History of the Workplace Bullying Institute

The Workplace Bullying Institute's original web presence started in the early 1990's. Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie had established unique, pro-employee advice at the Work Doctor website. At the time, the married couple had 30-years combined professional experiences culled from counseling, educating, training, and coaching people in the workplace.

In 1995-96, Dr. Ruth experienced bullying firsthand. It was at the hands of a female tyrant backed by all the institutional power of a large HMO. The Namies did not go looking for the phenomenon. As every target can testify, bullying came uninvited.

As management professor and organizational consultants, coupled with their professional psychological training and experience -- they began helping others in the U.S. by starting the Campaign Against Workplace Bullying in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998. The Namies established the only U.S. bullying telephone crisis-line helping over 5000 individuals. Media awareness began thanks to USA Today and continues with appearances in over 900 print and broadcast media.

The Namies authored their first book, BullyProof Yourself At Work! in 1998. Year 2000 was a landmark year. The Namies' second book, The Bully At Work, was published by Sourcebooks. With a second edition released in June 2009.

Additionally in 2000, in Oakland, CA, the Campaign Against Workplace Bullying hosted the first U.S. conference dedicated to workplace bullying. A second conference in 2000 was hosted by the Suffolk University Law School.

In 2002, the Campaign became the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) to better reflect the research contribution made to the international fight against workplace bullying. WBI remains sole North American nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of Workplace Bullying through education and research.

In the fall of 2007, the Workplace Bullying Institute partnered with Zogby International to conduct the first representative study of all adult Americans on the topic of workplace bullying. This study was made passible thanks to a generous grant from the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention. The principal findings convinced doubters that bullying was a substantial problem.

An separate division is the WBI-Legislative Campaign, launched in 2007, to enhance the focus on public policy solutions for workplace bullying. More information on the Legislative Campaign can be found at the WBI-Legislative Campaign official website. Since 2003, 17 states have introduced the WBI Anti-Bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.

With the creation of the WBI, the Namies are able to offer an opportunity for those who wish to learn in-depth about workplace bullying directly from Dr. Ruth and Dr. Gary Namie. Thus in 2008, the WBI University was launched to provide training for professionals wishing to spread the movement using WBI research, materials, and unique approach. For more information, visit the WBI University website.