In a recent article titled "The World's Nicest, Most Law Abiding Generation", Margaret Wente makes some starting claims about office harassment and changing workplace cultures.
I wish Margaret Wente were correct – particularly regarding the assertion that bullying is no longer a feature of workplaces.
The evidence overwhelmingly paints the opposite picture. Workplace bullying and harassment continue to destroy careers and lives, and it still isn’t dealt with effectively by organizations.
Consider that only one Fortune 1000 CEO is openly gay, and that up to 120,000 deaths annually in the United States are attributable to workplace stress.
An estimated 54 million Americans have been bullied at some point in their career. In Canada, 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis. This hardly sounds like workplace bullying has disappeared.
After hundreds of interviews with people who were bullied, it is clear that HR is in many situations the problem, and not the solution.
There is no research I am aware of that indicates bullies “quickly find themselves out of jobs.”
Here in Canada, the Rubin Report on the Ghomeshi saga graphically displayed that organizational responses to known bullying range from incompetence to indifference. It also mentioned that bullying at the hands of hosts isn’t limited to Ghomeshi, yet no one else has lost their position.
Workplace bullying is a real and destructive problem that absolutely cannot be downplayed. Unfortunately, Margaret Wente does not use any statistics to back-up her claims. There is still much work to be done to combat workplace harassment.