I’m glad to see an article that emphasizes the “gender-slant” of management personnel when it comes to bullying. It emphasizes that because of the “cat-fighting” aspect of the situation, it makes it difficult to identify it as bullying.
I ask that people remember the mindset behind the issues overall with workplace bullying cases. Too many times, employers try to make targets out as “whiners” and that the target just does not want to take orders. The employer may paint the target as someone that just doesn’t respond well to tougher management styles. They try to defend the practice taken against the target as a problem employee that received justified disciplinary actions.It is too easy to allow a bully to get away with their actions if the employer chooses to believe that the target is simply someone who got what they had coming.
All bullying charges need to be taken seriously and investigated fully. That is why there is a problem with questioning a female-to-female bullying scenario simply as “cat-fighting.” At best it seems sexist. At worst, it seems to be “business as usual” for management to turn a blind-eye to legitimate bullying charges.
Finally – I want to point out that subordinate to supervisor bullying is real. It is, as the article points out, a rare occurrence and therefore it is an easily overlooked type of bullying. Upper managers need to take seriously any bullying charges a line supervisor makes against one of their subordinates. These charges can be just as founded as charges a subordinate makes against a supervisor and deserve a full investigation.
By Vivia Chen
June 25, 2010
Here’s a nice revenge fantasy: Instead of a nasty partner tormenting some poor associate, it’s the subordinate who bullies the boss to the breaking point. Even better, the firm fails to come to the partner’s defense, and the partner has a breakdown and eventually leaves.
That, in essence, is the story of Caroline Cowper, the former head of legal for Zurich UK Services Ltd’s U.K. division, who claims that she was bullied and harassed by a junior lawyer, Pearl Lestrade-Brown. Cowper is now suing her employer for failing to take action to address the abuse, reports the Telegraph.