the 2010 census, that all prisoners be enumerated as residents of the census tract wherein they were domiciled at the time of their arrest and/or conviction

29. Supporting Legislation to create a Department of Peace and Non-Violence
Resolved: That the NAACP expresses its support for the enactment of H.R.808, to create a United States Department of Peace and Non-Violence.

30. NAACP calls for passage of New Federal Legislation to Regulate International Vulture Funds and prevent further Exploitation of poor and underdeveloped nations
-Point of Information- a Vulture fund is a financial organization that profits by buying up poor country debt in default on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar, then attempting to charge up to ten times the purchase price by suing the impoverished country in US or European courts.
Resolved: That the NAACP strongly supports forthcoming legislation and grassroots efforts to limit vulture fund profits and decrease the incentive to purchase/litigate on sovereign debt and increase transparency through mandatory filing in US/UK for purchases of foreign debt AND the NAACP strongly supports forthcoming legislation and grassroots efforts that will establish an international bankruptcy framework, binding on all creditors, which would force vultures to comply with debt cancellation and/or debt restructuring efforts.

31. NAACP Support for Present and Future Green jobs appropriations and policies
Resolved: That the NAACP shall advocate for the present and continued funding for the Green Jobs act and for the inclusion of African Americans and other people of color's rightful place in the emerging new green energy sectors and sustainable economies.

32. NAACP Supports applying the decision by the US Sentencing Commission to reduce Mandatory sentences for people convicted of Crack Cocaine possesion retroactively
Resolved: That the NAACP strongly supports making the May 2007 amendment by the US Sentencing Commission retroactive to those currenttly incarcerated for Crack Cocaine convictions AND that the NAACP reiterates its strong support for one-to-one sentencing ranges for crack and powder cocaine sentences.

33. NAACP supports Reauthorization of the Juvenile Justce Delinquency and Prevention Act
Resolved: That the NAACP supports the updating of the JJDPA to decrease over-reliance on detention, detention of statuts offenders, promote effective community-based alternatives to detention and incarceration, and reduce racial disparities in the justive system.

34. NAACP supports a new look at the Federal Budget in FY 2009
Resolved: That the NAACP supports a shift in the current federal budget away from defense and military spending and will continue to fight for increased federal support and funding for public education, affordable housing, health care access and quality initiative, crime preventioin, job training and creation, small business promotion, the protection of our basic civil rights and liberties, energy assistance, the protection of workers rights, and continued assistance for those devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

35. NAACP calls for federal action to End the Home Foreclosure Crisis
Resolved: That the NAACP strongly supports strong anti-predatory lending legislation that establishes higher standards for loan originators and provides stronger penalties and remedies for lenders who break the law, as well as ensuring that any final federal product is the minimumm and that states be allowed to continue to be more aggressive in eliminating predatory lending.

36. Support of Veterans Unity with the Community
Resolved: That the NAACP identify resources, services, and programs in the community that will help assist and educate veterens with Health care, dental care, education, mental health and PTSD, enterprenueship, employment, housing and homeownership, issues unique to female veterens, homeless veterans, formerly incarcerated veterens, and information and access to VA benefits.

37. Quality Military Healthcare
Resolved: That the NAACP calls upon Congress to enact legislation to restructure the healthcare delivery system for active duty military personnel, veterens, and their families, to gurantee access to existing VA facilities and private sector healthcare providers for both physical and mental healthcare needs, including necessary medications.

38. NAACP supports Proposed Popular Vote initiative
Resolved: That the NAACP supports National "Popular Vote" legislation AND that the NAACP supports a Constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College.

39. Emergency Resolution - NAACP continues to suport laws to prevent Gun violence and increase gun safety
-Point of Information- Emergency Resolutions may be brought to the floor as written or approved by the President or Chair without having gone through the normal resolution process
Resolved: That the NAACP continues to support safe, sane, and sensible gunn safety legislative initiatives which would make it harder for people with questionable motives and or diminished mental capacity to obtain firearms, either through legal or illegal means AND the NAACP supports an renewal of the assualt weapons ban with a provision that makes it permenant.

40. Emergency Resolution - The NAACP continues to oppose the Dealth Penalty and supports the creation of a commission to investigate the current disparities plaguing the Federal Death Penatly Sentencing Process
Resolved: That the NAACP supports teh communiting of Mr. Troy Anthony Davis' death sentence in light of the new and compelling information regarding the crime of which he is accused AND the NAACP reiterates its continuing opposition to the death penalty at the State and Federal level AND the NAACP strongly supports legislation to be introduced by Senator Russ Feingold (WI) The National Commission on Capitol Punishment Act of 2008

41. The NAACP supports efforts to stop and reverse the dramatic increase in fuel prices; and supports long term, aggressive energy policy
Resolved: That the NAACP strongly supports comprehensive public, private, domestic, and multi-national strategies to address the immediate problems being faced by Americans, and disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and small business owners, most notably comercial truckers as a result of higher fuel costs.

42. NAACP Condemns the Islamaphobic, mean spirited, tasteless, and racially offensive July 21st 2008 New Yorker Magazine Cover
Resolved: That the NAACP decries the July 21st 2008 New Yorker magazine cover as tasteless, mean spirited, Islamaphobic, and racially offensive AND calls on every American who is similarly offended to contact the New Yorker magazine either by email at
themail@newyorker.com or by post at The Mail, the New Yorker, 4 Times Square, New York NY 10036.

The Huntsville Times 

Bullies taking toll in workplace

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
By VICTORIA CUMBOW
Times Staff Writer victoria.cumbow@htimes.com
Companies must fight 'epidemic,' speaker says. There's a silent epidemic plaguing America, but it's one most people don't think about.
"More than 37 percent of our work force is bullied," said Jennifer Starace, client services manager for Business Resource Solutions. "That's 54 million people in our work force."
Starace, who labeled those numbers as an epidemic, spoke in Huntsville on Tuesday to the North Alabama chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. She talked about bullying in the workplace, how to prevent it and its effects on a company's bottom line.
Starace said when someone is bullied in the workplace, he or she does not want to work or even be at work, causing attendance and production to decline. It also causes stress and tension in the victim, which can raise a company's health care costs. She said bullying also can lead to higher legal costs as well as increased turnover.
"All of this affects a company's return on investment," she said.
The Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash., said most workplace bullying originates in childhood bullying.
"Childhood bullying and workplace bullying are extremely similar," Starace said. "It's not new, and it has serious consequences."
Starace said 60 percent of childhood bullies are convicted of crimes by the age of 24, and 40 percent of those have been convicted more than once.
Such statistics, she said, show where the problem lies.
Take all childhood bullies, then deduct the 60 percent convicted of crimes; that leaves 40 percent in the work force. Thirty-seven percent of the work force is bullied.
"Bullies want to control, intimidate and humiliate others," she said. "Almost always, there's a bystander. You're condoning it by not doing anything."
She said 72 percent of all workplace bullies are bosses and have executive support. She encouraged businesses to take an active role in bully prevention.
Starace also noted a distinct difference between bullying and harassment. Harassment is specifically targeted at a protected group, but bullying doesn't have to be targeted toward anyone.
"But if people are bullying," she said, "it's only a matter of time before it turns into harassment."
Starace said companies can coach, mentor, train and discipline to decrease the number of workplace bullies. She also said executive support is a must as well as a bully-free policy.
"It will never fly without leadership from the top," she said. "It's never OK for you to act like a human is not a human."

