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November 26, 2011

psychological terrorism – “…Workplace mobbing can also be considered psychological terrorism, workplace bullying, a hostile workplace environment, psychological manipulation and emotional violence carried out by a group of people that work closely with the intended target. This type of harassment not only affects a person’s capacity to perform their job at work but it also affects their physical health and mental stability as well. Targets of workplace mobbing should be aware that this emotional abuse will put their health at risk. And if not for anything else, the victim of workplace mobbing should take steps to stop this trauma for the sake of his or her physical and emotional well being…” (Workplace Mobbing)

legal duty of an employer to protect – “…It is the legal duty of an employer to protect the mental and physical health of employees. That means protection from harassment, violence and bullying. Across Canada, there has been a major push through legislative amendments to make employers more accountable for fostering mentally safe work environments. This push is backed by case law which has found employers liable for exposing employees to unsafe work environments that have caused unnecessary psychological harm. Many provincial occupational health and safety acts have been expanded to include harm to psychological well-being in the definition of harassment. Managers should never tolerate any violent behaviour including aggression, harassment or threats of violence. Violent or aggressive behaviour hurts the mental health of everyone in the organization and creates a psychologically unsafe work environment filled with fear and anxiety. Many organizations think that harassment, violence and bullying do not affect their workplace however, the prevalence is staggering…” (Harassment, Violence, Bullying and Mobbing)

scapegoating mechanism – “…The main reason for the inadequacies of the Massengill Report, and for simplistic attribution of Cho’s rampage to his allegedly evil character, is the human craving for scapegoats – a phenomenon that René Girard has analyzed with enormous insight. The heaping of all blame for the troubles in a group on one or a few individuals, lets everybody else off the hook. Demonization and eventual elimination of the scapegoat symbolically cleanses the group as a whole, and strengthens the members’ solidarity with one another. To point out that Seung-Hui Cho was mobbed at Virginia Tech is to say also that he was scapegoated. The words are synonyms. At least from the fall semester of 2005, Cho was an outcast in the English Department, an “evil presence.” He was not unknown, not a quiet boy passing beneath other students’ radar. He was known and noteworthy, singled out, marked out, exceptional, as a model of how not to be. Other students passing him in the corridor would have thought to themselves, “We are here; he is there.” Cho sensed this. This scapegoating, I have argued above, led to Cho’s depression, his suicidal tendencies, and in a downward spiral, to his crazed effort at revenge. Once he committed mass murder, the scapegoating mechanism kicked in with overwhelming force, affecting everyone who watched the news, and confirming the prior demonization beyond all doubt. See? He was even more evil than we thought. Only a true devil, the most hideous monster imaginable, could possibly do what he did. We can only be glad he is dead and pull together to heal. An adequate explanation of the Virginia Tech massacre requires becoming conscious of the scapegoating mechanism, transcending it, and then calmly picking through all relevant evidence, toward a factual, reasoned account of what happened and why. It requires accepting the awful truth of what John Donne wrote, that no man is an island, that every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main, that every man’s death diminishes me. This does not mean trying to excuse Cho’s inexcusable crimes. Nor does it mean trying to shift blame and scapegoat somebody else. It means trying to get at the truth of what happened: empirical identification of the sequence of events, what led to what. Sound scientific explanation honors those who wrongly and unnecessarily lost their lives or suffered injury at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, and gives promise of preventing repetition of the tragedy…” (Mobbing And The Virginia Tech Massacre)

actions of the perpetrator are illegal – “…Certainly, each case of mobbing will have different legal merit depending on the client, the employer, the abuse and a variety of other factors. First, consider recourse through internal complaint channels and through formal systems. Some employers may empathize with the target and work to help the situation. Human resource representatives may intervene and attempt mediation. While this may seem a useful path, keep in mind that the human resource department works for the employer. Their primary interest is the employer. Do not allow the client to become overly optimistic or see this as the end to the battle, this may be one more step in a long and painful process. Therefore, Davenport, et al (1999) observe that as a counselor it will be critical to have attorney referrals available that specialize in workplace issues (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999). However, enlisting a lawyer may be the start of a protracted, uphill battle often with little chance of success. An attorney should be able to determine if the actions of the perpetrator are illegal, which mobbing seldom is, or if the actions fall under discrimination, harassment, or hostile work environment (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie & Namie, 2000). Should the actions of the perpetrator be deemed mobbing and legal, work with the client to plan a useful course of action. Harassment or discriminatory treatment-if unrelated to gender, race, age or any other title seven protected categories are not dealt with under current US law (Namie & Namie, 2000). Clients advised by an attorney that they have a case of illegal conduct must still be helped in understanding what this means, and in gaining support for the prolonged battle that may lay ahead…” (Warning: Mobbing is Legal, Work with Caution)

Mobbing in the context of human beings either means bullying of an individual by a group in any context, or specifically any workplace bullying…In medicine, sham peer reviews have been recognised by some as a manifestation of mobbing. US neurologist Lawrence R. Huntoon considers that the psychology of the attackers is a combination of the psychology of bullies and that of the lynch mob. The attacks are typically led by one or a few bullies who have gained positions of power over others and who enjoy exercising and abusing that power to attack and harm the vulnerable (Wikepedia).


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