Archive for the ‘Commentary by G. Namie’ Category
Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
The author of this guest blog, Wayne Turmel, is co-author of the new book, The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership. We know Wayne from appearances on his podcasts The Cranky Middle Manager when he was kind enough to showcase our early work at WBI.
“As the authors point out, the evolution of remote work is unlikely to revert. Leadership training, if any is even given these days, has to take into account the remote workers paradigm. This book fills that void. Leadership of people unseen can be a cold, easily aggressive endeavor. Bullying likely accompanies situations where in-person communication cues are absent. Eikenberry and Turmel rightly prioritize the role of people skills which is often minimized as “soft skills.” In remote leadership, the key is to achieve outcomes through others by overcoming barriers posed by technology without settling for mastery of those tools alone. The skills are not natural. For example, the authors implore leaders to forego a need to control and personal preferences in favor of an orientation toward the team, tailoring communications to maximize receptivity by them. They must be deliberately learned. The clear instructions in The Long Distance Leader provide the essential blueprint for success for leaders and teams. Bullying is preventable by skilled remote leaders.
Key features of the book I admire: (1) the proper balance of technology tools and caring for people, (2) calling for leaders to shelve their personal style in favor of tailoring communication with the team driven by team needs, (3) the call for leaders to unselfishly abandon their need to control others (at the heart of workplace bullying), and (4) that leadership is an earned position of trust rather than a position on an org chart.”
Gary Namie, PhD
Bullying on Virtual Teams
by Wayne Turmel
Usually, when people think of workplace bullies, they think of those with whom they share a workplace. Physical intimidation and threats come immediately to mind. Working from home often sounds like a tempting way to avoid such situations. But as we know from far too many examples, cyber-bullying is common. Just because you don’t share a cube-farm or a shop floor doesn’t mean you can’t be a victim of a workplace bully.
To be sure, working remotely and being connected electronically means that the ways in which negative interactions happen are different. Some of the most common bad behavior on remote or virtual teams include:
Exclusion – not inviting people to certain conference calls or meetings, or including them on vital information such as group emails and the like.
Withholding critical information. This can be as innocent as a simple “out of sight out of mind” example, or can be the first step to actively sabotaging someone’s work or reputation.
Gossip and lying are common methods of controlling other people and cutting them off from support or aid.
Active hostility. This can take the form of belittling people on virtual meetings and conference calls, shutting down their contributions in front of others. It can also mean sending threatening texts or Instant messages.
The same ability to write horrible things without having to be in physical proximity to the victim that enables people to cyber-bullies and trolls free reign apply at work. When you don’t have to look the victim in the eye, and can maintain anonymity, it’s more likely such behavior will occur.
A 2005 study at DePaul University by Alice Stuhlmacher revealed that when people didn’t know each other well but worked in a virtual environment (they were a name on an email distribution list or a disembodied voice on a conference call) there was increase in negative behaviors. These included lying, withholding information, escalating threats and social exclusion.
So what is an effective Long-Distance Leader supposed to do? Our role is to create a safe, productive workplace for every member of the team. The challenge when we aren’t in the same physical location is recognizing the signs that such behavior is taking place, and facilitating steps to halt it. The leader needs to assess their team and identify bullying behavior, address the behavior and restore trust in the team.
In many ways, working remotely allows you to spot the most obvious examples of harassment. Abusive or inappropriate criticism on conference calls, team meetings and email are often obvious and jump out at us. The challenge for many of us is that we want to avoid conflict (after all, the bully is probably not a pleasant person to confront) and it is far easier to avoid direct face to face discussion and settle for weak, ineffective corrective measures. How is that strongly worded email working for you?
Whether we notice the harassing behavior ourselves, or it’s brought to our attention by the victim or others, it’s incumbent on leaders to investigate and then address such behavior directly. Failure to do so can poison the entire team dynamic.
When trust is broken on a team (virtual or co-located) it can be difficult to reestablish. This is true of trust between employees, but also between the victim of the bullying and their manager, who they looked to for protection that wasn’t there. In The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership, we have a 3-point trust model that may help.
Trust is established when three factors are all true: there’s proof that everyone is aligned around purpose and intent, there’s proof that each person is competent, and proof that they are motivated positively. If any of these are out of alignment trust suffers.
The challenge on remote teams is that people may not have visibility to each other’s work. For example, if someone is quiet on conference calls, or not very good at articulating their ideas, it’s easy to dismiss the quality of their work. We may not give them credit for the quality of work they deserve. As a leader are you making it clear that they do good work and have your support? Are you sharing those thoughts with the team?