http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/may2008/sb2008057_530667.htm

Employers Can't Ignore Workplace Bullies

A recent court ruling has implications for business. Adopting an anti-bullying policy can improve morale and help avoid legal trouble

Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of a hospital employee who sued a surgeon for emotional distress and assault based on his treatment of the person at work. The ruling drew national attention as an acknowledgment by the courts of workplace bullying both as a phenomenon and as legal terminology, says Garry Mathiason, chair of the corporate compliance practice group at labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson. He spoke recently to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about the implications of the Indiana case for small business owners. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

In a survey of U.S. workers released last fall, nearly half said they had either been bullied at work or seen other employees bullied, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. What should entrepreneurs think of those numbers?

The prevalence of bullying at work—54 million people have been bullied at some point, the institute estimates, based on the survey—combined with the recent court decision should serve as a warning for small businesses nationally to develop proactive measures preventing bullying at their companies.

What was the Indiana case about?

There was behavior claimed to be intentional inflicting of emotional distress by a surgeon who apparently had a terrible temper. What was particularly interesting about the case was that the jury instructions used the phrase "workplace bullying" and it was questioned whether that term was too general. But the Supreme Court said the term had viability as a commonsense phrase for a jury.

It may be a commonly understood phrase, but doesn't the definition of bullying behavior range all across the spectrum and even from person to person?

That's what makes it so hard to draw the line. Basically, it's a form of employee harassment that isn't necessarily tied to the immutable characteristics such as age, race, and sex that are protected categories in employment discrimination law currently. About 25% of the workplace bullying that's complained about falls under existing statutes. For the remainder, there's no specific channel or regulations that reach out to touch it.

But what is bullying to me might not be bullying to you. A manager may have to tell you something that hurts your feelings to help you do your job. If your boss screams at you for being late, for instance, you might think that's horrible. A month later you might get a bad performance review, and a month after that you're dismissed. Now, can you go to a lawyer and claim a bully for a boss? If so, every discharged employee theoretically could make that claim, and a lot of unnecessary litigation could result. If you get a jury evaluating uncivil workplace behavior and the jurors dislike the manager—as they are likely to—there's tremendous potential for inconsistent verdicts and other problems.

What implications does the Indiana ruling have for small-business owners nationwide?

It suggests that there could be a trend of these kinds of decisions and small business should adopt a policy on proper conduct in the workplace. Model policies are available online and even very small employers would benefit from adopting one.

Even if it doesn't become a legal challenge, isn't bullying at the workplace a negative thing?

Of course it is. It increases employee turnover, it causes a loss of productivity, and it can give a company a bad reputation. Nobody wants to work for an abusive boss.

How does an entrepreneur determine what's truly bullying behavior and what is not?

Most commonly, bullying consists of repeated verbal harassment. If it becomes physical there are existing legal tools to deal with it, such as assault and battery. Bullying behavior typically comes from somebody in a position of authority at a company. A bully can be a co-worker, but it's more commonly associated with a boss and particularly with an immediate boss, as opposed to someone running the company.

How should entrepreneurs deal with bullies in their firms?

They should establish firmly that this kind of conduct is not condoned. Then administer that policy on a complaint basis. What you absolutely cannot do is leave the situation alone and hope it gets better. You have a responsibility as an employer to intervene. Apart from the legal exposure involved, you have a threat to your productivity and your turnover rates.

We recommend that the business owner counsel or get counseling for the individual who has been complained about. Let the person know that this kind of behavior is not supported and won't be tolerated in the workplace. He should be able to determine whether this behavior is so much a part of his personality that the counseling is not going to work. If positive coaching doesn't work, the business owner will have to build a basis for ending the working relationship.

Don't some bullied employees just quit rather than risk whining about their bosses?

Yes, but they might feel differently if there were a business policy already established at the company. It's common for companies to do periodic harassment training. That session could easily include a little section on rude behavior. Emphasize that treating all employees with respect is the way to make the company productive. Your business reputation will only be enhanced by having an anti-bullying policy that shows you really care about your people and want them treated with respect.

The most effective way to deal with this, it seems, would be to avoid hiring a bully in the first place. Is that possible?

It's definitely smart to try to screen out people who are abusive, but it's not easy to get that information. And a lot of times people behave differently when they are talking to the CEO from the way they do when they are talking to their employees.

Karen E. Klein is a business journalist who covers small-business issues for several national publications. She writes her Smart Answers column twice a week.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/CareerManagement/story?id=4546375&page=1

Work Bullies: Bad for the Victim and the Bottom Line

Workplace Bullying Can Leave Companies Struggling With Absenteeism and Turnover

http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/3545/context/archive
3/29/08  Jeers

More than 50 percent of U.S. nurses face bullying in the workplace, according to a March survey by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The study found that 90 percent of health care workers have witnessed abusive behavior against nurses, UPI reported March 24.

Physicians are the No. 1 hospital bullies, followed by other nurses, according to the study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. Patient satisfaction and care suffers as a result of disruptive behaviors, according to 75 percent of workers surveyed. The retention of qualified nurses is also affected and the emotional stress from verbal abuse hinders their ability to do their jobs.
Shanelle Matthews is Women's eNews editorial intern and a recent graduate of the Manship School of Mass Communications at Louisiana State University.

Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org._______________________

We Need to Think More about Bullying in the Workplace
http://www.mcall.com/news/opinion/all-column.6333772mar29,0,4320806.column
Allentown, PA 3/29/08
____________________________________________________________________________________________
What Constitutes Workplace Bullying?
http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=284
Louisville, KY 3/28/08
________________________________________________________________________
Are there Bullies in Your Office Space? 3/28/08  http://www.walletpop.com/2008/03/28/are-there-bullies-in-your-office-space/
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Forbes.com 3/24/08 10 Signs You're Being Bullied at Work  http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/22/health-bullying-office-forbeslife-cx_avd_0324health_print.html
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When the Bully Sits in the Next Cubicle
By Tara Parker-Pope
New York Times
March 25, 2008

Watch the NY Times video of Emelise Aleandri (former target and winner of a $1.4 million settlement against CUNY and Tom Witt, NY State Coordinator, WBI-Legislative Campaign and the New York Healthy Workplace Advocates (NYHWA)
Then select My Boss Was A Bully

An eye roll, a glare, a dismissive snort — these are the tactics of the workplace bully. They don’t sound like much, but that’s why they are so insidious. How do you complain to human resources that your boss is picking on you? Who cares that a co-worker won’t return your phone calls?

Bullying in the workplace is surprisingly common. In a survey released last fall, 37 percent of American workers said they had experienced bullying on the job, according to the research firm Zogby International.

Unlike the playground bully, who often resorts to physical threats, the work bully sets out on a course of constant but subtle harassment. It may start with a belittling comment at a staff meeting. Later it becomes gossip to co-workers and forgetting to invite someone to an important work event. If the bully is a supervisor, victims may be stripped of critical duties, then accused of not doing their job, says Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, an advocacy group based in Bellingham, Wash.

This month, researchers at the University of Manitoba reported that the emotional toll of workplace bullying is more severe than that of sexual harassment. And in today’s corporate culture, supervisors may condone bullying as part of a tough management style.

But the tide may be turning, thanks in part to a best-selling book by Robert I. Sutton, a management professor and co-director of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization at Stanford. Among other things, the book argues that workplace bullies are bad for business, because they lead to absenteeism and turnover.

The New York State Legislature is considering an antibullying bill, and in several other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, lawmakers have introduced such measures — without success so far. A measure was withdrawn in Connecticut last week after business groups opposed it, although the bill is expected to be resubmitted.

Business groups often argue that existing laws are adequate to protect workers. But bullying generally does not involve race, age or sex, which have protected status in the courts. Instead, most workplace hostility occurs just because someone doesn’t like someone else.

“Many of these situations fall between the cracks of existing state and federal employment law,” said David C. Yamada, a professor at the Suffolk University Law School in Boston, who has drafted antibullying legislation. “There is a real gap in the law that someone could be tormented and subjected to humiliation and really be suffering because of it, but the courts are saying it’s not severe enough for us to allow the lawsuit to go forward.”

The antibullying bills are often referred to as “healthy workplace” legislation. The name is more palatable to businesses, but they also acknowledge the serious health toll bullying can have. Some victims become physically ill from the stress, with depression, anxiety and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Surveys also suggest that victims of office bullies call in sick more often — although it’s not clear whether they really are sick or just avoiding the abusive environment at work.

A surprising number of bullying cases involve health care settings, where the problem is said to be endemic, with senior hospital workers, particularly doctors and supervisors, harassing nurses and technicians. The problem is also common in academia and the legal profession, experts say.

A large share of the problem involves women victimizing women. The Zogby survey showed that 40 percent of workplace bullies are women.

This month, more than 300 readers of the Well blog posted their own stories of workplace bullies. One reader shared a story of an assistant manager who became angry with an employee. Despite his high technical skills, she cut off all contact with him.

“She gave this employee totally inappropriate assignments, setting him up to fail, and then punished him when he could not complete the assignments,” said the reader, who asked not to be named. “She eventually did not invite this employee to the Christmas party.” The worker finally quit.

Still, it can be hard to distinguish between normal personality disputes and the incessant torture of workplace bullying.

Researchers at the State University of New York in New Paltz have developed a survey aimed at identifying the full range of behaviors that can constitute bullying. (For a list, go to www.nytimes.com/well.) Some of the behaviors — glaring, failing to return calls, not praising a worker — may seem trivial, but they take a toll when repeated over and over again.

“Imagine yourself sitting at a conference table and you offer something as a suggestion and someone looks at you and shakes their head every time,” said Joel H. Neuman, director of the center for applied management at the SUNY-New Paltz School of Business.

“It can be damaging to be constantly dismissed in front of your peers,” Dr. Neuman said. “The thing that is upsetting about it is that people come to expect it and say, ‘Well, this is what it’s like around here.’ It shouldn’t be part of the culture, but often it is.”


When Workplace Bullying Goes Too Far

Bullying at Work Puts Employees in Mental Jeopardy

Bad Boss
New research suggests bullying at work can have big implications for mental health. (PhotoDisc)

http://www.ajc.com/health/content/shared-auto/healthnews/fear/613334.html

Aggression on Job More Harmful Than Sexual Harassment
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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2004128912_bully20.html

"Healthy Workplace Bill" would protect employees who feel the bite of a tormenting boss

Special to The Seattle Times

In her nightmares, Jaymie Lennon's former boss calls her an idiot, undermines her confidence, tells other employees that Lennon is "unstable" and "mentally ill," and regularly threatens to fire her.

Just, she says, like in real life.

Cary Stidham says the same boss called him "stupid" in front of others, and degraded him in meetings with clients. He saw her throw phones, and kick walls and file cabinets.

They're talking about Louise Long, director of the Seattle Marathon Association. While her organization is under scrutiny for its finances and her possible conflicts of interest, what's come to light is a problem familiar in lots of workplaces: Long — hardcharging, intense and, some would argue, successful — was seen by some as an office bully.

While recently visible, she's hardly alone. Abrasive bosses haunt the corridors of power (former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton browbeat subordinates), the basketball court (Bobby Knight was famous for throwing chairs to express his displeasure), or the smallest office.

More than one-third of workers — 54 million Americans — say they have experienced workplace bullying, according to a 2007 Zogby International poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute.

A workplace bully may shout, swear, call employees names, intimidate, humiliate, tarnish reputations, sabotage and destroy workplace relationships. And unless the victim is part of a protected class (defined by gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability) or covered by an employment contract, such behavior is legal.

"There is no law that says you can't be a bully," says Chris Young, an employment attorney with Peterson, Young, Putra, Fletcher in Seattle.

Psychologists Gary and Ruth Namie, founders of the Bellingham-based Workplace Bullying Institute, want harassed workers to have better options. They're pushing the "Healthy Workplace Bill," sponsored by Rep. Kelli Linville (D-Bellingham), which would give employees the right to sue their employer if their health or economic livelihood is harmed by an abusive workplace.

