…physically at least. An already exhausted employee can spend hours wondering how a fully grown “adult” coworker can openly behave like the stereotypical schoolyard bully: spreading rumors, leaving individuals out of group activities, etc. Even in his or her free time that employee can go mad trying to understand why employers don’t educate staff members on how to identify bullying behavior. What intervention options are available to the employee if abuse persists? Do those intervention options exist at all? Often employers address these types of conflicts by falsely attacking a hurt and confused victim; overlooking (or denying) the very real possibility of managerial incompetence and the toxic environment that comes from unaddressed problems.
For Brodie Panlock in 2006, the bullying she faced at her café job had reached a fever pitch. Coworkers witnessed others “covering her with chocolate sauce, telling her that she was worthless and didn’t deserve to be there…they would just grab her and hold her down and put [fish] oil over her so she couldn’t get away…on three or four occasions.” Other accounts addressed how Brodie was occasionally spat on, with one soulless colleague suggesting she take rat poison. An awful suggestion she took to heart when attempting to commit suicide in May. Come September of that year, Brodie was driven to end the “unbearable level of humiliation” by jumping off a very tall building.
Brodie’s tragic death was absolutely avoidable. Thankfully, legal action to hold her bullies accountable was unavoidable and the café/bullies would be fined a total $335,000. If you are thinking at this point that a fine is not enough for such an extreme outcome – know that this case brought about Brodie’s Law. This law was the first of its kind to bring jail time for any abuse that leads to tragedy such as this. The ripple effect of Brodie’s death / law continues to this day to push the blame of abuse back where it belongs: on workplace bullies and the cowardly behavior they practice.
Think you’re the victim of workplace bullying? Need help identifying what to look for and what to do next? Check out this oversized (but extremely informative) graphic provided by the internationalbusinessguide.org: http://imgur.com/Z8inVTQ