As effective leaders who want to create a non-threatening environment, we need to take the time to listen for signs of trouble, not ignore them when they arise, and actively help the team gain the positive input about their co-workers that eliminate many of the seeds of bullying. Often the bully is the most vocal and outwardly social person, while the victim is seldom heard. A manager who is rushed or distracted may not pick up on the distress signals until it is too late.
When the actions of team members rise to actionable levels, we can’t let distance get in the way. We must be proactive in addressing both the behavior itself and the measurable actions to halt it.
Wayne Turmel is the co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute and the author of many books, including ATD’s 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations. Wayne and Kevin Eikenberry have written the authoritative guide to remote leadership, The Long Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.
Tags: bullying and virtual teams, Kevin Eikenberry, remote leadership, remote teams, The Long Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership, virtual teams, Wayne Trumel, workplace bullying
Posted in Advice for Employers, Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Doing Good, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Related Phenomena | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, May 28th, 2018
A unique take on the often present conflict between public and private, the spoken and unspoken, views on a topic held by individuals is found in the posthumously published works of Mark Twain.
On this Memorial Day in the U.S. we are supposed to reflect on our war dead. The favored public view is to enoble war. But war is messy. Death is ugly. Sadly too many of us may be thinking in our hearts that our “enemies” deserve only death, and not noble endings as do our sons and daughters. Enemies are considered “animals,” sub-humans.
On Memorial Day 2018, we endure the embarrassing acts of a narcissistic president who cannot seem to temporarily shift his focus from self to the selfless volunteers of our military who were killed for their fateful decisions. As he tweeted …
Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18 years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!
Narcissism aside, we are an aggressive people. Mark Twain captured the vicious aspect of our nature in 1905 as America was beginning its ambitious rise to empire following the Spanish-American war.
The War Prayer
You have heard your servant’s prayer — the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it — that part which the pastor — and also you in your hearts — fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard the words ‘Grant us the victory [in war], O Lord our God!‘ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
“Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —
For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!
We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”
Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
Written by Laurie Ruettimann after the Uber and Weinstein harassment scandals, but before Alabama’s Roy Moore’s misconduct.
I’m a 20-year Veteran of HR. Something Needs to be Fixed
By Laurie Ruettimann, Vox.com, Oct 18, 2017
Women are a human resources nightmare.
The national conversation has once again turned to women’s experiences of sexual harassment. Nearly two weeks ago, the New York Times and the New Yorker published allegations of rape and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein against actresses in Hollywood and beyond. These experiences go back decades, and they are often, but not exclusively, related to women who met Weinstein in a professional capacity and felt pressured, out of fear for their safety and their careers, to comply.
In other words, these women were harassed in the workplace.
Earlier this year, Susan Fowler blew the whistle on sexism and harassment at Uber. Fowler and her colleagues complained to Uber’s leadership about the culture of harassment within the organization, and they were routinely dismissed by everybody — including the HR department.
It was only when Fowler wrote a viral blog post detailing her complaints that Uber got serious. The company hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation to understand why so many women had such bad things to say about their employee experience. The report was damning, and more than 20 people were fired for inappropriate conduct, including allegations of sexual harassment and management ignoring multiple reports of sexist behavior and harassment. Former CEO Travis Kalanick, who was not accused of harassment himself but reportedly did nothing to stop it when allegations came in, as well as other sexist and toxic behavior, resigned under pressure from investors.
That could’ve been a watershed moment for women in the workforce, but it wasn’t. That’s because corporate America, and human resources in particular, don’t care about women. They care about minimizing risk to enhance the value of a brand, which ultimately leads to greater revenue and stronger profits.
In short, nobody cares about women. Once the shock-and-awe of Harvey Weinstein is over, very little will change for the average worker in America. I know this because I’m a 20-year veteran of human resources. In that time, I worked at big organizations like Pfizer, Kemper Insurance, and Monsanto. I left my corporate job in 2007 and started writing and speaking about HR in an attempt to transform the entire function. I haven’t done a very good job because HR still sucks.
Tags: HR, HR fails women, HR is useless, human resources, Laurie Ruettimann, sexual harassment
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Tutorials About Bullying | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Friday, September 22nd, 2017
UPDATE: Senate leadership pulled the Graham-Cassidy bill on Tuesday Sept. 26. There will be no vote that would have shamed those supporting the heinous legislation. Still we cannot rest. Republicans have sworn to “repeal & replace” the ACA. Stay tuned. Be vigilant.
