April 11th, 2017

HR put in its place – the “KGB”


We recently received the following note here at WBI. Writer’s words are in bold.

I feel like your website is extremely one sided. I came to it because an HR colleague referred me to it however she warned me the site was negative, anti-HR and anti-employer and she is correct.

We are not anti-employer. We are anti-abuse. When an employer abuses as general operating procedures or treats the rare complaint about abuse with indifference, then we oppose that particular employer. We have consulted and helped organizations since 1985, long before our 20 years in workplace bullying began. And we continue helping employers who give a damn about their employees. See here how we help. In court, I even help defend employers who wisely terminated abusers. We like good employers. Hate bad ones, don’t you?

Why did you come to visit us in the first place?

You pretty much tell the person they are being abused and the company will fire you.

We describe the predictable pattern that bullying follows. The sad experience mirrors what battered spouses go through. Do we make targets out of site visitors? No, 97% of site visitors come to us self-diagnosed as victims of workplace bullying. We simply report what over 12,000 targets have told us to bolster the mental health of visitors and inquiring family members. Admittedly, we have heard descriptions of two (2) heroic HR folks from all of those anecdotal tales. You are correct, HR is not all bad. In fact, several progressive, compassionate and thoughtful HR practitioners have attended the WBI Workplace Bullying University training for professionals and left with an in-depth knowledge of the phenomenon.

However, WBI research, based on polling individuals who suffer the mistreatment and not your guess about what outcomes are, shows that once targeted bullied workers face a 77% chance of losing their jobs. Read the study results here. And there is international research showing that bullies do not lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2016) Do the bullies survive? A five-year, three-wave prospective study of indicators of expulsion in working life among perpetrators of workplace bullying. Industrial Health, 54, 68-73.) Targets do lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2015) Take it or leave: A five-year, three-wave prospective study of workplace bullying and indicators of expulsion in working life. Industrial Health, 53, 160-170.).

In another study, we specifically asked what happened to people after they reported the bullying incidents to HR. Doing so proves to be a mistake. It seems, according to the one group who would know how and if HR helped them — individuals targeted for bullying — they were either retaliated against, lost their job, or ignored. On the plus side, nearly 2% of respondents said HR did help. Read the study results here.

This has not been my experience in the business world, nor many of our colleagues.

Those of us in the trenches in the war against workplace abusive conduct tend to share a common wisdom about HR. Colleague and friend Law Professor David Yamada (who is much more diplomatic than I, being careful to never offend unlike me) wrote recently in his blog, Minding the Workplace, that he hears reports such as “HR was useless,” “HR threw me under the bus,” and “HR protected the bullies.” He added, “in the worst instances, HR has actively furthered, supported, and enabled the abuse.”

And dear HR professional, in case you think it is only WBI-affiliated persons who hold such negative perceptions of HR, read on.

From the headlines, you may have heard about the costly corporate liability faced by Fox News for sustaining Bill O’Reilly’s employment. Fox or O’Reilly has paid $13 million in settlements to five of his accusers. One accuser of Roger Ailes won a $20 million settlement.

A central tenet in the Fox defense is that accusers of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes never filed complaints with Fox Human Resources or called the company hotline.

Here comes attorney Nancy Erika Smith who represented Gretchen Carlson in her harassment lawsuit and now represents Julie Roginsky against Fox and Roger Ailes.

Smith was asked on CNN about the Fox defense. Some women at Fox News have said they are afraid the line is being monitored. Smith said calling the hotline is a good idea “only if you think it would be good to call the KGB to complain about Putin.” “HR is not your friend. HR will not help you,” Smith said.

Share

<-- Read the complete WBI Blog


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 at 2:01 pm and is filed under Advice for Employers. 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.



Having trouble? Click Here for Comments Guide

Facebook Comments

comments



Disqus Comments

What Do You Think?

Just a short reminder that all blog comments are moderated and should be posted shortly.

  1. Eileen Castillo says:

    At my lowest point of debilitation from the management bullying I was powerless to stop, I faced the added blows from came from my clueless coworkers who amazingly blamed me for my inability to shrug off the degradation

  2. Kachina says:

    Even if your workplace has a policy that explicitly addresses workplace bullying and promises an investigation, do not trust them. Go through the motions if you wish to remain employed, but in my experience it served only to escalate a difficult situation to an intolerable one. On the plus side, I do know that I did everything I could do….and it made no difference. That helps when I review my actions to try to figure out where I could have done more or better.

    I say give it a try, but don’t expect it to be effective.

  3. Patricia says:

    I was considering reporting an incident which I thought was workplace bullying to HR recently but decided against it after reading your article and watching one of your YouTube videos. Very useful and thank you. But having watched another of your videos, I’m also not sure whether what happened was in fact workplace bullying or “simply” disrespect. I’m rather confused about two things: 1. the distinction between disrespectful behaviour and workplace bullying and the requirement for deliberate disrespectful behavior to be repeated to qualify as workplace bullying 2. the comparison between workplace bullying and domestic violence. Surely if a person is punched in the face once by their partner, they are considered to have experienced domestic violence. It doesn’t have to be repeated to qualify as such.

What do You think?

Below is a comment box, we would love to hear any comments or concerns you have regarding this blog post.

For your personal safety please note than anything you write here is public and may show up in a search engine. Do not use any specific names or places if you are concerned for your privacy.

(Maximum characters: 4,000)
You have characters left.


This site is best viewed with Firefox web browser. Click here to upgrade to Firefox for free. X