Posts Tagged ‘gary namie’
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Bullying in the workplace exists. It always has. We’ve provided the U.S. national prevalence statistics since 2007. But let’s say you just “stumbled upon” the term for status-blind harassment that is legal and unaddressed in American businesses.
Everyone knows it is wrong and immoral. It is costly in a million ways. But it is sustained.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
By Sara Fagnilli, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Nov. 21, 2012
It’s a subject made for the movies! But, unlike its depiction in the 2003 film, Anger Management, treatment for anger management issues is very serious business. Haven’t we all been in a work situation where someone loses their temper? Know the employee with a reputation as the “office screamer?” Sometimes it can even be a boss!
While some people may be prone to outbursts of emotion at work, are these incidents simply a reflection of human nature or are they, perhaps, something more serious that an employer must address? Believe it or not, an employee with significant anger issues may be protected by various laws, if that anger is caused by or related to a medical condition.
As is the case with most employment-related disciplinary matters, the answer to the question of how to manage an employee with anger issues is – carefully. Each individual situation requires analysis to assess the issues involved and to determine how an employer should proceed. Are you dealing with the “office bully,” with an employee who consistently loses his or her temper with other employees, customers or clients, or with someone who just has a poor daily demeanor that manifests itself in regular outbursts, perhaps directed at no one in particular? In short, is this just an office bully or someone who has a mental impairment?
Workplace bullying, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons …one or more perpetrators…in the form of verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating or work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done.” Obviously, this definition covers someone who simply behaves badly in the workplace, but it also may describe the actions of an employee with a more serious, underlying behavioral problem. Employers may not, however, play psychologist/psychiatrist in attempting to assess an individual’s actions. Therein lies the challenge for the employer, as it must make an effort to determine the best, most appropriate way to handle such behavioral issues without placing a “label” upon the employee.
If the incident is one for which discipline is appropriate, a part of that discipline could presumably involve the requirement that the employee get counseling – seems simple and straightforward, right? Maybe not.
Requiring an employee with anger problems to get counseling could trigger certain issues and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). Requiring an employee to obtain counseling could be found to be equivalent to requiring a medical exam. In order for an employer to avoid a violation of the ADAAA, it must demonstrate that such an exam (or counseling) is job-related and that it is a business necessity.
So what do you do with the “office screamer” – the person who doesn’t necessarily become involved in a confrontation with a co-worker or third party, but who has an unpleasant office demeanor that might not otherwise be subject to discipline? While that type of behavior could certainly lead to disciplinary action, a wise employer will want to derail that behavior before it escalates into a disciplinary event. It is possible for an employer – without running afoul of ADAAA regulations – to require that an employee attend a group anger management class. This type of group training can assist the employee in managing his or her interactions in the workplace, without necessarily implying that the employee has a mental impairment.
Anger is a significant workplace and societal issue, and there are professionals who deal specifically with anger management. The basic question, of course, centers around a determination of the source of one’s anger which, in today’s world, can stem from outside forces that ultimately manifest themselves within the workplace. While the majority of employees will not want their personal issues to impact their job situation, some people are unable to prevent that anger from manifesting itself at work. This situation is much more difficult to deal with from an employer’s standpoint. While an employer should be reluctant to delve into an employee’s personal situation, anger left unchecked can have drastic consequences in the workplace. This is an area where an employer would be well advised to proceed with caution and to consult with legal counsel early in the process in order to avoid ending up on the wrong end of an EEOC charge.
Sara J. Fagnilli is an attorney with Walter & Haverfield LLP in Cleveland. She is a member of the firm’s labor and employment, municipal law, public law and litigation practice groups.
Tags: anger management, gary namie, management skills, prevention, sara fagnilli, solution, work, workplace bullying, workplace violence
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Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
By Larry Keller, Human Resources Executive, Nov. 21, 2012
Researchers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom have released results of three separate surveys of employees questioned at several universities which find that about 80 percent of the 320 respondents said they had experienced work-related cyberbullying at least once in the previous six months, and 14 to 20 percent of them said this happened to them at least once a week.
The findings have serious implications for HR professionals. Cyberbullying can result in lower employee morale, higher turnover and absenteeism, and damage to a company’s reputation if the practice is visible to a vast audience on the Internet, the researchers say. It also raises questions as to whether existing HR policies adequately address the behavior.
“A key issue . . . is to raise awareness of the impact of cyberbehavior — to prevent it [from] happening — or escalating,” says Carolyn Axtell, senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield’s Institute of Work Psychology and one of the authors of the study. “Due to the lack of social and physical cues online, people are less aware, and therefore less considerate about the other person’s reaction. Organizations could . . . set norms and expectations about online behavior — what is considered acceptable and what isn’t.”
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
Let’s assume your organization (Executive Team, HR and Legal) WANT to stop bullying. One of the first questions the group must answer is whether or not you jump in with both feet or move more slowly. Here are the pros and cons of each approach.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
By Janet Fowler, Investopedia, July 16, 2012
Society is becoming more aware of bullying in all aspects of our world – everywhere from school to online. We are recognizing that bullying can be found in many different situations. Workplace bullying has also become a more common topic of discussion, with estimates suggesting that somewhere between 25 and 50% of the workforce has been subject to some form of bullying in the workplace. Nearly half of the working population has witnessed it at some point. Workplace bullying can take many forms and is generally intentional.
