Workplace Bullying Not Limited to Locker Room

Megan Lynch @MLynchOnAir

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – By now you’ve likely heard about the vulgar and racially-charged voicemails and text messages sent from the Miami Dolphin’s Richie Incognito to teammate Jonathan Martin. An expert on workplace bullying says this type of harassment doesn’t only happen in the locker room.

“This is happening to 35 percent of Americans who understand this bullying up close and personally,” explains Workplace Bullying Institute Director Dr. Gary Namie. Unfortunately, he says, bosses often ignore it.

“The most common response by American employers, if you’re having this problem with somebody else, work it out between yourselves,” Namie said. “That’s an abdication of responsibility. You’re the manager. You go down and resolve this because it’s too destructive to the work team.”

Namie says many employees will stay and take the abuse because they need the income. For others, it’s a matter of pride: they don’t want their abuser to win, but he says they pay the price in stress and depression.

Namie points to new research which shows that witnesses to bullying in the workplace can also become as clinically depressed as the targets themselves. Namie says managers should realize that impacts the bottom line, due to increased absenteeism and turnover.

That’s why he applauds Jonathan Martin for having the courage to walk away.

“Anybody can be bullied at any time. Just as anybody can be traumatized.”

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