Today we have laws in most states to protect our children from other children while they are at school. Both of my parents are retired public educators, and I have the honor of calling many educators at this church friends. And I suspect that my friends that are teachers and many other noble teachers would never knowingly tolerate acts of bullying in their classroom or school. But folks, it happens every day, in every school, across the globe.
But more in line with what I want to talk about today, marginalized employees, adult employees, have no similar protection, no state laws, no federal laws, and only a handful of companies with the dignity, guts, and foresight to write and implement policies specifically about workplace bullying. Said another way…done right, you can bully your co-worker to psychological or physical breakdown and it will likely not cost you your job. Said another way, it’s a legal way to push someone to the brink or over the brink of suicidal behavior.
You see, workplace bullying is not discrimination, it is not sexual harassment, it is not necessarily a hostile workplace environment.
To be clear…bullying is defined as repeated acts that cause psychological or physical harm to another, bullying is rooted in power exchange in which the perpetrator has some level of control over the victim (real or perceived). The acts are not covered by Title 7 protections, and nearly 60% of the time the perpetrator is a victim’s manager or supervisor.
Just like school yard bullying, this too is happening every day, in nearly every workplace, across the globe…and too many leaders and companies are turning their heads!
Adults are turning on adults, and bosses are turning on their employees. Let’s face it, if you are in a sales environment, nursing, education, customer service, call center, manufacturing, assembly, or a college student, you have likely experienced bullying as a witness, or been a victim.