Friday, March 28, 2008

WorkPlace Bullies

Yesterday Brittany McNeil, 18, was sentenced in Dartmouth NS provincial court by Judge Alanna Murphy to 5 1/2 yrs in prison for her leading role in an brutal attack on another teen girl.

This follows another case in Montreal where a family is suing the school board for not protecting their son from a bullying teacher and another on on ABC News for vicious student bullying behaviour. The terrible consequences of neglecting to deal effectively with such behaviours has had tragic consequences many times in the past.

Not surprisingly bullying is now being traced "up the food chain" and into the workplace - as this article in NY Times points out.

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.

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.

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

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.

Here are 10 most common forms of workplace aggression.*

1. Talking about someone behind his/her back.
2. Interrupting others while they are speaking or working.
3. Flaunting status or authority; acting in a condescending manner.
4. Belittling someone's opinion to others.
5. Failing to return phone calls or respond to memos.
6. Giving others the silent treatment.
7. Insults, yelling and shouting.
8. Verbal forms of sexual harassment.
9. Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact.
10. Intentionally damning with faint praise.

* Source: Professor Joel Neuman, Center for Applied Management, State University of New York at New Paltz. Data is from samples of more than 600 employees in a variety of work settings.

I question whether "Anti-Bully" programs at schools and elsewhere are merely dealing with the symptoms (i.e "Don't do this!" admonishments) rather than allowing teachers and parents methods of recognizing and dealing with the situations as the arise. These concerns are similar to those I have about SexEd classes and the prevalance of sexual permissive in most of our media.

Tiger by Salvador Dali

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