A major USA Today article dated November 19, 2008, entitled “Bullying devastates lives,” and chronicled the sad stories of three women who experienced constant bullying in school – one for having red hair, one for being shy, and one for being “different.” The three women, now ranging in age from 28 to 52, continue to be affected by the bullying that they suffered in school.
According to Daniel Nelson, medical director of the Child Psychology Unit at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “…there’s no question that ‘unrelenting,’ daily hostilities that maybe escalate to threats or actual aggression can be on par with torture…,” or that ” repeated and severe bullying can cause psychological trauma.” Nelson went on to observe that “There’s no question that bullying in certain instances can be absolutely devastating.” A companion article talked about a high school girl whose epileptic seizures – of all things!
Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well.
Bullying, whether via the latest technologies or by more traditional means, is a growing problem in American workplaces of all kinds, and I don’t see why Federal agencies would be exceptions.
In fact, I just received an e-mail from a woman who indicated that she has been bullied so severely in her current job, to include being screamed at in anger by managers and treated with no respect by some of her co-workers, that she felt compelled to tell her story to someone.
– had made her a target in three different schools.
She was so traumatized by the tormenting that she dropped out of school and is now pursuing independent study; the young woman “suffers so much that she could not be interviewed” for the article.
Would most people consider the action unacceptable? People who are the targets of bullying may experience a range of effects. The most important component of any workplace prevention program is management commitment.
Management commitment is best communicated in a written policy.I would advise managers and supervisors to start by examining their own behavior – soliciting feedback from trusted colleagues might be part of the process – to make sure they are not engaging in any bullying of their own, however inadvertent. Tags: Fed Smith, Oppermann This entry was posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009 at pm and is filed under Bullying & Health, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI in the News.I would also suggest that they let employees know that bullying, like workplace violence and threats, will not be tolerated, and tell employees who feel they are being bullied to report it to management immediately. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.For example, I can see real potential for people who feel they are being bullied relentlessly to eventually reach their limit and attempt to hurt either themselves or others.I believe that many of the students who have wreaked violence on their schools, such as Harris and Klebold at Columbine High School, or planned to do so, cited being picked on relentlessly as at least one of the motivating factors for their attacks.Since bullying is a form of violence in the workplace, employers may wish to write a comprehensive policy that covers a range of incidents (from bullying and harassment to physical violence).