Take action today to help end workplace bullying


While we’re gearing up for a t-shirt decorating and sign-holding event in Providence today with the Rhode Island Healthy Workplace Advocates in preparation for Boston’s first annual bullying walk next weekend, it’s the perfect time to remind us all of our power to create change: by posting an event on our Action Team event page, you can:

  • Spread the word about what workplace bullying is and why it needs to end.
  • Mobilize advocates in your area to support each other and to feel empowered.
  • Show legislators how much of a force is behind this cause.

There’s no better way to take back the power than to take action (if you’ve healed from the trauma of workplace bullying). You can:

  • Host a gathering at your home to talk about what workplace bullying is and what you can do in your local area to spread the word about ending it.
  • Hold signs while the weather is warmer and politics are on people’s minds. For less than $10, you can buy posters, markers, and some cocoa and pick a high-traffic corner in your town to stand on for a couple of hours.
  • Get creative. Come up with another easy concept to bring people together and spread the word.

We’re behind you 100%. You have our full support to take action to help make history. All you need is a couple hours and a partner. We’ll even post the event on Facebook for you to help spread the word.

Take action today by managing an event.

Brand new study shows that workplace bullies feel entitled and not accountable

Stressed business woman

We know workplace bullying can harm a target’s health, leading to such issues as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even suicide. But what about the bullies? Publishing their findings in the October 2016 Journal of Business Ethics in “Victim and Culprit? The Effects of Entitlement and Felt Accountability on Perceptions of Abusive Supervision and Perpetration of Workplace Bullying,” researchers focused on the problem — what makes a bully bully. They determined that bullies feel less accountability and more entitlement than those who don’t bully. “There’s an indirect relationship between entitlement and coworker bullying through perceptions of abusive supervision that is stronger for employees who report lower levels of felt accountability than employees who report higher levels of felt accountability,” said the researchers.

We’re growing our base to end workplace bullying


At the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session, 1,766 people liked the Massachusetts Anti-Workplace Bullying Healthy Workplace Bill Facebook page. That’s 1,766 people since roughly 2010.

Today, 2,660 people like our Facebook page. That’s an increase of 66 percent in the last two years alone. That’s no small feat.


Our website user base is growing at the same rate. Until the last legislation session, we had 20,570 users.


In the last full session, we added more than 10,000 users, most of them new and spending nearly 2:30 minutes on the website each.

Those are metrics to be proud of. You spread the word every time you like or share a Facebook post, tweet, hand out flyers, and tell someone about the bill.

Thanks for all of your work. We’ve come a long way to make “workplace bullying” a household term.

How other countries affirm human dignity

Michael Moore’s 2015 documentary Where to Invade Next isn’t about America’s war history. It’s about how other countries affirm human dignity through policy. It’s a look at how policy shapes culture and creates cultures of “we,” where people look out for their neighbors, instead of cultures of “me.” For example:

  • In Germany, it’s illegal for a boss to contact his or her subordinates while they’re on vacation.
  • In Slovenia, it’s normal for students to protest when administrators threaten their tuition-free higher education.
  • In Norway, prison guards use conversation instead of violence and humiliation. The maximum sentence is 21 years, and Norway has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

Explains Wikipedia:

The countries and topics in order of appearance:

  • Italy: labor rights and workers’ well-being: paid holiday, paid honeymoon, thirteenth salary, two-hour lunch breaks, paid parental leave
  • France: school meals and sex education
  • Finland: education policy (almost no homework, no standardized testing)
  • Slovenia: debt-free/tuition-free higher education
  • Germany: labor rights and work–life balance and the value of honest, frank national history education particularly as it relates to Nazi Germany
  • Portugal: May Day, drug policy of Portugal, and the abolition of the death penalty
  • Norway: humane prison system and Norway’s response to the 2011 Utøya attacks
  • Tunisia: women’s rights, including reproductive health, access to abortion and their role in the Tunisian Revolution and the drafting of the Tunisian Constitution of 2014
  • Iceland: women in power, speaking with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the world’s first democratically elected female president, the Best Party, and the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis and the criminal investigation and prosecution of bankers

Moore concludes the film by giving examples of these policies that had American roots, meaning that there’s hope for change in the U.S..