If you are being bullied at work, and part of the 60.3 million American workers affected by bullying, you have a bone in the Senate fight over the attempt to terminate the Affordable Care Act rolling toward a Wed. Sept. 27 vote.
ACTION IS REQUIRED
An assumed majority of bullied workers or about-to-be bullied workers have some form of employer-based health insurance. It used to be that employers provided the insurance as a benefit. They paid 100% of the premium. But over the years employers learned to shirk that responsibility by making workers pay more as their share. Then they learned to lower their premiums by dumping large deductibles on workers.
We know from a WBI target survey, that for whom the bullying stopped, 77% had to lose their jobs to stop it. Simply put, there is a high probability that once you are targeted, for no reason of your making, you will lose that job.
Either before or shortly after losing the job you once loved, your health will decline — both physical and psychological stress-related problems surface. When insured and if luck, you might have been treated.
Before the ACA, treatment for any condition branded you a person with pre-existing conditions. Insurers had the right to deny you coverage. Some insurers would deny treatment for those specific conditions. Thank Obamacare, the ACA, for stopping this practice of denial of treatment by insurers.
Now you lost your job and with it employer-based insurance. You might have the option to continue the plan for a limited time (under COBRA), but the premiums shift to a very high individual rates now unaffordable without income.
Again, thanks to the ACA, if unemployed, you do not have to go without health insurance when your health is so unstable. You would qualify for either free coverage or subsidized premiums based on your now limited income.
Free insurance —Medicaid— paid for by federal funds and your state,. Of course, if you live in a state that refused the 90-95% federal funding because your red state governor and legislature copped an attitude toward ”guvmint,” you don’t have access to this option. Remember when you vote republican. There are consequences. FYI, Medicaid is how the elderly can get end-of-life nursing home care (rates hover around $6,000 per month). Medicaid helps the disabled and children in poor families.
ACA-subsidized premiums help you get insurance on most incomes. The federal government pays insurers the difference between what you can afford to pay and the premium. Government can help its people to prevent bankruptcy from healthcare-related expenses. We are the only “civilized” nation to allow people to suffer economic devastation on the heels of expensive health crises.
By the way, somehow Trump has been able to curtail payments to insurers in order to make it appear that the ACA is failing. Not so. “Businessman” Trump is throwing the insurance market into chaos deliberately to be able to destabilize the ACA.
This short review of the ACA is to remind you about what the Republicans (U.S. Senators next week, then if successful, House members shortly thereafter) want to terminate. In their zeal to “honor” campaign promises, they are hell bent on repealing Obamacare.
Included in the Graham-Cassidy bill which has never been debated in Congress are heartless, morally reprehensible features such as:
– ending availability of insurance for 22-32 million Americans (according to CBO estimates of prior versions of this legislation)
– the end of subsidies to insurers to offset high premium costs — insurance premiums will rise by approx. 15%
– giving states “block grant” money, ostensibly to pay for healthcare for its citizens, but it is money that can be spent on anything the state desires
– allowing states to allow insurers to again deny coverage (ALL coverage) for people with pre-existing conditions
– ending all Medicaid in 2027 — no more federal support for the least among us.
Thus, bullied targets who lose their jobs and health insurance have a vested interest in sustaining the ACA and not allowing the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal it.
If you are represented by a Republican Senator or House Representative, you have to contact their Capitol offices to register your displeasure with the fact that they would even consider such an inhumane piece of legislation. Let them know you are their VOTING CONSTITUENT.
Capitol switchboard to get connected: (202) 225-3121
The Senators who once voted against similar, but less draconian, bills to repeal ACA (Obamacare). If they all vote against the bill, it will die.
– Sen. Collins, Maine
– Sen. Murkowski, Alaska
– Sen. Capito, West Virginia
– Sen. McCain, Arizona
Watch Jimmy Kimmel explain some of the details of this horrible legislation.
Friday, July 7th, 2017
2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey
Health Impact on Targets
Health Impact on Targets
40% of targets are believed to suffer adverse health consequences from bullying
The Workplace Bullying Institute commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the 2017 national scientific U.S. survey across two days in late April. The stratified random sample of 1,008 individuals represented all adult Americans. [Zogby methodology and sample details here.] It was WBI’s fourth national survey.
We used the definition of workplace bullying that matches perfectly the definition codified in the Healthy Workplace Bill. Bullying is repeated mistreatment but also “abusive conduct.” We asked American survey respondents to consider only the most serious forms of bullying.
