November 7th, 2013

When executives promote workplace bullying — the Philbin Dolphins’ regime


On Wed. Nov. 6, Miami Dolphin head coach Joe Philbin called a press conference amid the swirling controversy about Jonathan Martin’s allegations of an abusive work environment and subsequent suspension of Richie Incognito designated the principal bully. Philbin was said to be rather defiant. He insisted that he IS indeed responsible for the locker room culture (aka, work environment) and describes his as a culture of “honesty, respect and accountability.”

Head coaches of professional sports teams, probably more than general managers, set the rules and limits for player conduct. They are the executives who actually work with the employees. [Owners are more akin to the Board, individuals who rarely directly interact with the employees.]

The problem with Philbin’s holier-than-thou pronouncements were baseless. According to reporter Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

players were annually directed by coach Joe Philbin to “cut out” the rookie hazing … While Philbin tried to rein it in with the Dolphins, he and his coaching staff never policed it

The blockbuster headline is that reporter Kelly learned that a coach or coaches asked Richie Incognito, the suspended alleged bully, to “toughen up” Jonathan Martin.

Oops! Philbin won’t tolerate bullying? Really. The players told the Sun-Sentinel he did tolerate it. Furthermore, they didn’t simply look away as Incognito humiliated Martin, they TOLD him to do so.

The workplace culture starts at the top. Philbin is culpable. Even if he was not the coach who told Incognito to pour it on, he supervised the coach or coaches who did and he is responsible.

The upward extension of responsibility of executives for supervisors’ misconduct is an inherent part of a 1998 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that defined managers as agents of corporate employers. And the employer is vicariously liable for that misconduct, with or without awareness.

Follow the full story in the Category list in the sidebar: NFL: Jonathan Martin

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 7th, 2013 at 4:01 pm and is filed under NFL: Jonathan Martin, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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