"I must write a response to a blog author who expressed the belief that if targets would speak up, workplace bullies would go away or change their behavior. That logic struck me like, "If no one is in the forest to hear the tree fall, would it make noise?" If targets stand up for themselves, do we have any real evidence bullies will go away or stop their behavior? This is not rudeness we are talking about. I say, go research the phenomenon of workplace bullying, then write about it.
Sadly, targets often get blamed for the behavior of their perpetrator. Bullies are self-contained. They do not need to be set off by anyone else's behavior, and seldom will they voluntarily stop their behavior simply because a target calls them on it. That is why it is so very important that companies put policies and procedures in place to correct and prevent workplace bullying, much like the law now requires they do in regard to sexual harrassment.
Although we don't yet have any laws in the United States to protect us from this life altering phenomenon, we are not going away. We will keep up our citizen lobbying until we achieve legal protection. I am sure there are some employers who are savvy enough to see that changes are coming. Many realize that productivity in the workplace is directly linked to maintaining a healthy environment, both mentally and physically.
So to those who want to believe that all it takes to stop this problem is to stand up for yourself, I respond by saying that I am standing up for myself by leaving the toxic environment that supports the bully and joining others in the campaign to pass legislation to compel employers to confront the bullies, call them on their behavior, and demand that they change or be held liable if they do not!"
Thank you to the member of the California Healthy Workplace Advocates who contributed this entry. We are part of a HUGE network of states, workers, and professionals who are working toward legislation to correct and prevent workplace bullying. Please join us.