Archive for the ‘Rulings by Courts’ Category

Iowa dentist lusted for assistant, fired her, state appeals court backs him

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Don’t ever lose your ability to be shocked by injustice. That’s what employers want us to do. Here’s a shocking tale.

Melissa Nelson, a 32-year old mother and happily married wife, was a dental assistant for 10 years for a Fort Dodge, Iowa dentist named James Knight. Knight had been her family dentist. A Nelson acquaintance worked in his office. She felt close to his wife and family, too. Knight is older than Nelson. It was an amicable midwest workplace for years.

Nelson said that Knight became lewd when he turned 50. He found her “irresistibly attractive.” He sleazily commented that if she (Nelson) saw his pants “bulging,” she would know her clothing was too revealing and he objected that he was able to tell during work hours that she had breasts. Remember, this was an educated health professional! Knight learned cell phone texting and began sexting to Nelson, asking how often she had orgasms. Nelson never encouraged or invited Knight’s advances. Knight told his pastor and wife that he had “feelings and emotions” for Nelson. Both told him to fire Nelson, the woman Knight considered his best-ever assistant. The wobbly Knight made termination a religious affair. He invited another pastor from his church to attend the Jan. 4, 2010 meeting with Nelson where they ambushed and fired her.



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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Rulings by Courts, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

SCOTUS considers definition of Supervisor in harassment cases

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

As bullied targets learn quickly, civil rights laws rarely apply in bullying situations. The magic combination of a target being a member of a protected class and the bully not being a member happens in only 1 in 5 cases. With all other combinations the target must overcome legal obstacles too great for most attorneys to tackle.

On Nov. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case brought by a black woman Maetta Vance against Ball State University. The case is not about whether or not she suffered racial discrimination at the hands of Saundra Davis, a white woman, but whether Davis was her supervisor.

The University is not liable for Davis’ conduct if the court deems Davis a coworker. Vance contends that Davis acted as her supervisor. That’s the crux of the case. The final decision affects the liability of employers in harassment cases and could make it even tougher to sue employers for one of their employee’s wrongdoing.



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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

Hospital unlawfully fired nurse who complained of bullying

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

In December 2009 CEO Ryan Smith of Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna Alaska brought us in to implement our comprehensive program to prevent and correct workplace bullying. One year prior, there had been an on-site gunslinging event that claimed two lives, the shooter, fired employee Joseph Marchetti, and one of his victims. Others were paralyzed and wounded.

Trouble had been brewing beforehand. There is nearly always a story behind the headline-grabbing “shooter as mental nut” cover story (the theme of the documentary Murder By Proxy). A VP of the nurses union, Ray Southwell, had briefed his fellow union members and the CPH Board that “the environment is ripe for another shooting.” He spoke regularly of bullying of nurses. Smith hated Southwell. Eventually, Smith, who had been brought in to “clean up” certain departments fired Southwell.



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Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

NLRB ticks off HR with new restrictions on investigation secrecy

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

For decades, the NLRB has been under republican control and served employers’ needs to look the other way as union organizers are indiscriminately fired for doing what should be protected by law. On Jan. 9, 2012, President Obama made a recess appointment of Richard Griffin, a long-time union attorney, to the Board. Griffin joined Sharon Block, winner of the JFK Labor Law Award, and Chairman Mark Pearce whose prior legal experience was with labor. In May, disgraced republican member Terence Flynn resigned after two Inspector General reports concluded that he had leaked information about NLRB deliberations prior to decisions to Mitt Romney’s adviser. There are now 3 democrats and one republican, Brian Hayes, on the Board.

Now come two recent decisions that make employers and HR livid.



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Posted in Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Effective Grand Jury Investigations Help Bullied Workers

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

We marvel at the positive results of two California County Grand Juries — Ventura County in 2011 and Riverside in 2012. Thanks to their independence from County administrative and management teams and a rule that enables them to conduct investigations into about anything that interests them, the Grand Jury provides help to bullied targets among County employees. HR is either unable or unwilling to conduct credible investigations of workplace bullying until there are laws compelling strict policies or as long as handmaidens to County executives.

