Apparently even in France where workplace bullying is illegal and employees have a government agency to report the bullying or mobbing(when two or more do it together) to they continue to have horrible problems. It seems a great deal of it is happening because they have laws to protect people's jobs and management is trying to get rid of the older employees. That is one of the many reasons it is done. Eric Pape’s piece in the Daily Beast discusses multiple suicides due to workplace bullying at a company in France.

In the middle of a meeting with his bosses at France Telecom in eastern Paris on September 9, technician Yonnel Dervin whipped out a knife, pointed the blade toward himself, and jabbed it into his own stomach. Yes, his position was being eliminated, but his three decades of tenure and his old-school contract meant that Dervin, 49, could stay with the company in the same city, field, and office. He just had to do less interesting work with less prestige attached to.
I believe there is a lot more to the story than this. Think what had to go on before someone would just stab themselves like he did.

Before anyone concludes that Dervin is just the sort of mentally ill employee who snaps in a recession, it is worth mentioning that such workplace freakouts are hardly unprecedented at France Telecom. On September 14, an employee in the French town of Metz responded to word that she would be transferred to a new city (to work with unknown colleagues) by leaving for her lunch break—and feasting on barbiturates. She was found unconscious, but alive.

Frequently after a target has become ill with PTSD and left due to psychological illness or has tried suicide either successfully or not they will say something like, "I am glad she is gone, she was crazy anyway." At Norton Sound Hospital I watched them say this about several people. I was puzzled as to what was going on and did not know what to do. Once I saw the pattern and they said this same thing about someone I said, "She wasn't crazy when she got here, something happened to her here to cause it." I believe that is one of the reasons they stepped up the bullying on me.
... on September 11, company management told a 32-year-old employee in the mobile-phone division that she, too, would be assigned to a new team. She returned to her fifth-floor office, opened the window, and leapt out onto the street in Paris’ 17th arrondissement. She died at the hospital—the sixth France Telecom employee to commit suicide in two months.
Workplace Bullying is psychological terror. We only know about this new assignment. What had gone on before that will probably never all be known.

French unions say that, as of this writing, there have been 23 suicides in the company since early 2008.
There are estimated to be between 300 and 400 work-related suicides per year in France, with a wide array of particularly high-profile deaths at former state monopolies. There were four suicides in a two-year period at a single power plant run by Électricité de France, and three more at the Technocentre Renault in the Parisian suburb of Guyancourt in a five-month period—including one man who threw himself from of the fifth floor and noisily landed on an indoor glass roof during the morning shift. But the epicenter of the phenomenon is France Telecom, where union representatives assert that there have been about as many failed suicide efforts as successful ones.

When non-bullied employees watch others being bullied, it takes a toll on them too. When it comes time for them to be bullied they already know what will happen to them and they become dispondent.

When people suicide in the US the workplace is rarely looked at. It is assumed the employee just had some psychological problems. They do, but it is frequently PTSD caused by a type of workplace violence which is psychological. The people who perpetrate such psychological terrorism have been called soul stalkers by France's Marie France Hirigoyen in her book, Stalking the Soul. She is one of the world's foremost authorities on workplace bullying.

So unions accuse management of resorting to “harcèlement moral,” which translates as “moral harassment,” although it specifically refers to illegal workplace bullying that often aims to drive down morale and persuade protected employees to quit.

Early this summer, though, a 51-year-old male employee in Marseille aimed to send an unequivocal message. He lamented overwork and "management by terror," and wrote of a sense of "permanent emergency" in the workplace. "I am committing suicide because of my work at France Telecom. It is the only reason," he wrote in his farewell letter. "I have become a wreck. It is best to finish it."

Studies reveal that employees in the US are bullied up to 50% more often than workers in Scandinavia. Only 9% of employees were aware that the negative acts they experienced constituted bullying, suggesting that bullying behavior is ingrained in the culture of the US workplace.

(Pamela) Lutgen-Sandvik explains why this study is so significant: "Workers suffering on the job and thinking they're 'going crazy' learn that the phenomenon has a name, what it looks like, that it happens to many workers, and potentially, what they might do about it."

One of the things I said about what I went through in Nome was that I felt like I was going crazy and I had already seen several people who looked like they were about to have a nervous break down and some did.

The study concludes that US organizational and cultural structures frequently enable, trigger, and reward bullying. U.S. companies stress market processes, individualism, and the importance of managers over workers, which discourages collaborative efforts and enables powerful organizational members to bully others without recrimination. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529112321.htm
I found out there have been 15 states which have had legislature written against workplace bullying instead of the 13 I knew about before. This gives me hope that the word is getting out and people are trying to do something about this problem. This country most likely has the worst problem and certainly has the most denial about this issue which causes so much misery. The number of workplace suicides reported in 2008 in the US rose by 28 percent 2007, according to the US Labor Department. Part of this is due to the economic problems we are having, but these problems would also hold people hostage to jobs they needed to leave to get away from the psychopaths who were torturing them.

Imagine with the economy being the way it is and jobs being scarce what it is like for someone who needs to leave a job due to being psychologically tortured by one or more serial bullies. It is made worse by the difficulties of getting or affording health insurance. Many people are staying in jobs to keep their insurance.

Recent research done in France showed workplace bullying causes sleep problems not just in the targets, but also in those who are observing.


Suicide(in relation to workplace bullying)

From Bulllyonline.org

People who are bullied have many common characteristics including an unwillingness to resort to violence (or legal action) to resolve conflict, and a tendency to internalize anger rather than express it outwardly. Focusing anger inward is a recognized cause of depression. Bullying is perpetrated over a long period of time, perhaps measured in years, and the internalized anger builds to the point where one of these three occur:

the target starts to exhibit all the symptoms of stress as the internal pressure causes the body to go out of stasis (this happens in every case)

the target focuses the anger onto themselves and self-harms, either by using drugs (usually alcohol), or by attempting or committing suicide (the UK has the highest suicide rate in Europe)

in rare cases, and the target "flips" and starts to exhibit the same behaviors as the bully; in extremely rare but well-publicized cases, the target returns to the workplace to carry out a spree killing

How many adult suicides are caused by bullying? Consider the following:

bullying (an abdication and denial for the effect of one's behavior on others)
prolonged negative stress (psychiatric injury)
...which includes...
reactive depression (the cause is external - someone is responsible and liable)
...which results in...
fluctuating baseline of one's objectivity (balance of the mind disturbed)
...which leads to...
contemplated suicide (being viewed as suffering mental illness)
...culminating in...
attempted suicide (cry for help)
...which may end in...
suicide (manslaughter - causation)

It's likely that many suicides are the result of bullying, but the target's lack of awareness of what is going on, their unwillingness to confide what is happening, the traumatization, and the inability to articulate, everyone else's denial, the bully's accomplished lying and Jekyll and Hyde nature, plus the general lack of knowledge and awareness of society, prevent the real cause from being identified.


Anonymous said...

Celia I am going to email you...I have been in my own personal hell for 2 years...I lost everything...and I am currently represented by an attorney...this is SUCH a real living breathing problem...I have written 25 legislators and have not heard back from one...it is so discouraging but I am not giving up the fight.

Unknown said...

It is bad that the USA, a developed country does not have laws to protect its employees. That is why we have the highest death rates in medicine. Workplace bullying leads to mistakes leads to deaths.