What Elphaba from Wicked can teach us about ending workplace bullying


Photo from Rogers Digital World

Writers of the musical Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz, question a major theme of the film on which the story is based: that people are purely good or evil. In Wicked, we see negative traits in Glinda, the good witch, and positive traits of Elphaba, the wicked witch of the West.

Elphaba fights the oppression of animals in Oz, ultimately going up against the Wizard despite once looking up to him. And the song “Defying Gravity” encapsulates Elphaba’s tenacity in going up against the oppression.

It’s with the same determination that we act to end workplace bullying.

We’re “through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap.”

We’re “through accepting limits ’cause someone says they’re so. Some things I cannot change, but till I try, I’ll never know…. As someone told me lately: ‘Everyone deserves the chance to fly!’ And if I’m flying solo at least I’m flying free. To those who’d ground me, take a message back from me: tell them how I am defying gravity. I’m flying high defying gravity and soon I’ll match them in renown. And nobody in all of Oz, no Wizard that there is or was is ever gonna bring me down.”

Hear the song “Defying Gravity” performed by Idina Menzel on Late Night with David Letterman.

The lyrics:

Elphaba – why couldn’t you have just stayed calm for once, instead of flying off the handle!
I hope you’re happy!
I hope you’re happy now
I hope you’re happy how you
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you’re clever!

I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy, too
I hope you’re proud how you
Would grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

So though I can’t imagine how
I hope you’re happy right now

Elphie, listen to me. Just say you’re sorry:
You can still be with the Wizard
What you’ve worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted:

I know:
But I don’t want it –
No – I can’t want it

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

Can’t I make you understand?
You’re having delusions of grandeur:

I’m through accepting limits
’cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down:
Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could
do, together.

Together we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest team
There’s ever been
Glinda –
Dreams, the way we planned ’em

If we work in tandem:

There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I
Defying gravity
With you and I
Defying gravity

They’ll never bring us down!
Well? Are you coming?

I hope you’re happy
Now that you’re choosing this

You too
I hope it brings you bliss

I really hope you get it
And you don’t live to regret it

I hope you’re happy in the end
I hope you’re happy, my friend:

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I’m flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown!
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

I hope you’re happy!

Look at her, she’s wicked!
Get her!

Bring me down!

Why bullies get ahead at work

Mobbing at work

“Excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you,” says leadership speaker William Deresiewicz. Most of us who find ourselves bullied at work wonder how on earth the incompetent bullies get ahead while the competent and ethical targets stay at lower ranks with less pay and responsibility.

Here are two reasons why bullies get ahead at work:

  1. Our culture rewards narcissism and selfishness. We live in an oppressive culture where enough people believe those who think they’re more important and entitled than others — and allow toxic behavior. When a bully simply takes power and feels entitled to dictate, belittle, control, or manipulate the target by calling him or her “sensitive” or “emotional,” and we or leaders believe the dismissal of the target rather than hold the bully accountable, we help the bully get ahead.
  2. Incompetent people overrate themselves, and competent people overrate others. The phenomenon is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. According to Wikipedia, “the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average…. Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding.”

How we can change the culture

We move the needle when we stop seeing the target as”sensitive” or “emotional” and instead recognize the real problem: the bully’s narcissistic behavior. We change the culture when we:

  • Stand up to belittling, controlling, and manipulative behaviors.
  • Stop giving people power who act entitled to it.
  • Foster a collaborative environment in which we respect all opinions.

Get inspired to act to end workplace bullying

Young businesswoman putting adhesive notes on glass wall in office

Join us EVERY THURSDAY at 10am EST starting on October 6 for a check-in on what’s working and what’s not working with building awareness about workplace bullying. Our focus is on actions in New England states, but anyone is welcome to call in for inspiration and to give updates to inspire others.

It’s all about collaboration, communication, support, and action.

Call into 515-739-1020, access code 335720.