While the bill doesn't use the term "bully," Gary Namie defines it as "repeated nonphysical, health-impairing psychological mistreatment that falls outside discriminatory harassment."

A nonreaction

According to the Zogby poll, 44 percent of the time employers react to reports of bullying by doing nothing.

"Employers are not motivated to stop bullies because there is no law, no consequence," Namie says. "They write it off as someone's 'management style.' And there are benefits; companies think the bullies get results, think they are indispensable."

Workplace bullying takes a toll, on employees and on business. Health studies show that work-related stress can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, strokes, heart attacks, chronic fatigue and economic devastation from being fired or forced to leave.

Tales from the front

Jaymie Lennon, 28, remembers crying every day during the four months she worked for the Seattle Marathon Association. One time, Lennon was at the hospital, literally sick from stress.

"She kept calling," Lennon says of Louise Long. "She would say, 'I don't care if you're sick. You need to get back here.' " One day Lennon went to lunch and never returned to the office.

Cary Stidham, now 29, quit the Marathon Association soon after Lennon did, at the end of 2006. After being denied unemployment benefits, he appealed and described to a judge why he quit: the yelling and screaming; how Long called him "stupid"; how, in a meeting with a client, she laced comments about Stidham with profanities; how she rolled her eyes when he told her she shouldn't speak to him like that. The judge ruled in Stidham's favor.

"I didn't want to be a whistle-blower," Stidham says. "[But] I have literally never met anyone who treated people like that."

Long acknowledges that her management style has been abrasive, but she says that the months just before and after the marathon are stressful.

"When you're working on an event, the staff has to be willing to keep up with that kind of pace," she says.

Long won't talk about claims that she threw things or swore at employees; she does say that about a year ago her board of directors gave her a set of "management expectations" to work on. She says she has made changes.

"It's pretty calm around here now," she says. "Anyone would be happy to work here."

The bottom line

A bullying boss is bad for business, experts say. Talented people leave, companies get a bad reputation, morale plummets. And there is a cost to the company in absenteeism, lack of productivity and high turnover.

Nowhere is it written that a boss can't be petty or mean — except in England, Norway, France and Sweden, whose health-and-safety laws include protection against bullies.

Four other states will consider a version of Namie's Healthy Workplace Bill this year. In all, he has pitched it to 13 states, but none has adopted it. An anti-bullying bill proposed in Washington's last legislative session never made it out of committee.

"We have animal cruelty laws," Namie says, "but we don't have human cruelty laws."

Rebecca Morris has been a broadcast and print journalist for 34 years. She teaches journalism at Bellevue Community College.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

Resources

Workplace Bullying Institute 360-656-6630; bullyinginstitute.org

Project for Wellness and Work-Life, Arizona State University, www.asu.edu/clas/communication/about/wellness

Washington Employment Lawyers Association, www.welaweb.org

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No Putting Up with Put Downs
February 2008
http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/no_putting_up_with_putdowns/
__________________________________
Ban The Bully
January 1, 2008
Since 2003, legislation to control the problem of workplace bullying has been introduced in a dozen states. But can legislating workplace behavior really solve the problem?


By Michael Felton-O'Brien
HR Executive

Growing up with a younger sibling who suffered from severe physical disabilities, Sherrill Gilbert often stood up to schoolyard bullies on her sister's behalf. But when it came time to confront the bullies who inhabited the hospital where she worked, she says, she found herself in the fight of her life. "What happened to me was horrendous," she says. "It went way beyond the norm."

Gilbert, who worked for a decade as an emergency-room secretary at a 1,100-employee hospital that she declines to name, claims she began to experience bullying when a new nurse manager came on board, bringing a gruff, militaristic demeanor along with her. "She immediately began promoting the most aggressive staff members into management positions," says Gilbert.

According to her, she constantly feared receiving yet another tap on the shoulder and being told to "march" herself into a room where she would be yelled at in front of other managers for infractions she insists she did not commit, including failure to provide phone coverage and paperwork errors. At times, supervisors would even physically block her from sitting down at her desk, says Gilbert, especially when she carried armloads of paperwork.

Even after she complained to the hospital's HR department, Gilbert says, nothing was done -- in fact, disciplinary letters were placed in her file and her manager's treatment of her only worsened. She began accusing Gilbert of poor performance despite her otherwise clean track record.

When she took her complaints to the hospital's board, Gilbert says, she was switched from full-time status to per diem, and eventually the calls to work just stopped coming.

Gilbert says she was so deeply traumatized by the experience that she was treated for depression and colitis.

"When this happens to you, it impacts every aspect of your life," she says. "It doesn't stop at just being a workplace issue, because when [bullies] get done with you, it is a lifelong issue." Gilbert is now taking her fight to the Vermont legislature, where she is the state coordinator for the passage of anti-bullying legislation intended to prevent others from going through what she had to endure.

A recent survey of American workers by
Zogby International and the Bellingham, Wash.-based Workplace Bullying Institute, entitled the U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, found that an estimated 54 million American workers (or approximately 37 percent of the population) said they have experienced workplace bullying. And some are fighting back.

Advocates of so-called "Healthy Workplace" initiatives have introduced legislation in 13 U.S. states since 2003 -- California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Oregon, Connecticut, Montana, Washington, Vermont, New York and New Jersey -- to address the issue and provide relief for employees who find themselves on the wrong end of a bully.

Despite this momentum, experts say HR leaders shouldn't wait for their state's legislature to address the issue. By creating their own anti-bullying policies now, HR departments can prevent workers such as Gilbert from being harmed in the future as well as avoid lengthy legal battles like the one currently being waged in Indiana.

In that case, involving heart surgeon Dr. Daniel H. Raess and perfusionist Joseph E. Doescher, Doescher claimed he was the victim of intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault by Raess during a 2001 incident at the hospital when Raess allegedly screamed and lunged at Doescher, telling him his career at the hospital was "finished." Raess also allegedly told Doescher he could not take time off to visit his uncle, who was dying in New Orleans.

The abuse caused Doescher to suffer severe depression and forced him to leave his $100,000-per-year job, his suit alleges. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Doescher on the assault claim and awarded damages of $325,000, but the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision and called for a new trial, holding that, among other problems, a witness should not have been allowed to label Raess a "workplace bully."

The matter is now being considered by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Bullying Defined

Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute and the prime force behind the bills and the Web site www.workplacebullyinglaw.org, workplace bullying is defined as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment" of a person by a perpetrator that takes on one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse; threatening, humiliating or offensive behavior and actions; and work interference or sabotage that prevents work from getting done.

