Independence Day Special: Freedom from Bullying
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – It may take some more time for the Healthy Workplace bill to pass in the empire state in order for victims of bullying to gain leverage due to political snags. But to stop bullying in workplaces, legal remedies could come secondary to education and individual consciousness. A nurse clinician had said that dealing with bullying has to start with the individual and those victimized to take responsibility of calling out their bullies.
The bullying culture in America has become an epidemic, said a report of the Fortune Magazine, and asked employers to take notice. On the legislative side, a petition for a Healthy Workplace bill was passed around the social media for petition before the NY assembly and senate upon the initiation of Hunter assistant professor for film and media studies Gregg Morris. It has been seven years since the bill had been cooked up and legislators up in Albany needed more time and effort to pass it into law.
Bullying is prevalent in work places all over the country, said the June 2017 US Workplace Bullying Survey of the Workplace Bullying Institute. The results are glaring:
• 19% of Americans are bullied, another 19% witness it
• 61% of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace
• 60 million Americans are affected by it (roughly equal to the number of people who live in California and New York combined)
• 70% of perpetrators are men; 60% of targets are women
• Hispanics are the most frequently bullied race
• 61% of bullies are bosses, the majority (63%) operate alone
• 40% of bullied targets are believed to suffer adverse health effects
• 29% of targets remain silent about their experiences
• 71% of employer reactions are harmful to targets
• 60% of coworker reactions are harmful to targets
• To stop it, 65% of targets lose their original jobs
• 77% of Americans support enacting a new law
• 45% report worsening of work relationships, post-Trump election
Education is Key
Legislative and legal remedies are step up solutions to subvert the culture of bullying. But it could be stopped by individuals themselves, in their own conscious and brave way. Laura Garcia, a Filipino nurse clinician at the NYU Langone Medical Center and educator the NYU College of Nursing, tells her story.
Being a nurse in the US could be rewarding and financially stable, but bullying may be its price too. Asked how she dealt with it, Laura said: “There is no one best formula to deal with bullying, as there are many forms of bullying. I think detection is the key – whether you’re a victim of the bully or your friend or colleague is a victim of the bully – detection is important to base your plan of action.”
The feisty nurse who just earned her doctorate degree as Nurse Practitioner at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey said it was important to make known to the person who bullied you and that you will not tolerate such disrespect.
Garcia emphasized that not everybody will like you. “No amount of being nice will make you win everyone’s hearts. Sometimes, people just don’t like the way you breathe. Most of the time, it’s not your fault that you are bullied. There are just people who are bullies, period.”
Her Narrative: Stop Bullying Me
Garcia recounted her first experience at being bullied. “When I first came to America, we had a manager who was a bully. She would micromanage us in the clinical area, closely watch our break time, and speak to us in a loud and aggressive voice in front of patients and doctors.
“One day, I pulled my boss aside and spoke to her, letting her know how I felt and that I did not appreciate being disrespected. I was ready to be fired that moment. But after our “chat,” we became best of friends. Not all things work together for good. There will be times when we need help or people need our help.
“I think the worst thing about bullying is ignoring that it exists, whether in the workplace or anywhere else; and that you or your colleagues are victims. Bullying is our fight. We should all work together to stop bullying.”
The Bullying Research Institute noted that there are about 60 million Americans experiencing bullying and 77% of those surveyed support the passing of a new law that would penalize bullies. (Featured photo is Ms. Laura Garcia, middle, with a few of her nursing students at NYU)