01 September 2009
NEWS INTERVIEW - Women Bullies In The Workplace
When many people think of bullies, the thought of kids on a playground usually comes to mind. A group called Workplace Bullying Institute shows that about 40 percent of bullies at work are women who target other women about 70 percent of the time.
Marsha Petrie Sue said she worked for a woman who bullied her.
"But then I got promoted and we were peers. Yeah baby!" said Sue.
Sue went on to become a professional speaker and writer and her latest book is called, "Toxic People."
"It's not right or wrong. It just is. Men and women have been socialized differently," said Sue. "We have a tendency when we get our feathers ruffled, to keep it on our sleeve. I have learned that the way I was raised didn't necessarily set me up to work within a male-dominated environment."
Sheri Perkins works at Adecco, the world's largest staffing company. "I'm not going to say that it isn't realistic that a lot of women are very catty," said Perkins. "Sometimes women do tend to pick on other women maybe especially if one woman is a stronger personality than another."
Perkins went on to say, "When the economy is the way it is, that people may act out in ways that maybe they normally wouldn't and I think if someone ever tried to bully me, I would stop it immediately. That's just my personality. I don't care if you're a man or a woman."
Roxy Westphal had her own experience with bullying in the workplace. "They look at other women as a threat rather than as someone who can help them succeed. She just attacked me. I left the building in tears. I didn't even know how to respond to her. It was such as brutal attack," recalled Westphal.
Three weeks after the run-in with her co-worker, Westphal said she took another job with another company. Westphal now runs her own company, making and selling embroidered luggage for corporate events.
"If you talk to women and say do women treat other women differently in the workplace, all my friends roll their eyes and go 'oh yeah,'" said Westphal.
According to the United Nations' International Labor Organization, workplace bullying often goes unreported. Since the bullying isn't considered illegal, even when reported employers rarely take action.