The power of the workplace bullying movement is derived principally from the impact on the health of targeted individuals. Bullying is the dominant psychosocial stressor in the work environment of targeted workers. That stressor triggers the human stress response. In turn, with prolonged exposure to frequent incidents, targets risk the onset of stress-related diseases. In other words, bullying is an occupational health hazard
This question queries the American public about whether health harm from bullying manifested. [N = 479; no experience respondents deleted.]
Wording of the Target Health Question: Was the health of the targeted person adversely affected by the mistreatment?
The split between respondents (targets and witnesses only) who were certain bullying had created health harm was 40%:60% with the latter being those who could not be certain.
Several factors could account for the 60% of uncertain respondents. Targets rarely publicly share their health problems with colleagues. Personal shame suppresses an outpouring. Also targets can endure bullying for long periods of time without awareness that the source of the ill health is their workplace with an attacking bullying in it. That is, the causal links take time to be recognized by targets themselves. Target-respondents could have been part of the 60% of doubters. See Figure 4 below.
Witnesses, too, rarely get into conversations about medical maladies with targets. They, too, may be unwilling or unable to perceive the causal factors which contribute to their friends’ ill health.
[See the WBI extensive survey of bullied targets (a non-scientific sample) of the effects of bullying on targets’ health.]
Gary Namie, PhD
WBI Research Director
View findings related to other questions asked in the 2017 Survey.
Tags: 2017 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, abusive conduct, Gary Namie, health, human stress response, stress-related diseases, target of bullying, victim of bullying, workplace bullying
Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Monday, May 8th, 2017
Writing this from the hospital bedside of Dr. Ruth whose bullying case launched the U.S. Workplace Bullying movement. It’s tough enough to recover from complicated surgery late in life. To also have to consider how to pay the outrageous expenses is unthinkable. [If you believe people should not receive care if they cannot afford it, stop reading the rest of this article. You won’t understand or care.]
Without Medicare, Ruth would be dead. Simple as that. It is the U.S. Government honoring its promise to relieve older Americans of the astronomical financial burden of healthcare. It is not Medicare’s fault costs are high. Medicare adds only a 3% overhead for administrative costs compared to the 30-40% overhead added by for-profit insurance companies.
Medicare contracts directly with providers through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now headed by Tom Price, a Trump appointee. No third-party insurance company interference occurs. Medicare was conceived by the Kennedy administration and realized by Johnson after the JFK assassination. Its original goal was to provide universal health coverage for all Americans. But politicians whittled it down to helping older Americans as part of the haggling process. For the disabled and poor, regardless of age, they crafted Medicaid. The authors of the original law intended the limited protections to be revisited and expanded.
Remember, in all other industrialized nations, citizens enjoy national health insurance similar to Medicare and Medicaid but extended to everyone cradle to grave. In some countries, private insurance can supplement the government plans. The U.S. is aberrant, the lone stubborn holdout unable to elect legislators who think it part of their job to provide government services for their taxpaying constituents. Only in the U.S. can a family lose their home and go bankrupt for their inability to pay medical expenses (accounting for the highest proportion of all bankruptcies).
Rather than expand the limits of government-provided health insurance to all citizens (a Medicare-for-all universal health plan or a single-payer (gov’t) plan), the next attempt to revise insurance was the Affordable Care Act (dubbed Obamacare). Critics tried to call it a government plan. In fact, it was written almost entirely by an insurance industry lobbyist, Liz Fowler, working with then-Sen. Max Baucus. Private insurers retained their power. The government, however, did mandate that insurers could not refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions, had to maintain coverage for children up to age 26, and had to offer a host of basic services (e.g., maternity care).
About half of private health insurance is contracted through employers for employees. Over the years, employees’ share of costs have risen. Then with Obamacare, millions of previously uninsured or uninsurable (those with pre-existing conditions) individuals were able to afford insurance with the help of subsidies paid by the federal government to states. For instance, a $1,300 monthly premium could be reduced to $400 with a $900 subsidy based on the person’s income. The funds for that subsidy came from a 3.8% tax applied to the lesser of either your net investment income (rentals, capital gains, stock dividends) or the amount by which the modified adjusted gross income exceeds a threshold amount ($200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for married couples). Additionally, those exceeding the threshold limits also paid more in Medicare payroll tax (2.35% vs. 1.45%). It was a deliberate redistribution of income from the very rich to the poor and lower middle class. The program was debated publicly for 17 months. No Republicans voted for it. Obamacare reflected American values that Republicans did not share.
