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Date: October 20, 2000

"Bullybusters" to Speak at Victoria Harassment Conference

Mention the word "bully" and most of us think back to childhood and that jerk who liked to push other kids around in the schoolyard.

But as Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie will tell you, bullies aren't confined to schoolyards -- they're in the workplace, too, intimidating, humiliating, abusing, threatening and even assaulting their co-workers. In fact, a new study has shown that bullying in the workplace is more common than sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

The Namies -- founders of the Campaign Against Workplace Bullying, a U.S. advocacy and education organization -- will bring their "bullybusting" message to Victoria Nov. 1-3 when they address the annual conference of the Canadian Association Against Harassment in Higher Education (CAASHHE), hosted by UVic. More than 130 university, college, government and corporate advisors on human rights, harassment and discrimination are expected to attend the event.

The Namies will present research on the extent of bullying in the workplace and its consequences, give an overview of anti-bullying efforts worldwide, and discuss organizational solutions.

The topic is very timely, says Susan Shaw, director of UVic's office for the prevention of discrimination and harassment, and president of CAASHHE. "Universities and colleges are currently struggling with definitions of personal harassment, how to best deal with a complaint and how to improve the work environment so that bullying behaviour is unacceptable."

The Namies define workplace bullying as "the deliberate, repeated, hurtful mistreatment" of another person. Their research shows that the vast majority of bullies (81 per cent) are bosses, some are peers (14 per cent) and a few bully up the ladder.

Media contacts:
Susan Shaw (UVic office for the prevention of discrimination and harassment) at 721-7007
Gary Namie, Campaign Against Workplace Bullying (based in San Francisco) at (707) 745-6630 (until Oct. 25).

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

(image: fern)