Could Your Co-Workers be Bullies?

Have you seen this story yet on the employee that is suing her former boss and employer after donating a kidney?  It’s very compelling, the employee donates her kidney so her boss can be on the donation list and then alleges that her boss and employer mistreated her after the donation was made.  It’s very possible that what she is saying is true, but it’s equally possible that the employee just expected to not have to perform in her job because of the good deed.  We don’t know “the truth” and perhaps we never will.  But what if this is just a disgruntled employee looking for “easy money?”   What if it is all a lie?  The former employee has worked very hard to get a lot of press and the employer is now subject to a lawsuit and a lot of negative publicity.  That negative publicity could hurt the business..  Don’t forget, when the business is hurt everyone’s job at the company is at risk.

Don’t think this could happen at your job?  Well, consider social media.  People have a lot of power today to really hurt their employer and co-workers if they want to through their postings.  Complaints and allegations can go viral and once the negativity is out there the damage is done.  Of course there are libel and slander laws but sometimes people just don’t care or don’t get it and then it’s just too late.  Companies have gone as far as to insist on having a prospective employee give up their personal social media log-in information but I think that’s just going way too far, don’t you?

Rumors, negative news and allegations travel faster and farther now through technology and this is something that we all have to take very seriously for ourselves, our businesses, our co-workers and our employers.


1.  Stop posting anything that could be construed as negative, especially anything against a co-worker, employee or employer in a public foruum.  No matter how many passwords and privacy settings you think are protecting you, simply consider everything you post online as public.  Seriously, that person that you think is your long lost buddy from high-school, might not be – – there’s so much informatino out there, ANYONE could portray themselves as someone they are not in order to get insight into valuable personal or corporate data.

2.  If you own your business set up a social media policy just as soon as you can.  Make certain to get that policy checked out by an attorney to ensure that the policy is enforceable, doesn’t put you at even more risk, or is illegal.  Once it’s “blessed” by the lawyers, communicate it to your employees and enforce it.

3.  If you work for a company, bring this situation up to your superiors today.  It will show that you care about the company and are thinking about ways to improve and protect the business.

I don’t know why some people think it’s “cool” to bash their employer, boss or co-workers.  It seems like that is some kind of accepted social behavior.  That’s nothing new.  There are certainly times when the employer or the person you share the office with is horrible.  Before the world got so complicated and interconnected, negative commentary was a problem that hurt people and organizations.  But now, it’s even worse.  Further, if you start posting negative things online you’re putting your future job or business in jeopardy because employers and clients are looking more into your online life in order to make an assessment about you.  We’re so concerned about kids bullying one another but negativity online about the workplace is the adult version of bullying with equally devastating results.

This is a serious business problem that we’re all likely to deal with at some point or another, like it or not.  So, I’m wondering what your take is on this?  What solutions you’ve come up with?



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