Finally, Republicans in the House of Representatives were able to offer and pass out of the House their alternative to the ACA/Obamacare — the American Health Care Act.
The AHCA is a cruel and sadistic proposed law. First, it eliminates the 3.8% tax on the wealthy and ends the payroll tax supplement in 2023. It increases the size of tax-deductible Health Savings Accounts that only the rich can afford. Thus, it reverses the income redistribution of Obamacare. By cutting $800 billion in Medicaid funding, the AHCA gives the wealthy over $600 billion in tax cuts. Who pays for those gifts to the wealthiest among us? The poor, disabled and the aged. Quite a statement about our values.
The AHCA puts Americans in harm’s way (again) by giving states the right to allow health insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Look at this list:
AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, bipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, ulcers
Really? Denial for acne? For kidney stones? For seasonal affective disorder? For blood clot?
What a heartless cynical political ploy which, if it ever becomes law, would deprive millions (24 million was the estimate of affected by the CBO) of health insurance. Without access to treatment and medications, people will die. They will die unnecessarily
Where’s our oft-cited American morality as a model for the world? Is it now, or has it always been, only a myth? How can we turn our backs on our needy.
Politicians show greater allegiance to capitalist principles. Because health care is now dominated by the for-profit corporate model, people don’t matter. Principles of equality are cast aside. Is needed treatment for diseases an American right or available only for those who can afford the market price?
The AHCA and Workplace Bullying
Targets of bullying endure a range of stress-related health complications. At the very least, they suffer anxiety from the surprising psychological assault that contradicts the targets’ perceptions of themselves, their core identities. When the frequency of incidents increase and the exposure period is prolonged, greater harm results.
Effects on targets include clinical depression, trauma-like symptoms (thought intrusions, avoidance behaviors, negative affect, arousal and hypervigilance) and an increased risk of suicidal ideation. In addition, there is adverse impact on gastrointestinal, immunological and musculoskelatal systems. In other words, diagnosable physiological diseases. Look again at the above list of conditions that would allow insurers to preclude coverage.
The sad reality is that once bullied, individuals are a walking cluster of pre-existing conditions.
Furthermore, with the reduced (or lost) income following bullying, it is likely targets would be eligible for Medicaid assistance. Under the AHCA, there will be less access to Medicaid itself or the program benefits will be so inadequate that treatment for the effects of bullying will be nonexistent.
Call your U.S. Senators and Member of Congress to tell them to not support the AHCA for your sake!
And remember who did this to you …
Monday, April 10th, 2017
American Federal Civil Rights Title VII law does not yet include protections (actually the right to seek legal redress in courts) for discrimination because of sexual orientation. That means sexual orientation is not one of the protected classes upon which claims of illegal discrimination by employers are based. A recent appellate court decision expands federal legal protections.
The current eight protected classes are: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information and age. However, several states have added sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination statutes. Employers, of course, may voluntarily add any protections to the lean list of federal and state protections to their internal policies and procedures. But American employers have little appetite for expanding employee protections.
Congress could expand federal law if it wished. Fat chance though. The heartless authors of the The American Health Care Act and the party that installed Jeff Sessions as the U.S. Attorney General (who is “reviewing” prior Department of Justice initiatives — consent decrees and reform plans — to reduce police violence) are not likely to EXPAND the number of ways people can claim discrimination. The regulation-killers are actually against protections-for-the-people.
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) also provided context with its 2015 decision in the Obergell case to protect the right of same-sex couples to marry. The court changed law faster than was possible by Congress, a legislative body paralyzed by homophobic ideological leaders. Society and the then-SCOTUS were more progressive than lawmakers. When courts provide legal precedent for subsequent cases, they are making case law. It is the alternative to waiting for legislatures to act. In other words, the new interpretations of existing written laws can expand or contract them.
In this context of proactive court and sluggish legislatures, the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided the case of Kimberly Hively (No. 15-1720) on April 4. Kimberly Hively began part-time teaching at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana in 2000. She applied for full-time teaching positions as they arose between 2009 and 2014. She never was hired. Hively is a lesbian; the college knew it. She believed the application rejections were based on her sexual orientation. She filed an EEOC complaint in 2013. The EEOC gave her permission to sue in court. Judge Rudy Lozano dismissed her case in district federal court.