Grand Juries, on the other hand, are citizens likely to be outraged when they learn about the dirty dealings happening in secret and deliberately silenced by those with political connections.

The county workers union (SEIU local 721) led the charge with the Ventura GJ. A bold group of 7 employees were instrumental in getting the Riverside GJ to investigate and to admonish the HR management for fostering abuse within its ranks.

So, with or without the help of a union, we suggest researching whether your county’s grand jury allows citizen complaints about misconduct/bullying by county management and if it can then conduct its own independent investigation. Ventura and Riverside Grand Juries have led the way. Try this at home. Good luck.


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Posted in Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

Another County Grand Jury Discovers Workplace Bullying

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

For the second known time, a California County Grand Jury has investigated and confirmed workplace bullying following multiple employee complaints. On June 15, 2012 the Riverside County Grand Jury (CJ) released its report. The culprit employer was the County Human Resources Department.

[On May 24, 2011 the Ventura County Grand Jury issued a similar report about workplace bullying there.]

Sworn testimony from 7 workers about abuses in the Riverside County HR department prompted GJ action. The complaints spoke of workplace bullying. Specifically problems were identified in the program tasked with hiring temp workers and medical temps (TAP/MAP).

The GJ conducted its own investigation from Nov. 2011 through May 2012. It included interviews with 23 past and present employees and supervisors, more than 50 phone conversations, time sheets, emails, documents and personnel records. The GJ also made an unscheduled visit to the program work site. [A much more comprehensive process than ever done by HR when “investigating” bullying charges within the organization.]



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Posted in Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, Unions, WBI Education | 4 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Muslim woman wins $5 million discrimination claim against ATT

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

By Carey Gillam, Reuters, May 4, 2012 and
By Jared Bilski, CFO Daily News, May 24, 2012

A Kansas City woman who converted from Christianity to Islam has been awarded $5 million in punitive damages by a jury who found the telecommunications giant AT&T created a “hostile work environment” after her conversion, according to a judge’s order issued Friday.



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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Rulings by Courts | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

The New America: Jailing Rape Victims

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Certainly rape victims are reluctant to take the stand in open court against their rapists. The woman is made vulnerable again in front of the assailant whose motivation was primarily about degrading and controlling his victim in the first place.

Now comes news that Lancaster County (Nebraska) District Court Judge Paul Merritt ordered a rape victim to testify or face 90 days in jail for contempt. He reasoned that her potential shame was less important than the county’s pursuit of justice on her behalf. For some reason, the judge’s decision was upheld in the Nebraska Supreme Court. The judge’s public bio appears below.



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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

Minneapolis City Pages: Bad Bosses Beware

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Bad Bosses Beware: Minnesota whistleblower takes on issue of workplace bullying

By Jessica Lussenhop, Minneapolis City Pages, May 16, 2012

Joe Henry hated his boss so much, he would’ve preferred his old Army drill sergeant. “A drill sergeant is consistently one way,” he says. “You know you’re going to get yelled at no matter what.”

Henry, a barrel-chested man with military posture, joined the Army at age 18 and deployed with one of the first battalions to enter Iraq in March 2003. He served a seven-month tour locating weapons caches and maintaining communications lines. A fellow vet remembers Henry as a reliable soldier — steady under the sound of constant gunfire.

For Henry, it turned out wartime was easier to handle than a job in satellite TV installation.



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Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Rulings by Courts, WBI in the News | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

School district pays $4.2 million to student paralyzed by known school bully

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

When Sawyer Rosenstein was a 12 year old student at Eric Smith Middle School in the Ramsey (New Jersey) School District he was bullied. He wrote his guidance counselor to alert her to the ongoing problem. But the unnamed bully, known to school officials as a bully, punched Sawyer in the gut on May 16, 2006. The punch — which was physical battery, not bullying that is always defined as non-physical — caused an arterial clot in his spine and left him paralyzed ever since.

Read the April 18 Associated Press story.

The Ramsey Board of Education said the insurance carrier wanted to settle, not the district. In fact, the District claims that its anti-bullying initiative is world class. I guess the one exception was an isolated event.


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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Rulings by Courts | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

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