I have spent nearly a quarter of a century studying and trying to eliminate workplace bullying. I have seen terrible outcomes of workplace bullying, including being informed that a target of bullying committed suicide by ingesting anti-freeze. I have seen bullies tear apart organizations. I have seen targets flee their jobs and their careers. I have seen and heard from targets who have retired early and others who have been rushed to hospitals with panic attacks and even heart attacks. I know targets who have questioned their own worth for years and even decades as a result of their bullies.
However, what I see now in the heart of a pandemic is that the worst form of bullying and the worst forms of bullies are emerging. At a time when we all, as a society, should come together to prevent further death and harm (over 170,000 Americans have died as a result of this virus at the time I am writing this), these bullies are running amok in areas of our lives that we should expect so much more and so much better. Many of these bullies will never admit that they are bullies, but they are. Many try to justify their bullying with some higher-level cause, but they can’t because at the end of the day they are violating the most basic of human rights and their most basic responsibilities to society.