award-winning educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author/writer, program executive, and radio host

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My Response to an Article "Is Brett Favre Right?  Some Workplace Bullying is OK?"

My response to an article on "Is Brett Favre Right?  Some Workplace Bullying is OK?" by Julie Tappero.

Enough with “equating bullying with a weakness”; bullying is not about the victim, but the bully's need for power, influence, and control over another, which is manifested by a bully's harassment, intimidation, and threats.

The other issue is that too many organizations and individuals are complicit about the workplace abuse that occurs by condoning the actions and/or behaviors by not addressing it at the moment or soon after it occurs.  Any organization that allows unnecessary abuse to occur sanctions it.  Moreover, a faulty judgment that is normal a quip offered in response to workplace bullying is that the bullying target “needs to develop thick skin".  This is not always the case as a bullying target can have "thick skin"; however, if the bully has enough power, influence, and control over the individual’s raises, promotions, assignments, or keeping their job than these potential risks can be powerful motivators for individuals to remain silent about the abuse.

Another misnomer is that bullying must be a repeated action, which is also not true.  A single incident can rise to the level of being a bullying incident.  Every individual has a responsibility to take action to protect themselves; however, if it doesn't happen for whatever reason, organizations and others must take action to ensure that everyone does not have to deal with unnecessary, unwanted, and undesirable abuse alone.  Furthermore, workplace bullying is generally legal – although it may not be allowable by the company or socially acceptable – unless the actions and/or behaviors violate a protected class based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (e.g., sex, age, race, etc.).

Finally, individuals often comment that additional laws are not needed to protect individuals from workplace abuse.  The same argument was offered about sexual harassment and there are still major issues related to this protection today, especially in the military.

Additional information on workplace bullying can be obtained in my book "Bullies...They're In Your Office, Too: Could you be one?", which details workplace bullying issues along with thoughtful solutions.