According to Laurie Tarkan, “Since 2003, 24 states have introduced bills to protect against workplace bullying, but none of these bills have passed into law. An estimated one in seven employees are bullied at work, usually by their bosses.
During the first hour of my Lead Different: An Introduction to Servant Leadership workshop, I give participants the opportunity to purge—to get things out of their system, so we talk about bad bosses and bad workplaces.
Here are a few things that I have heard over the years:
- At one university, an employee told her manager that she was pursuing her doctorate degree. Feeling threatened, the manager began bullying the employee until the employee had to take a leave of absence due to mental exhaustion.
- An employee told me that her manager was giving her a hard time. Why? Because the employee’s son was scheduled to have open heart surgery in a couple of days and the manager didn’t want the employee to miss extended time away from the office.
- A well-liked high school teacher became a student’s favorite teacher. The problem? The student was the son of the school system’s superintendent. While at home, the student talked to his parents about how much he liked his teacher. One day, the superintendent saw his son “hamming” it up with his son (the student). Not long afterwards, the superintendent began to make life extremely difficult for the teacher eventually forcing him to resign less than one year later. The teacher eventually had a nervous breakdown.
“Workplace bullying is like domestic abuse without the physical violence,” says Garie Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute. Says Tarkan, “Women are more likely to be victims than men. And since there aren’t really any laws to protect them, workers have almost no legal recourse when a bully boss embarrasses, harasses, humiliates and/or mistreats them.”
What about you? Have you ever been bullied in the workplace? If so, I'd love to hear your story. Please send me an email or post a comment.