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Posted by / 07-Jun-2020 23:26

A major USA Today article dated November 19, 2008, entitled “Bullying devastates lives,” and chronicled the sad stories of three women who experienced constant bullying in school – one for having red hair, one for being shy, and one for being “different.” The three women, now ranging in age from 28 to 52, continue to be affected by the bullying that they suffered in school.According to Daniel Nelson, medical director of the Child Psychology Unit at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “…there’s no question that ‘unrelenting,’ daily hostilities that maybe escalate to threats or actual aggression can be on par with torture…,” or that ” repeated and severe bullying can cause psychological trauma.” Nelson went on to observe that “There’s no question that bullying in certain instances can be absolutely devastating.” A companion article talked about a high school girl whose epileptic seizures – of all things!Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well.Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.Sisters Emily and Sarah Buder, appalled by the news, wrote letters to the girl and asked friends to do so as well.They hoped for 50 letters; the current total is 6,500, and counting!When a situation arises that benefits an employee while affecting your company, it becomes a conflict of interest.And employees are bound through your company’s code of conduct to act in the interests of their employer and not for their own personal gain.

In fact, I just received an e-mail from a woman who indicated that she has been bullied so severely in her current job, to include being screamed at in anger by managers and treated with no respect by some of her co-workers, that she felt compelled to tell her story to someone.It’s best for employees not to enter into a situation where their actions might create a conflict, whether it’s actual, potential or perceived, without disclosing the information.So what are some examples of situations your employees might find themselves in?I also ran across a November 7 Reuters article entitled “Bullies may get kick out of seeing others in pain.” In this one, University of Chicago “researchers compared eight boys ages 16 to 18 with aggressive conduct disorder to a group of eight adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression.” The article went on to state that, in the “aggressive teens, areas of the brain linked with feeling rewarded…became very active when they observed video clips of pain being inflicted on others.But they showed little activity in an area of the brain involved in self-regulation…as was seen in the control group.” Researcher Benjamin Lahey noted that “It is entirely possible their brains are lighting in the way they are because they experience seeing pain in others as exciting and fun and pleasurable.” Lahey went on to say that “the differences between the two groups were strong and striking, but cautioned that the study was small and needs to be confirmed by a larger study.” How does all of this relate to the Federal workplace?

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With training, you can provide scenarios to employees and help guide them to making the right choice when a conflict of interest arises.