The 7th Circuit majority of 11 judges, with three judges dissenting, expanded Title VII protections to include sexual orientation protection against discrimination. The majority agreed with plaintiff Hively. This is a landmark case. The defendant community college may take the case to SCOTUS. The current 11th Circuit has rejected a similar case asking for sexual orientation protection. Legal experts predict that it will be heard by SCOTUS.
Chief Judge Diane Wood, for the majority, wrote:
Ivy Tech refused to promote Professor Hively because she is homosexual. Professor Hively argues that, in doing so, the College relied on her sex, because, but for her sex, she would not have been denied a promotion (i.e., she would not have been denied a promotion if she were a man who was sexually attracted to women). She also argues that Ivy Tech’s actions constituted associational discrimination: The College took issue with Professor Hively’s intimate association with women and refused to promote her. There is no allegation, however, that the College refused to promote women; nor is there an allegation that it refused to promote those who associate with women. Rather, Ivy Tech’s alleged animus was against Professor Hively’s sexual orientation—a combination of these two factors (p. 36)
Here, the majority considers sexual orientation an extension of “sex” which is addressed by Title VII law:
One cannot consider a person’s homosexuality without also accounting for their sex: doing so would render “same” and “own” meaningless. As such, discriminating against that employee because they are homosexual constitutes discriminating against an employee because of (A) the employee’s sex, and (B) their sexual attraction to individuals of the same sex. And “sex,” under Title VII, is an enumerated trait (p.37) … Thus, the College allegedly discriminated against Professor Hively, at least in part, because of her sex (p. 40)
So, we wait to see how successfully this extension of protections holds up in future court cases. For now, there is a new law in the land!
Tags: academe, adjunct professor, civil rights, Ivy Tech Community College, Kimberly Hively, lesbian, nondiscrimination law, sexual orientation, Title VII
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Related bills/laws, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Wednesday, April 5th, 2017
Last night we attended a San Francisco Symphony concert. It wasn’t an ordinary event. It was called Symphony Pride a fundraiser for five LGBTQ organizations.
The advertising described the special concert as “celebrating the Bay Area’s spirit of inclusion and diversity with a focus on the voices of the LGBTQ community … festive occasion … featuring six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald who narrates Aaron Copland’s iconic Lincoln Portrait … reaffirming San Francisco’s commitment to equality for all.”
It was an emotional evening. The audience roared with appreciative applause like no other symphony audience. They obviously adore the maestro Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT to everyone in SF), the symphony’s conductor since 1995. MTT brought on stage his partner of 38 years who he was able to marry just two years ago. There were short videos of gay musicians from the orchestra who spoke of the welcoming workplace culture, an inclusive safe climate, at the symphony.
The mayor of the city spoke about resisting the Trump administration and its shameful reversals on human rights as a model for the rest of America. Again roaring applause. I’ve seen MTT conduct before. Never saw him jump so high. So animated. A virtual love affair with the audience. The passion of the artists was inspiring.
The talented, new mom Audra McDonald sang some lovely songs. Then, she went rogue with the 1968 Laura Nyro song Save the Country, at MTT’s admitted encouragement (who could have predicted he is a fan of protest anthems?). With but one short rehearsal prior to the concert, she belted out the call for us all to “I’ve got fury in my soul … save the people …. save the children … lay the devil down … we can build a dream with love … save the country!” Pure rapture.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
A brash owner of a small marketing firm in Manchester, Connecticut is making news by describing his hiring interview strategy. Unapologetic about being comfortable leveling applicants with personal questions not related to performance — thus demonstrating his loathing of “political correctness” — he gives what he calls the “snowflake test.”
“A snowflake is somebody who is going to whine and complain and come to the table with nothing but an entitled attitude and an inability to back their perspective,” Kyle Reyes, owner of Silent Parner Marketing, told the Fox Business Network. “Snowflake is a mentality.”
“Snowflakes” don’t get hired. The company says this on its About Us page: “Political correctness be damned. We are who we are and have what we have because of a greater good. We might call that greater good by different names…but faith is an integral part of who we are.”
Using Reyes’ reasoning, victims of sexual harassment and bullying, who complain, would be “snowflakes.” In other words, he won’t hire anyone who if abused or harassed would complain.
Gee, with a boss like him, wondering what are the odds that something wrong, unlawful or unethical will happen????
There are surely alternative marketing companies in New England to work for. Good luck.
Tags: bullying, complainers, hiring interview, Kyle Reyes, Silent Partner, snowflakes, whiners
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Monday, March 20th, 2017
A 2005 book from Princeton philosophy professor emeritus Harry Frankfurt