According to researchers associated with Arizona State University's Project for Wellness and Work-Life, workplace bullying is most often "a combination of tactics in which numerous types of hostile communication and behavior are used." Behaviors can range from someone being rude or belligerent to someone screaming or cursing and can include the destruction of property, social ostracism and physical assault.

Namie notes that bullying typically manifests itself in a situation where something new, such as a new employee or a new system, is added to a once-stable situation. "Reorganizations are a perfect opportunity for bullies to thrive," he adds.

Anti-bullying legislation would be similar to federal discrimination and harassment laws, but unlike those laws, it would extend protection to all employees, regardless of race, age or gender. Workers would have to be able to prove that their health was damaged as a result of the treatment in order to prevail.

With the passage of such legislation, it would become unlawful for organizations to allow an employee "to be subjected to another employee whose malicious conduct sabotages or undermines the targeted person's work performance," according to an overview of the bill provided by WBI. The bill also punishes retaliation by the company against the complainant or anyone who helps the complainant.

The legislation does not call for the creation of any new state agencies, and those who wished to pursue a legal remedy would need to initiate a suit against the alleged bully at their own cost.

"The market itself will suppress the amount of complaints filed," says Namie. "The power of our law is not going to be in the 'tortification' of the issue, because those suits will present a huge financial burden to individuals who wish to pursue them. The real power of the bill is that it will 'incentivize' employers to prevent and correct this on their own. We want to expedite the voluntary participation of employers in the process of stopping bullying."

Individuals may accept workers' compensation benefits in lieu of bringing action under this bill. In other words, if an employer allows a worker to file a workers' compensation claim as a result of proven physical, emotional or psychological distress from bullying, then the employee agrees not sue.

Namie says the legislation is necessary to limit workplace harassment because companies are reluctant to deal with the troubling issue on their own.

"If you wait on American employers to do anything voluntarily in the employee-protection arena, you'll be waiting a long time," he says. "This [bullying] phenomenon is shrouded in shame, and even the companies that are doing something about it are ashamed to say anything about it."

Even the victims of such abuse are often reluctant to step forward and tell their stories, says Namie. "It's hard to mobilize people who have been emotionally wounded by this," he says. "We're never going to get them to march in the streets, but [their experiences] can make for very compelling testimony."

Namie and Gilbert are far from alone in calling for reforms. The San Francisco-based Employment Law Alliance recently conducted a poll that revealed 64 percent of 1,000 American adu

lts surveyed favored "specific legal recourse for the victims" of bullying. One of the reasons Gilbert thinks a law is necessary is because she feels the hospital's HR department did not stand up for her. "HR failed me," she says. "They failed to follow their own policies. If a complaint came to them, instead of . . . doing an unbiased investigation, their solution was to attack the person [by placing disciplinary letters in the files of people] who complained because they saw them as the problem . . . . I felt like I was living in a Third World country, where if you spoke out, you were harmed."

Gilbert considered filing a lawsuit against the hospital after her situation was not rectified, but says she could not find a lawyer to take her case. She says she called "every lawyer in Burlington" and was turned down by them all. "Nobody will touch it," she says, adding that the lawyers she contacted told her that even if she won a monetary award, it would be a pittance compared to the court costs she would incur.

Steve Hirshfield, CEO of the Employment Law Alliance and a partner at Curiale, Dellaverson, Hirschfield and Kraemer in San Francisco, is not surprised at lawyers' reluctance in taking on bullying cases in court. However, according to him, if the proposed legislation does become law, it will make it more likely that lawyers will take up such cases.

"There's very little incentive for lawyers to take these cases now," he says. "That will change if states start implementing statutory claims, where lawyers' fees are paid by the losing party instead of out of the settlement received by a common-law winner's claim. Because of the lack of legislation on the books, all you're left with is a common-law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and it's extremely difficult to prove. And you're leaving it up to a judge and jury to figure out what that's worth."

Fight or Flight

The Zogby poll also found that 40 percent of the respondents said bullying resulted in their leaving their jobs, which translates to roughly 21 million American workers. In addition to adversely affecting a company's employee-retention rate, workplace bullies can also undermine productivity and safety, says Gilbert.

"The unfortunate part is that [hospitals that allow bullying] are putting at risk not only the employees, but patients as well," she says. "When you have a hostile work environment, and you have people whose primary concern is to watch their own backs, that's when mistakes happen."

One company that has taken the bull(y) by the horns is Los Angeles-based Goodwill Industries of Southern California, which employs 1,600 employees in a variety of industries, including electronics recycling, light packaging and assembly work, as well as its well-known retail thrift stores. When president and CEO Doug Barr heard reports of "full-fledged bullying" by some employees within the organization in 2003, he knew something had to be done.

"I would hear from HR as well as people pulling me aside to report situations where staff would be shouted at in front of their peers, including job threats and sarcastic comments in front of [other employees]," he says. To change what he calls an "atmosphere of fear in terms of management," Barr and HR Director Jennifer Oropeza-Flores asked their training manager, Sue Gutierrez, to find an expert to help them overcome the culture of bullying.

She contacted Namie's organization and began work on a policy that was rolled out in March 2004. Goodwill's anti-bullying policy is an extension of the organization's four stated values of respect, integrity, service and excellence.

"It really has a lot to do with the 'respect' value," says Oropeza-Flores. "We believe people can be held accountable for performance goals without [the supervisor] being a bully." Goodwill's program includes a training session for managers and supervisors conducted by Namie, and mandatory orientation sessions for new employees on identifying and dealing with bullies conducted by Gutierrez.

A brochure is also mailed to all employees quarterly that explains how to identify a workplace bully, and includes the phone number for an anonymous tip line that employees can call to report a bully to HR. Periodic reminders are also attached to paychecks reminding employees of the company's policy on bullying and how to address it.

A new e-learning course on bullying prevention for managers and supervisors has also been rolled out.

Barr says the new policy quickly attracted the attention of Goodwill employees, due in large part to the subsequent resignations or terminations of four "higher-level" managers within the organization, including one store manager, who had been identified by employees and HR as bullies.

"That sent a message that we were really taking it seriously," says Barr. "This policy really has teeth."

Oropeza-Flores says there was some initial concern among administrative leaders that the new policy might have a negative impact on business margins. "They thought . . . 'If you don't give people latitude to be tough, then the work won't get done,' " she says. But she sees it differently. "We have not experienced a decline in our margins, because we've raised our expectations of how our managers treat people. It's part of a cultural change here."

