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Tue, Jul 22, 2014

LOGUE: Workplace bullying unfortunately all too common

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It has become a truism of this recession that workers who are stuck in jobs where they are not paid enough, mistreated, overworked or just plain bored have few options in today’s tight job market.

If people have had it up to their chins with all the crap dished out on them at work, they might be in a financial position to retire earlier or live in a house with only one working spouse if Obamacare can handle their health insurance needs.
They might even be in a position to find a better job, or, at least, to take more time trying to find one.

The psychological tension brought on by the recession apparently has taken its toll on the American worker in a more subtle way, as well.

A recent survey posted on CareerBuilder indicates 35 percent of workers say they’ve been bullied. Sixteen percent cite workplace bullying as the reason for their worsening health.

Here are some of the types of workplace bullying the CareerBuilder survey found to be prevalent. See if you have been on the receiving end of any of these behaviors:

• 42 percent of employees were accused of making mistakes they had not made;
• 39 percent were ignored altogether;
• 36 percent dealt with unfair preferential treatment of co-workers by the boss to the detriment of the targets;
• 33 percent were criticized relentlessly;
• 31 percent were screamed at by their boss in front of their peers; and
• 24 percent were demeaned at meetings.

And here’s the kicker. Fifty-seven percent of workers who reported this behavior to the so-called human resources department got no help at all.

Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, was an HR director at two different corporations and has taught graduate-level courses on human resources management.

Namie writes, “HR, with few exceptions, is a morally bankrupt internal organizational service that contemporary organizations should consider dropping.”

The reason he feels this way is that a 2013 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, a group for HR professionals, shows that 56 percent of their employers do not have a workplace bullying policy and don’t intend to install one.

An arrogant, narcissistic, insecure boss bullies an arrogant, narcissistic, insecure middle manager, and, to paraphrase for a family newspaper, the stuff flows downhill to workers who have little recourse and no institutional support.
I’ve heard two different managers in my 40 or so years in the working world say they don’t believe in setting office policies, that they’d rather take things on a case-by-case basis.

Of course, they don’t believe in policies. Written policies would have to be enforced with equanimity across the board. That would make managers less empowered to favor their sycophants or torment talented workers who threaten their egos.

Is it really just business and not personal?

In the movie “Erin Brockovich,” Julia Roberts said, “Not personal? That is my work, my sweat, my time away from my kids! If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is!”

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bully, gina logue, workplace
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