Don't worry — I'm not about to blame you for being a target of workplace abuse. Just the opposite. It's insecurity that's the root of why abusers abuse. And when those in power operate on jealousy and insecurity, their biggest threats are the ones with targets on their backs.
Here are a few reasons why you're a target:
Ego-centered people view work differently than you do...
Just as doctors without good bedside manners are more likely to get sued, so are employers. In his article "The Top 5 Reasons Why Employees Sue Their Boss," Plaintiff Employment Lawyer Branigan Robertson reveals that mistreatment — not money — is the number one motivator for employees suing their employers. It's mounting evidence that not caring about employees as human beings costs employers.
Here are the top five reasons why employees sue their employers according to Robertson:
To have dignity, people need to believe they're more than a disposable company resource. "Fired employees don’t call employment lawyers like me because the law was broken. Regular folks have no clue whether the law was broken. They call me because they feel dehumanized," explains Robertson. "This is by far the No. 1 reason people get on Google and search for a lawyer. They are emotionally upset about how their boss treated, demoted,...
Workplace abuse can often lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the Mayo Clinic, "symptoms may start within three months of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships."
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types:
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
- Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
- Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
- Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
- Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event
Symptoms of avoidance may include:
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
- Avoiding places, activities, or people that remind you of the traumatic event
Negative changes in thinking and mood
Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may...
Targets of workplace abuse have told me that when they reported their experiences to Human Resources, the workplace abuse generally got worse. Advocates said:
HR is there to protect a company's legal interests, not the worker. As soon as a you go to HR [about workplace abuse], you can expect things to get worse because you have just given them notice they need to get their ducks in a row and get rid of you so you can't document anymore. It's better to quietly go to an employment lawyer who will tell you if you have a case, tell you how to document, and act as your advocate when you have a viable case.
HR gets their paycheck from the company, not you. They are not your advocate.
Going to Human Resources can be as effective as doing nothing, if not worse.
It is important to note that many HR professionals are targets of workplace abuse themselves.
What do you do instead? Advocates most commonly reported that leaving the organization was the most effective (and often the...
When costs go up for organizations, taxpayers lose, too. Health care costs get externalized, costs that the employer would have been responsible for.
No one wins when managers abuse employees.
I reported earlier that a Norwegian study revealed that abused targets are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than those who were never abused. Pioneer Heinz Leymann estimated that 10 percent of those bullied take their lives.
Researchers defined bullying as harassment, badgering, and freezing out that generally:
It happens so often that there’s now a term for it. “Bullycide” happens when the cause of suicide is attributable to the victim having been bullied.
Now researchers in Australia report similar findings. Australian researchers determined that workplace bullying or harassment was associated with 1.54 greater odds of suicide ideation.
Findings show that none of us have a thick enough skin to be exempt from the workplace...
When HR departments give training on core values or discrimination, a logical response from employees is to believe their employers care about their well-being.
But not so fast.
When employees take complaints to HR departments, employers often individualize the problem to avoid liability, touting beliefs in employee well-being but take opposite action.
Let's take this disconnect one step further. Author Andrew Faas interviewed 138 leaders about bullying and found that most leaders are unaware of what workplace bullying even is. For those who are aware, most don’t view it as violence or a business risk (even though most said they’d been targets after seeing a definition of it).
Sadly, these findings mean that most cultures are toxic. Faas found that:
We've all seen our Facebook feeds flood with #metoo after the Harvey Weinstein allegations spread, showing the sad culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault far too many women (and some men) have endured. It's a culture most of these sufferers have had to tolerate to succeed "because this entire town [culture] is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to a horrific extreme," says Krista Vernoff, who co-runs ABC's Grey's Anatomy (HollywoodReporter.com).
"If I didn't work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn't have a career.... We work within this culture so we can amass some power so we can have a voice. And those who don't do that — those who shout and scream 'this is not OK' when they feel threatened or belittled (those women who DID speak out against Harvey BEFORE the New York Times piece) — they largely live on the fringes of this town. They don't get the power. They don't get the platform that the mainstream...
Ally worked at a hotel from 2014-2018. Read her workplace bullying story in her words:
I was the Director of Sales, overseeing revenue for the property and creating relationships with clients and new accounts. Everything was fine when I began the job and even when we had gotten a new general manager later in 2014. About a year later in 2015, I noticed some changes, not only by our general manager’s (my boss') attitude towards tasks, but how other employees started to see her actions. Bullying began by calling me names and picking on my weight (looking too skinny). After the name calling and picking on appearance, she began to focus on my personal life, making comments regarding my relationship with my sister and even about my home. As a general manager, you would have access to employees' addresses, but I would have never actually shown a photo of my home or where I live. As accounts were growing and we were booking more business, there was more of a workload,...
Subscribe to our blog to learn more about
how workplace bullying works and how to deal with it.