Chances of Success

Despite the work of Namie, Gilbert and countless others, the fate of anti-bullying legislation in the states where it has been introduced remains uncertain at best. Of the 13 states where the legislation has been introduced, none has been passed into law and the proposed legislation is still active in only four states.

"I don't know if I'll see any of these laws passed in my lifetime," Namie says.

The ELA's Hirschfield says he thinks it's too early to speculate on the chances of the bills' ultimate success. "I think because the bullying cases have been getting press, there's a certain sensitivity to the issue. But [there's] also a hesitation towards opening up a new avenue for costly litigation," he says.

He thinks the bills haven't had much success in getting passed to this point because "as a society, we realize the cost of employment litigation in terms of attorney fees and the time and resources spent defending these cases, both frivolous and meaningful."

"Even those people who believe this is a real problem are reluctant to enter into a whole new avenue of legal claims and regulations surrounding the workplace," he says. "In many cases, people are hopeful that there's a way to address the situation short of legislation."

As for Gilbert, she remains committed to the fight against bullying. She says she is speaking up now in order to protect her children from such abuse in the future. "If I can help get this bill through, I will feel like I have been able to make a contribution to lots of people. I don't want my kids to ever, ever have their lives destroyed because some bully feels like he or she is entitled to do it."

January 1, 2008
Copyright 2008© LRP Publications

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August 31, 2007

Just in time for Labor Day, the Workplace Bullying Institute (bullyinginstitute.org) released results of a Zogby Poll that was conducted to find out how prevalent workplace bullying really is.
To date, 13 states have introduced legislation to "prevent and correct workplace bullying" by requiring employers to put policies and procedures in place similar to what are currently required to address sexual harrassment in the workplace.
Many mistakenly believe workplace bullying is already against the law. Status blind bullying is presently legal. Unless one can prove they are in a protected class, covered by the 1964 Civil Rights Act (race, religion, etc.), they are NOT protected from systematic harrassment in the workplace.
Workers are beginning to unite and speak out about this vicious behavior, often perpetuated by management, and in some cases, actually promoted as a management style by employers who mistakenly believe this behavior will help produce more profits.

Read the Zogby Poll Results Here

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Ck these links for some new articles

Published: August 22, 2007 12:57 pm   
Nami: Bullying is silent epidemic
Third in the series on this worldwide problem

By Gina Burgess
Lifestyles editor   

PICAYUNE Behavior that offends or harms someone is a broad definition of workplace bullying. Mary tells Sandra that Betty is sleeping with the boss, when in fact the rumor isn’t true. Spreading gossip or rumors is one type of indirect bullying. When a vicious rumor is spread with the intent to get a person fired, that is defined as an intent to harm, but few would call that a criminal act worthy of jail time. According to Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, workplace bullying is “the repeated mistreatment of one employee targeted by one or more employees with a malicious mix of humiliation, intimidation and sabotage of performance.”

Court cases involving disability, ethnic and gender discrimination, and sexual harassment have had such reasonable success as to cause laws to be enacted to make them criminal acts if proven. However, statistics show that bullying happens more often that verbal abuse or sexual harassment, although, when examined closely, those things are forms of bullying. It also is three times as prevalent as illegal discrimination and 1,600 times as prevalent as violence at work. Those same studies show one in 10,000 employees are victims of violence in the workplace, but, in this country, one in six employees are victims of bullying at work. A British study shows one in three employees suffer workplace bullying.

The problems revealed in these studies are that bullying usually takes place within company policy guidelines and between the lines of legal activity according to a report by Gary Nami of Workplace Bullying Institute, and by Tim Field of Bully Online.org. That kind of bullying seems trivial when each incident stands alone and out of context, and the problem is there is rarely grounds for dismissal or disciplinary action.

Field was in computer systems support and development. when he was bullied out of his job when he was a customer services manager in 1994, and was the first to identify the sociopathic serial bully in the workplace. “Most organizations have a serial bully. It never ceases to amaze me how one person’s divisive, disordered, dysfunctional behavior can permeate the entire organization like a cancer,” said Field. “I estimate one person in thirty is a serial bully.”

On his website located at www.bullyonline.org, Field describes in depth the serial bully characteristics. Some of those include,

- convincing, practiced liar who will make up anything to fit the moment, excelling in deception

- can be vile and vicious in private but innocent and charming in public

- has plenty of glib, fine words, but no substance; mostly superficial

- pours out what people want to hear

- cannot be trusted, fails to fulfill commitments

- refuses to be specific and does not give straight answers

- adept at creating conflict, thrives on conflict

- quick to belittle, undermine, and discredit anyone who calls the bully to account

- knows-it-all, arrogant and haughty

- spiritually dead while professing some religious belief or affiliation

- mean, and petty, stingy and financially untrustworthy

- greedy, selfish and an emotional vampire

- convinced of their own superiority and qualities of leadership but exhibits qualities exactly opposite of leadership including immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, manipulation, distrust and deceitfulness

Field goes on to say that the serial bully in the workplace is “more likely to know what they are doing but elects to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people (live by).

If you are the victim of bullying, the first thing to combat it is to recognize it for what it is, says Gary Nami founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute.org, too often a bullied person will fall into the trap of believing what the bully is saying is true.

Field says there is usually a grain of truth in the bully’s attack which seems to give it credibility.

After recognizing the bully, you must understand what is going on. It is not about you, it is all about control. Criticisms and allegations are a projection of the bully’s failings. The bully is trying to project guilt, shame, and fear which are known tactics of control. It is how all abusers—sex abusers, child abusers, verbal abusers, etc.—gain control over their victims and silence them.

The next step, Field advises, is to find out everything about bullying. There are a plethora of websites and books about the subject. Naivety about the bully and the tactics is your greatest enemy, not the bully himself.

Only after you arm yourself can you then take action. Document, document, document, says both Nami and Field. Keeping a log or journal about each incident will build the case. Incidents alone can be explained away. But, Field says, the pattern is what is important because it reveals intent.

Keep copies of important documentation in a safe place not at work, because it can and will be stolen, and possibly used against you. Carry a note pad and pen at all times, recording what the bully says and does. Make sure you take minutes of all meetings. The bully is expert at deception and can twist what you say into the appearance of damaging evidence. You will be accused of unprofessionalism and a few other things when you do this. Expect it, and don’t let it deter you from your mission.

The bully thrives on playing people against each other. Expect the bully’s boss to disbelieve you and to deny the truth of the evidence you’ve gathered, because it is highly likely the bully has already enlisted support in getting rid of you, Field notes. This is why it is crucial, he says, to be professional and not emotional when presenting your case.

Nami calls it the silent epidemic. He conducted an online survey with a question about employer’s responses when informed about the workplace bully.