Workplace bullying can include verbal abuse, intimidation, humiliation and sabotage. These mistreatments are typically not one-time occurrences; they happen over a significant length of time and cause the victim to suffer a loss of self-esteem and possibly even long-term physical or mental health issues. Aside from the damages to the victims of bullying, organizations are finding that workplace bullying costs money as well.
Tags: gary namie, investopedia, janet fowler, management skills, prevention, solution, work, workplace bullying, workplace violence
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Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
By Suzanne Lucas
Everyone knows that employees who are bullied at work are more likely to quit. But a new study from the University of British Columbia shows that it’s not only the victim who is likely to bail — the person’s coworkers are also likely to leave their jobs:
Witnessing or learning about these impacts of workplace bullying is likely to promote empathetic responses. Employees witnessing coworkers being bullied, or merely talking to them about their experiences, are pushed toward taking the targets’ perspective. Such perspective-taking leads one to experience cognitive or emotional empathy, which includes imagining how another feels… or actually sharing in another’s feelings. These empathetic responses can contribute to the understanding that a significant moral violation has occurred and the recognition that the victim does not deserve his or her mistreatment. As a result of this moral uneasiness, bullying at large within a work unit will increase employee intentions to quit their work group
Tags: gary namie, management skills, MoneyWatch, prevention, solution, Suzanne Lucas, work, workplace bullying, workplace violence
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Thursday, March 14th, 2013
At thestar.com, Janice Rubin, a Toronto employment lawyer, explains that “[a]s business owners [and lawyers], we get it.” Janice goes on the give some steps business owners should take to establish healthy, bully-free workplaces.
Draft a “respect at work” anti-harassment policy
Establish an effective investigation process
Make sure hires don’t have a history of problems
Lead by example
Recognize lessons learned
Work Doctor’s Blueprint Services address all of these legal and managerial concerns.
Thursday, March 7th, 2013
Sometimes the last to know about destructive trends in the workplace are managers and executives. When it comes to workplace bullying, this could not be more true. When employers request that we come on-site to deliver speeches or order our Employee Awareness video, the requester wants employees to “be able to recognize when bullying happens.”
The truth is that employees, especially targets of the bullying, know it all too well. Recognition is one of their problems, but not the main one. They wonder why management doesn’t stop it. And for that we have the video Primer for Managers. The real benefit of “employee awareness raising” is that bullied workers are validated.
We validate these injured workers by demonstrating that they are not alone (the prevalence of bullying is epidemic) and that they did not invite their misery. We also connect the dots for targets to understand how bullying causes them surprising health problems. Finally, validation tells targets that they are not “crazy.” The personality of targets is such that they tend to blame themselves first. Over time, with the combined effects of stress-related health harm and the emotional impact of debilitating anxiety and clinical depression, it’s easy for them to feel destabilized emotionally. Targets deserve to be told that they are injured by the process. Injuries do not equal craziness.
Of course, coworkers blind to the effects of bullying on targeted individuals learn a great deal more than they knew before about the impact on the targets’ health.
So, please continue to provide awareness raising, but please know that it accomplishes much more than what you expected. For doing anything, you rank among the few employers who care enough to act.
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Commonly, the word bullying calls to mind the child in the playground wearing Coke-bottle glasses, being thumped by a bully. This stereotypical weakling has no buddies to come to his rescue. As with all stereotypes, this one is not necessarily true.
In adulthood, the same stereotype depicting targets as weak persists. In fact, employees targeted for repeated, harmful, abusive mistreatment possess many strengths. Targets are known to be technically more skilled than their bully; be better liked; be ethical, honest and principled; and to reject workplace politics. Those personal strengths threaten the seemingly invincible bully. The reality is that bullying behavior masks an afraid-to-be-exposed person.
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
We know that most bullying, unlike other forms of workplace violence, is preventable. In hindsight, there is a search for the person to blame for this costly problem. It’s never a single person, it takes a team to prevent executives from accurately characterizing bullying so that they want to eliminate it.
Two missed Red Flag warnings that told the employer there was a problem:
Missed Opportunity 1. Bullied workers try to tell executives but were not believed. This happens for two reasons.
a. Often the descriptions of misconduct appear too outrageous to be real when, in fact, perpetrators do commit atrocious acts against subordinates. Of course, they do not show their sadistic side to their own bosses. They are excellent impression managers.
b. Bullies prepare executive sponsors to not believe future complaints lodged against them. This serves a pre-emptive function. That way, when the bullied person eventually does complain, she or he is not believed!
Missed Opportunity 2. Bullying cases are mislabeled as mere “personality clashes,” which makes them seem solvable by the two people involved. This is wrong because the perpetrator is not motivated to resolve the problem they initiated and benefit from. The target is powerless to stop the bully.
Bullying requires high-level employer intervention. To push accountability down to the lowest level is the missed opportunity to resolve it and prevent future occurrences.