1st Edition

Black Women, Intersectionality, and Workplace Bullying Intersecting Distress

By Leah P. Hollis Copyright 2023
    100 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Black Women, Intersectionality, and Workplace Bullying extends and enriches the current literature on workplace bullying by examining specifically how work abuse disproportionality hurts women of color, affecting their mental health negatively and hence their career progression.

    In this interdisciplinary text, Hollis combines the fields of intersectionality and workplace bullying to present a balanced offering of conceptual essays and empirical research studies. The chapters explore how researchers have previously used empirical studies to address race and gender before arguing that the more complex an identity or intersectional position, such as being a Black gender fluid woman, the more likely a person shall experience workplace bullying. The author also looks at how this affects Black women’s mental health, such as through increased anxiety, depression, insomnia, and self-medicating behaviors, before looking specifically at Black female athletes as a study, the topic of colorism at work and its impact on Black women, and how workplace bullying compromises organizations diversity and inclusion initiatives.

    This book will be of immense interest to graduate students and academics in the fields of social work, ethnic studies, Black studies, Africana studies, gender studies, political science, sociology, psychology, and social justice. It will also be of interest to those interested in intersectionality and how this relates to race and gender of women.


    James C. Wadley

    Chapter 1

    Strength in Numbers: Collective voice in resisting workplace injustice

    Chapter 2

    Bullied out of Position: Black women’s complex intersectionality, workplace bullying and resulting career disruption

    Chapter 3

    Pre-existing intersections: Black women, health issues, workplace bullying

    Chapter 4

    Track Cleats and High Heels: Black Women Coaches Resisting Social Dominance in College Sports

    Chapter 5

    Color Coded Intersections: Workplace bullying, colorism, and its impact along race and gender lines



    Leah P. Hollis, a visiting professor at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute at Rutgers University, is a noted expert in workplace bullying. She received her Doctor of Education as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow from Boston University.

    "Black Women, Intersectionality, and Workplace Bullying: Intersecting Distress is needed more than ever — right now — in the intense and complicated world that we live in. Hollis, with her vast expertise on bullying and personal narrative, takes on the challenging topic of bullying as it relates to race and gender. She demonstrates raw emotion and combines it with rigorous research."

    Marybeth Gasman, PhD
    Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education & Distinguished Professor
    Graduate School of Education

    Associate Dean for Research, Rutgers Graduate School of Education

    Rutgers University - New Brunswick 

    "This book is an education! Centering the voices and experiences of Black women in a variety of work contexts, Dr. Hollis explores their heightened vulnerability to being bullied and harassed. Weaving together relevant social theories with her own empirical research and experiences, Dr. Hollis powerfully illustrates the ways environments and colleagues silence and undermine the recognition and expression of Black women’s knowledge, experience, and health to the detriment of all of us. But don’t give up hope! Dr. Hollis provides thoughtful guidance on how organizations can challenge and restructure the workplace to fully recognize, engage and benefit from the wisdom and brilliance of Black women and indeed all persons."

    Loraleigh Keashly, PhD

    Associate Dean, Curricular & Student Affairs

    College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts

    Professor, Dept. of Communication

    "Intersecting Distress: Black Women, Intersectionality, and Workplace Bullying, is not only one of the most important books written on workplace bullying. It is one of the only texts that center Black women’s experiences with this problematic phenomenon. Utilizing compelling data, Hollis exposes the ineptness of workplace leadership to eliminate work conditions that are hostile and discriminatory. With uncompromising boldness and clarity, she addresses some of its’ primary causes such as systemic racism and sexism. She also acknowledges intra-racial and intra-gender issues such as colorism and classism that can be hidden in plain sight. This book is a must read for workplace executives and leaders who are committed to going beyond being reactive to bullying who want to correctly address this issue in their work environment or eliminate it before it starts." 

     – Sydney Freeman, Jr., Ph.D. CFD, COI, SOLC, EMC

    Professor, University of Idaho

    Leadership & Counseling Department  

    Affiliate Faculty of Africana Studies Minor and  History

    Founder & Director, U of I Black History Research Lab


    "A study mentioned in Harvard Business Review on February  1, 2022,  found that while 34% of female employees in the study reported workplace harassment, one in four Black women had experienced workplace harassment by a more junior colleague (22%) or that the perpetrator was another woman (23%). A more complex story emerges from this, telling us why taking the intersectional approach to workplace harassment of Black women is critical in seeking solutions. Simplifying workplace bullying and harassment by ignoring the intersecting factors of race, gender, and seniority will succeed only in silencing Black women's voices in the workplace.  

    Years from now, Leah Hollis' studies in this book will be recognized as a seminal body of work defining a pivotal moment in social justice research on the intersectional approach to workplace bullying and harassment. Prof. Hollis' works tell us what we need to know to build a more just workplace: the intersection of gender and race could easily be missed if we were only looking at data related to singular identities of race or gender.  Prof. Hollis offers us not just words but evidence-based data on how an intersectional approach to workplace bullying of Black women is needed to address how racism, sexism, and power differentials work together to undermine a socially just workplace for all.  This book is essential reading for all social sciences scholars and makes a significant contribution to the intersectionality literature."

    Daphne Halkias, PhD

    Professor and Distinguished Research Fellow

    École des Ponts Business School Paris


    "Dr. Hollis is one of America’s leading experts on the sociological and psychological foundations of the type of bullying that arises from complex intersectional vectors to aggravate Black women scholars in their academic life and career. While injustice in the workplace is not new, and neither is the experience of being subjected to bullying on the job, it is strange that while a higher percentage of Black women than men in America earn the highest academic degrees, the individual experiences of these bullied women in higher education has so rarely been analyzed systematically. This short book presents a history of the problem, the heightened intersectional pressures on Black women scholars that lead to the intensification of the problem, its presence throughout higher education (including in sports and administration as well as on research faculties), and the need for victims to remain vigilant to the always deleterious presence of bullying."

    Joseph Drew, PhD

    Editor-in-Chief, Comparative Civilizational Review

    Professor, University of Maryland Global Campus

    "Leah P. Hollis has produced a theoretically sound and data-driven high-quality book regarding intersectionality as it pertains to workplace bullying in higher education. Based on an abundance of data, the book provides recommendations regarding ways to address workplace bullying as an aspect of the ongoing pursuit of equity and social justice. Hollis’ book is an essential reading for staff, faculty, administrators and students in higher education."

    Jack L. Daniel, PhD

    Vice Provost and Professor Emeritus

    University of Pittsburgh


    "Dr. Hollis's work is a thoughtful series of research arguments that provokes the reader to consider the role of multiple identities targeted by workplace bullying. Though anyone can face bullying, this volume privileges Black women and the complex socially constructed intersection of race and gender that Black women embody. This empirical research is a call to arms for those committed to social justice and equity."

    Jennifer Swann, Ph.D., Professor, 

    Ombudsperson, Lehigh University