The week of Oct. 18-24 is Freedom from Workplace Bullying Week. Sponsored by the Workplace Bullying Institute, it describes bullying as "non-physical workplace violence. It is abusive, causing psychological injuries and stress-related diseases." Bullying, like domestic abuse, is all about power and control. Workplace bullying is more common than most people realize.
I experienced workplace bullying when I was city clerk for Rock Island and endured humiliating and intimidating behavior, work interference and sabotage, and verbal abuse against me. I reported the bullying at least 53 times to the human resources director, the city manager, and the mayor while it was happening, all to no avail. Aldermen tried to intervene without success. I retired when I realized that city management was never going to do anything about the abuse.
With workplace bullying, management usually sides with the bully; bullies often engage others in the campaign against the target, and management typically fires the target of the bully or makes it impossible for the target to stay.
The Workplace Bullying Institute makes these recommendations to those being targeted by bullies: "Break the silence! Tell co-workers, friends, and family. Put your health first. Schedule a coaching appointment. Talk to an attorney. Do not believe the BIG LIE about you. Reclaim your dignity — fight back or find a new job."
You’re not alone if you’ve experienced workplace bullying. Only by speaking out against this abuse is there hope that someday there will be zero tolerance for workplace bullying.
For more information, visit workplacebullying.org.
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