Friday, July 25, 2008

Workplace Bullying vs. Domestic Bullying

I recently corresponded with a woman who reports having been stalked for nine years by an ex-boyfriend, a doctor who works in a hospital. I don’t doubt her when she says, “I have a big load of problems.” Nor do I doubt that she is bullied, but there is a distinction between workplace bullying and “domestic” bullying. Stalking and domestic abuse are matters for law enforcement officials; whereas, workplace bullying isn’t illegal, yet. Thirteen states have introduced bills to make workplace bullying illegal. So far, none have passed, but I expect eventually a bill will pass into law, and others will follow.

This photo was taken in an artist’s shop in South Africa. It’s cute and funny, but it’s also a reminder to know where your kids are and what they are doing.

Childhood bullies grow up to be workplace bullies, and without their parent’s help and support, childhood targets can become adult targets.


Mimi Meredith said...

Jean, thank you for making this important distinction. Both forms of intimidation can be devastating. My guess is that people give far less attention to the workplace bullies. Do you think it's just because we're so used to those manipulative and mean personalities from the playgrounds of life that we enable their existence through tolerating them at work?

Bad Apple Polisher said...

Mimi, you hit the nail on the head. Tolerating workplace bullies, for whatever reason, is how they retain power over their targets. Because they continue to get away with their negative behaviors, they feel more and more powerful, protected and entitled.

The BIKE Lady said...

This sense of entitlement is reason domestic bullying occurs as well. If you give someone power over you once, they'll take it again, thinking they can. I think we mistake ignoring the behavior as the answer. And I undersstand the distinction, but I doubt the workplace bully is a bully only at work.

What do you think?

Bad Apple Polisher said...

Jackie, you are right. Workplace bullies rarely can limit their negative behaviors to the workplace. Much of the difference between workplace bullying and domestic bullying lies in the choice of target, their methods, and the legal system.