“...In light of extant internal anti-harassment and anti-violence policies the response of employers is puzzling. Respondents described the lack of support. Targets who reported the abusive misconduct to the bully’s manager and asked for relief elicited positive, helpful responses in only 18 percent of cases. In 42 percent of incidents, the boss actually compounded the problem; in 40 percent of cases, the boss did nothing which is not a neutral response after specific help was requested. Human Resources and anti-discrimination officers were similarly unhelpful with only 17 percent taking positive steps to stop the bullying,” according to his report.

Pointing out to the bully’s superior that what you’ve presented is merely the tip of the iceberg of wrongdoing by the bully, and there is most likely financial misappropriation and incompetence, breaches of regulations, health and safety, codes of practice and the like may provoke an investigation.

Build yourself a network of support because bullies love to isolate and attack. Expect your co-workers to melt away for differing reasons, most will disassociate themselves because they fear for their job, others just do not like conflict.

http://www.picayuneitem.com/features/local_story_234125723.html?keyword=topstory

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Source:Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Date:May 29, 2007

Workplace Bullying 50 Percent Higher In US Than Scandinavia

Science Daily New research to be published in the Journal of Management Studies reveals that employees in the US are bullied up to 50% more often than workers in Scandinavia. However, just 9% of employees were aware that the negative acts they experienced constituted bullying, suggesting that bullying behaviour is ingrained in the culture of the US workplace.
The study, led by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, is also one of the first to investigate the impact of bullying on non-bullied employees, and finds that the negative effects are widespread: employees who witness others being bullied suffer secondary harm, reporting high levels of stress, and low levels of work satisfaction.
Lutgen-Sandvik explains why this study is so significant: "Workers suffering on the job and thinking they're 'going crazy' learn that the phenomenon has a name, what it looks like, that it happens to many workers, and potentially, what they might do about it."
The study concludes that US organizational and cultural structures frequently enable, trigger, and reward bullying. U.S. companies stress market processes, individualism, and the importance of managers over workers, which discourages collaborative efforts and enables powerful organizational members to bully others without recrimination.
Steven Floyd, an editor at JMS says "This paper helps to surface a problem that plagues far too many employees and that too few people are willing to speak openly about..."
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Blackwell Publishing Ltd..
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To read a great article written by two graduate students at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York City about workplace bullying, go to http://www.nyc24.org/2007/issue4/story3/

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Sunday, January 21, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle

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Bullying bosses could be busted
Movement against worst workplace abusers gains momentum with proposed laws

Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Americans love bully bosses, to judge by popular culture. Tyrants such as Machiavellian Miranda in "The Devil Wears Prada," clueless Michael in "The Office" and vicious Simon on "American Idol" elicit guffaws, gasps of recognition and relief that they're picking on someone else.

But, in real life, people who've been bullied at their jobs say it is no laughing matter. Continuing harassment in the pressure-cooker environment of the workplace can have serious professional consequences and cause a range of physical and psychological health problems for victims, according to a range of studies.

Workplace bullying involves repeated verbal abuse, aggressive behavior, sabotage, humiliation or intimidation. It's so commonplace that 1 in 6 Americans reports having been bullied at work, according to a study by Michigan's Wayne State University. In some studies, almost half of workers say they were bullied at one point in their career.

"It's a silent epidemic," said Gary Namie, a social psychologist and founder of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute in Bellingham, Wash.

Now a movement to curb workplace bullying is gathering steam, with grassroots groups forming across the country and legislation introduced in 11 states during the past four years, although no anti-bullying bills have yet passed in any of them.

The proposed laws would not outlaw workplace bullying but would ask employers to correct and prevent abuses, and give victims the right to sue for limited damages. Currently, victims of bullying don't have legal recourse, unless they can prove the abuse was related to a "protected status," such as race or gender.

Anti-bullying advocates liken their crusade to those against schoolyard bullying and domestic violence.

But employers oppose the legislation, calling it an invitation to frivolous lawsuits. And some people point out that the line between someone who is a legitimate victim of workplace bullying and a disgruntled worker can be difficult to determine.

William Lepowski, a mathematics instructor at Laney College in Oakland, experienced workplace bullying firsthand several years ago. A Laney administrator accused Lepowski of improperly selling a statistics textbook he had written to students and faculty.

After asking the administrator for clarification, he found himself reported to human resources for not following proper procedures. Despite an investigation that cleared him of wrongdoing, his professionalism was questioned and he was threatened with termination. He was even accused of harassing the administrator who had floated the initial allegation.

"Once people start slinging mud, mud tends to stick," he said. "It was a hellish ordeal. I was living all of a sudden in an Alice-in-Wonderland nonsense world where logic is ignored. There was no due process, no justice."

With a 33-year tenure at the school and his reputation at stake, he decided to fight back. He went public with the charges against him, even though it was stressful to reveal such derogatory accusations. He mustered support from colleagues in the math department, who passed a resolution asking for an investigation of the charges against him.

It took almost a year but eventually Lepowski won full exoneration. He never found out the motive of the administrator who had started the campaign against him, but that person wrote a letter retracting all the accusations.

The Peralta Community College District, Laney's governing body, apologized for the stress Lepowski had been subject to. The incident helped prompt the district to adopt an anti-bullying policy in 2004, making it the first public institution in California to do so. It has also held anti-bullying workshops.

But Lepowski's vindication was unusual. More often than not, victims of bullying pay with their jobs to make the practice stop.

A 2003 study by Namie's institute found that 37 percent of victims were fired, 33 percent quit and 17 percent were transferred. The bullies were punished in only 4 percent of the cases, while they were transferred in 9 percent.

"Organizations are loath to admit this is a problem," he said. That's what the proposed laws want to address.

California was the first state to consider a "healthy workplace" bill, in 2003, introduced by Assembly members Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) and Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino). The bill, which would have allowed victims of bullying to sue for up to $25,000 and request that a bully be reassigned, ended up dying in committee.

A grassroots Sacramento lobbying group called Healthy Workplace Advocates hopes to get another version introduced, but may have to wait until after Arnold Schwarzenegger is no longer governor, according to Michelle Smith, co-founder of the group. The governor might be reluctant to sign a bill imposing more mandates on businesses, she said.

The group is staffed by ardent volunteers, themselves the victims of workplace bullying. It has spawned chapters in San Francisco and Southern California.

Montana, New Jersey and Oklahoma all will consider anti-bullying legislation this year, according to Namie, whose institute provides support for groups pushing such laws. Other states, including New York, Kansas, Missouri, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon, have introduced similar bills in the past two years, without passing them.

