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(See, also, Pondering the Impact of Workplace Violence.) You may have read the very recent – and profoundly disturbing – headline about a Missouri woman who was found guilty of misdemeanor crimes in a “My Space” cyber-bullying case linked to a 13-year-old girl’s suicide.According to prosecutors, the woman conspired with her young daughter and a business associate to create a fictitious profile of a 16-year-old boy on My Space to harass Megan Meier, apparently in an effort to humiliate Megan for saying mean things about her daughter.Examples Include: It is sometimes hard to know if bullying is happening at the workplace.Many studies acknowledge that there is a “fine line” between strong management and bullying.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).Final Thoughts: I believe that managers and supervisors are morally responsible for ensuring that employees are not bullied in the workplace, but I also think that it makes good business sense.While most employees who are bullied are unlikely to strike out at their perceived tormentors – in fact, they are more likely to absorb the bullying without saying anything to anyone – I can’t imagine anyone doing their best work when they are feeling bullied and humiliated and/or are fearful for their safety.Accordingly, I maintain that it is in management’s interest to maintain a respectful work environment and not to tolerate any bullying behavior. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Steve Oppermann.
If you are not sure an action or statement could be considered bullying, you can use the “reasonable person” test.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.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.