Phyllis said she was the target of an concerted effort to get her kicked off the job because she tried to get one of her students moved up from a special needs class to a regular classroom. Phyllis said her superiors increased her class size, made her workload unbearable and even tried to force her to withdraw previous grievances she filed against the school. Her experience with workplace bullying isn’t an isolated one.
Ron, who is a federal employee, said he too has been the victim of workplace bullying. “They keep picking on you and picking on you and they issue you discipline. They keep adding on the discipline until they finally try to get you removed from the job,” Ron said. “It affects my sleep, my home life, and it puts a stress on the whole family”.
Both Ron and Phyllis have stories all too familiar to Esque Walker, a workplace bully expert, who was once a victim herself. “Workplace bullying is the repeated, health harming mistreatment of an individual in the workplace,” Walker said.Walker said it is a real problem and it takes a toll on its victims. “People lose their lives because of it every day. It’s associated with a high rate of depression and suicide. They want to destroy your psychological well-being,” Walker said.
Walker also added the victims of workplace bullying are usually popular, smart and outgoing. They are a threat to managers who feel inferior. Walker likened workplace bullying to domestic abuse and said laws need to be passed to protect people in the workforce from superiors who bully.
Walker is pushing lawmakers to pass a healthy workplace bill that would establish guidelines to prevent bullying in the workplace, but she has yet to find a sponsor for it.” Until you have laws that govern workplace bullying, the same as you have that governs domestic violence, you will never have harmony in the workplace,” Walker said.