"Once legislation catches on in one state, it starts to snowball through states until it hits the federal level," said Carrie Clark, another co-founder of California's Healthy Workplace Advocates.

Any anti-bullying bill is likely to face strong opposition from employers.

"It looks like just another sue-your-boss bill, opening up a whole new category for lawsuits that trial attorneys can plaintiff-shop for and then bring suits against employers for damages," said Vincent Sollitto, a spokesman for the California Chamber of Commerce, reacting to the 2003 California bill. "It clearly will be harmful to the employer community."

Anti-bullying advocates counter that similar laws exist in Australia, England, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada's Quebec province and have not caused a flood of lawsuits.

"The healthy workplace bill is not intended to rule out incivility or rudeness or belching or glares. It's only to prohibit health-harming, career-disruptive abusive treatment -- severe stuff, the worst of bullying cases," Namie said.

Why don't companies crack down on bullying?

Many say they believe managers are simply taking "get-tough" attitudes to whip slackers into shape. And they're conditioned to support managers over rank-and-file workers.

Seventy percent of workplace bullying is done by bosses, Namie said. "If you're going to be a petty tyrant, you've got to have title power."

Stronger curbs on bullying would benefit companies, as well as victims, Namie said. That's because bullying hurts the bottom line through lost productivity, low morale, departure of experienced workers, and higher health care costs for stressed-out victims.

"In America, if you say it doesn't exist, you can keep your head in the sand," he said. "We're in total denial while (bullying) is ripping people's lives and health to shreds."

For more information

-- www.bullyinginstitute.org -- Workplace Bullying Institute run by Gary and Ruth Namie, has studies and research.

-- www.workdoctor.com -- The Namies' consulting firm for employers.

-- www.workplacebullyinglaw.org -- Coordinators of state legislation to curb workplace bullying.

-- www.bullyfreeworkplace.org -- California Healthy Workplace Advocates, grassroots lobbying group seeking to get legislation passed in California.

-- www.workplacebullying.co.uk -- Resources and information. While the legal information is specific to Great Britain, it also has a broad array of articles and data.

Source: Chronicle research

E-mail Carolyn Said at csaid@sfchronicle.com

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October 29, 2006

Nightmares, Demons, and Slaves:  Exploring the Painful Metaphors of Workplace Bullying

Arizona State has just released research validating the devastating emotional pain experienced by those who are targets of workplace bullying.  The article published by the Sage Management Communication Quarterly can be viewed here:

http://mcq.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/20/2/148


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Arizona State has just released research validating the devastating emotional pain experienced by those who are targets of workplace bullying.  The article published by the Sage Management Communication Quarterly can be viewed here:

http://mcq.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/20/2/148


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State wants to know if workplace bullying is a big problem

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - October 20, 2006

by Linda Chiem

Pacific Business News

State officials are trying to determine whether bullying is a problem in Hawaii's workplaces, but they're finding it hard to get answers.

Employers across the state were sent surveys in late September asking whether they have an anti-bullying policy. But many of them say they either know nothing about the survey or are confused by it. Their biggest question is, how do you define bullying?

The surveys are voluntary. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is charged with compiling a report based on employers' anti-bullying policies for the 2007 legislative session.

While nearly all employers have anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct, not many have clear anti-bullying policies and are checking the "no" box.

"We are calling back those employers that put no," said state Labor Department spokesman James Hardway. "We're saying, yes, a professional code of conduct policy constitutes an anti-bullying policy. Basically, the policy design is, if you don't intimidate your fellow co-workers [and] you treat them with respect, it counts as anti-bullying."

So far, 4,000 employers have responded to the survey, which was sent out along with the state's quarterly contribution report on unemployment insurance taxes.

The confusion over what's considered bullying in the workplace has led legislators to ask for a summary report on what policies Hawaii employers already have to see if laws are needed to address the issue.

"There's concern about the issue," said state Rep. Kirk Caldwell, D-Manoa, chairman of the House Labor and Public Employment Committee. "The greatest fear I have is, how do you define what is bullying? The intent is to look at examples of legislation, see what's already out there, what do these policies look like and how do they read, to determine do you even need legislation."

No state has an explicit anti-bullying law. But it seems to be a hot-button issue with five other states -- Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Washington -- addressing it in 2006 legislative sessions.

At least one Mainland advocacy group thinks it's a problem. The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute in Bellingham, Wash., which has a grass-roots initiative called Bully Busters, claims that one out of every six workers is a victim of workplace bullying.

According to the institute, seven of every 10 bullies are bosses and four out of five victims are women.

"Bullying is not subjective," said Jan Roberson, president of Hawaii Business and Professional Women and Bully Busters Hawaii coordinator. "It is chronic mistreatment easily recognizable by reasonable people. It causes stress-related illnesses and impacts the ability to earn a living. Bullying creates a hostile work environment and, unchecked, it lowers productivity and ultimately drives down profits."

Michelle Smith, an anti-bullying advocate with California Healthy Workplace Advocates, says standard professional codes of conduct aren't enough to protect workers from bullying. California was the first state to introduce anti-bullying legislation, in 2003.

"This phenomenon must stop and it will probably take many voices to be heard before the powers that be will come to their senses about this issue," Smith said. "Too many of them are bullies."

Oct. 18, 2006 NEW JERSEY  State Legislature now has a Healthy Workplace Act (Bill)...A3590 sponsored by Assemblymember Linda R. Greenstein

Arizona State has just released research validating the devastating emotional pain experienced by those who are targets of workplace bullying.  The article published by the Sage Management Communication Quarterly can be viewed here:

http://mcq.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/20/2/148


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Proclamation Regarding Workplace Bullying
Whereas, the State of New Jersey has an interest in promoting the social and economic well-being of its employees and citizens; and
Whereas, that well-being depends upon the existence of healthy and productive employees working in safe and abuse-free work environments; and
Whereas, surveys and studies have documented the stress-related health consequences for individuals caused by exposure to abusive work environments; and
Whereas, abusive work environments can create costly consequences for employers, including reduced productivity, absenteeism, turnover and employee health-related expenses; and
Whereas, protection from abusive work environments should apply to every worker, and not limited to legally protected class status based only on race, color, gender, national origin, age, or disability; and
Now, therefore, I, Governor Jon S. Corzine, Governor of the State of New Jersey, in recognition of the importance of the a Healthy Workplace, free of Bullying to he do hereby proclaim
Monday October 23 through Sunday October 29, 2006,
as  Freedom From Bullies Week  in New Jersey.

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