How the Workplace Bullying Institute and Bullying Expert Barbara Coloroso Used Media and Search Engine Optimization as Weapons

We have just distributed the release below to the press about my recent court case against author and bullying expert Barbara Coloroso. As pointed out in the release below, the Toronto Star published an article about the dispute which favoured Coloroso and portrayed me in a negative light.  Coloroso was the source of the article but perjured herself by denying it under oath.  The article has been highly ranked in Google search results of my name for years now, and was linked to multiple times by the website of the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI).  The director of the Institute is Dr. Gary Namie, who is a friend and colleague of Coloroso.  I can now better appreciate how the media and SEO can be used as powerful weapons by bullies. And who would know more about this than so-called bullying experts?

WBI represents itself as the first and only non-profit that deals with eradicating bullying in the workplace. Clearly they shouldn’t be in the business of advising people who have been bullied, but even more worrying is the fact that Namie, the WBI founder, is also the national director of a national grassroots legislative movement to enact an anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. While the bill has been brought before state legislatures numerous times, to date none have passed and they have been unsuccessful in bringing the matter before Congress.   


A five-year legal battle with a co-author has ended in defeat for Barbara Coloroso.  The bestselling author and bullying expert admitted to perjury on the eve of trial, and agreed to a settlement requiring her to make a cash payment and written apology.

 The litigation arose from a 2010 agreement between Coloroso and Andrew Faas, a Canadian philanthropist and retired senior executive, to collaborate on a book on bullying in the workplace for HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. However, Coloroso refused to complete her share of the book, accusing Faas of plagiarism.  Both HarperCollins and Faas were willing to address Coloroso’s concerns through the editing process, but Coloroso declined.  HarperCollins terminated the agreement, as no finished manuscript was delivered.  Faas and Coloroso sued each other for breach of contract.  The action was commenced in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Court File No. CV-12-454927).

In 2013, Faas sought to publish his own book on bullying in the workplace, The Bully’s Trap, with a new publisher.  Unbeknownst to Faas, the publisher made The Bully’s Trap available for sale on its website before it was finished.  Coloroso purchased the book and claimed that it infringed her copyright.  The Bully’s Trap was immediately pulled from the website.  Only two electronic and paperback copies were sold during the six weeks that the book was offered for sale, one of each to Coloroso. Nevertheless, she claimed $5 million from Faas for copyright infringement.

Coloroso told a Toronto Star newspaper reporter Amy Dempsey about her dispute with Faas, and gave her a copy of The Bully’s Trap.  Dempsey wrote an article about the dispute, which the Toronto Star published on August 24, 2013.  The article favored Coloroso and portrayed Faas as a plagiarist, but did not reveal Coloroso as Dempsey’s source.  During an examination on March 5, 2014, Coloroso committed perjury by stating under oath that she “did not give the story to Amy Dempsey” and that she had no knowledge of how the Toronto Star had come to publish the article.She also denied sharing her copy of The Bully’s Trap with the Toronto Star, and denied any knowledge of who had done so. 

 Normally, the Toronto Star article would have dropped over time in the ranking of Google search results on Faas’ name.  However, the article still ranks at the top of the Google search results for Andrew Faas.  Faas commissioned a report from a search engine optimization forensics expert, who concluded that the article was highly ranked largely because it had been linked to multiple times by the website of an anti-bullying organization called the Workplace Bullying Institute. One of the directors of the Institute is Dr. Gary Namie, a friend and colleague of Coloroso.

The trial of Faas’ action and Coloroso’s counterclaim was scheduled to commence on Monday, June 12, 2017.  Dempsey was to be one of the first witnesses, and Faas’ lawyers intended to ask her who her source was. By letter sent on June 9, 2017, Coloroso admitted through her lawyers that she had given the story to the Toronto Star and had provided a copy of The Bully’s Trap to Dempsey, contrary to what she had previously said under oath.  The case settled without a trial.  Coloroso received nothing for her claims.  She agreed to make a $20,000 payment to Faas and to use best efforts to remove the Workplace Bullying Institute web postings, which have now been taken down.  Coloroso also settled a defamation action commenced against her by Faas in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Court File No. CV-16-551504) by providing Faas with a written apology for a mass e-mail that she had sent to more than 200 of Faas’ friends and colleagues.  While Faas is pleased with the outcome of the case, he says the harm to his reputation from Coloroso’s actions lives on, in the form of damaged relationships, loss of business opportunities, and interference with his many philanthropic endeavors. 

“Namie, Barbara Coloroso and the Workplace Bullying Institute should not be in the business of giving bullying advice other than how to bully,” said Faas.

Illustration credit: Global Digital Citizen Foundation