‘It’s all preventable’: tackling America’s workplace suicide epidemic

Michael Sainato in The Guardian:

Evan Seyfried, 40, a Kroger employee for nearly 20 years in Milford, Ohio, died by suicide on 9 March 2021, after experiencing months of harassment, bullying and abuse in the workplace, according to a lawsuit against Kroger filed by his family in 2021 that is still pending in court. Jana Murphy, a close friend of the Seyfried family, organized Justice for Evan, a group that has organized several protests over the past year demanding action from Kroger. The group is pushing for not only justice for the Seyfried family, but for legislation to protect workers from workplace bullying and harassment such as Evan Seyfried allegedly endured. “No one was helping him. They didn’t want to be the target,” said Murphy. “There are these people now who have called me, crying their eyes out, feeling like they could have saved his life because they didn’t do anything.”

According to the lawsuit, Seyfried began experiencing bullying and harassment from his store manager for wearing a face mask at work and turning down her sexual advances. Then the bullying turned into sabotaging his department, intimidation, threats and surveillance. The harassment continued despite reports and complaints made with Kroger and the local union.

“He took all the proper channels that we’re told to utilize when these things happen, only to be shut down and not have it handled whatsoever,” said Erica Erskine, a Kroger employee in the south-west US for 24 years who has volunteered with the Justice for Evan group since 2021. “This goes on not only at Kroger, but in every job sector, private and public, all over the country. This is the time to bring this to light because of everything that transpired with the pandemic. Workers are finally standing up to say, we’re not going to tolerate this kind of treatment any more, we’re sick and tired of being abused.”

More here.