Posts Tagged ‘HR’
Saturday, September 26th, 2015
How HR Can and Should Handle Bullies
By Lynne Curry, PhD, SPHR
It’s easy to say HR should handle bully managers. In reality it’s not so simple.
As bullying isn’t illegal, HR’s hands are often tied unless there’s a documentable offense, particularly if the alleged bully is talented, productive and highly regarded by senior management or the industry.
At the same time, while bullying isn’t illegal, bullies expose their organizations to potential legal liability. Those who bully become so accustomed to getting their way through insults or pressure that they often don’t realize they don’t rule the world outside their workplace. When they harass or insult those in legally protected categories, such as someone of a different sex or race, or retaliate against employees who challenge them on safety issues or other legally protected grounds, they may drag their organization into a lawsuit or in front of a regulatory agency. Then, the bully’s claim that “it doesn’t matter that I called her a b—- because I call all men a——-s” or “I didn’t give him a hard time about the safety issue, I treat everyone that way” falls apart.
HR professionals are in in an ideal place to convince upper management to take action when they see a workplace bully edging their company toward these potential pitfalls. They can let their senior management know about the $270,000 Dish Network paid out to a victimized employee fired after he reported abusive behavior by his boss. The jury ruled in favor of the employee when he proved his supervisor verbally and physically abused him and the company didn’t listen to his complaints. The jury further ruled that Dish management failed to protect this or other employees from the supervisor’s abuse.
HR can let senior managers know about the two million dollars Microsoft paid out because they allowed bully managers and supervisors to create a hostile environment for a salesperson by undermining his work, making false accusations against him, blocking him from promotions, and otherwise marginalizing him. Judge Sulak ruled that the tech giant was guilty of “acting with malice and reckless indifference.”
HR often feels hamstrung by the fact that many of the employees who come to them voicing concerns about bullies expect and need confidentiality – even for the fact that they’ve visited HR. Luckily, HR has alternatives that work. They can provide a confidential avenue for employees to voice their concerns by instituting an employee survey or 360-degree review on the bully.
Lynne Curry is author of Beating the Workplace Bully (AMACOM, Jan. 2016) and co-contributor to the WBI Leaders’ Column to advise organizational leaders about strategies to deal with workplace bullying.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Z & H Foods Inc. is a Houston-based company that owns and operates two restaurant franchises — Popeyes and Louisiana Kitchen. At a Popeyes location on March 31, a hooded thief brandishing a handgun at staff robbed the store of about $400 from the cash registers when the woman shift manager, Marissa Holcomb, told him she had no access to the safe. Marissa was subsequently fired for violating a Z & H policy. Yes, the HR person (who has yet to be identified) justified the firing of a pregnant mom who was just robbed at gunpoint. The basis? Repeated violations of leaving too much cash in the registers.
If Holcomb was responsible for transferring the cash, she would likely have to store it in the safe, as opposed to paper bags or her personal purse. For that to happen, she would have had access to the safe where the largest amount of cash was stored. But Holcomb protected the safe, and therefore the company from losing even more money, by telling the robber that she had no access. The HR rep who justified the firing has now leaked to the public the fact that managers of Z & H-owned restaurants on all shifts have access to their safes. Oops. She just endangered every manager.
Not only is the company ungrateful for Holcomb’s minimizing company losses, the company is too dangerous to work for at any salary. Spread the word in Houston.
Here’s the story from KHOU-TV.
Let Z & H know what you think: 281-988-5726 or give them hell on their google+ site
Note the restaurant is a Popeyes. Popeyes is a Georgia-based franchiser and deflects all responsibility for the actions of its franchisees like Z & H.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
This Time, It’s Personal
Will legislation to protect employees from workplace bullying stifle demanding managers?
By Steven Yoder, Comstock’s, March 31, 2015
Carrie Clark, 63, says bullies aren’t confined to playgrounds. Sometimes, they run the whole school.
In 1995, Clark directed an English as a Second Language program in West Sacramento’s Washington Unified School District. An influx of foreign students was forcing her staff to work ever-longer hours. She wrote several reports to the district superintendent documenting the extra load and asking for more help. She got no response, she says. So her teachers union representative suggested she put together a petition signed by program staff.
That got a reaction, but not the one she wanted. The superintendent took Clark off of the school’s committee of department chairs and canceled and consolidated classes. Clark says he called her house and left an odd, garbled message, and one day after a meeting, he followed her into an empty hallway. Towering over her, his face a foot from hers, he screamed that he wanted “no more petitions!”
Scared, Clark quit a few weeks later. She developed tremors in her right side, which she still has, started having heart palpitations and couldn’t sleep. Today, when she talks about what happened, her speech slows to a crawl and her voice quavers like a warped record. A Sacramento occupational medicine specialist diagnosed her with a post-traumatic stress disorder related to her job. After a 20-year teaching career, she’d never set foot in a classroom again. In 2002, she won a $150,000 workers’ compensation claim against the district.
There’s evidence that the superintendent targeted others who crossed him. He took a job in a district near Yuba City, and in January 1999 the teachers association president there told The Valley Mirror that the superintendent verbally threatened her and that she’d asked a court for a restraining order. She also told a reporter that she was having panic attacks for the first time in her life. (The superintendent, now retired, keeps an unlisted phone number and didn’t respond to a certified letter sent to his address requesting an interview.)
Tags: AB 2053, abusive conduct, Ann Wrixon, bill, Carrie Clark, Gary Namie, Healthy Workplace Bill, HR, Independent Adoption Center, legislation, Michael Kalt, SHRM, workplace bullying
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Target Tale, WBI in the News, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Sunday, October 19th, 2014
Just in time for WBI’s Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, James Woodson, Tuscaloosa Senior Assistant City Attorney introduced and the city council passed its first-ever workplace bullying policy (Ordinance No. 8144, Oct. 14, 2014). As documented elsewhere at the WBI site, a policy is necessary but not sufficient to comprehensively prevent and correct bullying. But it is a good preliminary step by any employer. Tuscaloosa will follow with training for staff and managers. We commend Mr. Woodson and the council. Woodson told his local TV station
“It wasn’t that many years ago that employers were adopting for the first time sexual harassment policies, then that became anti-harassment policies, and I think this is a natural extension to bullying, to essentially catch all of the inappropriate workplace behavior.”
[Earlier in 2014, Tennessee became the first state to encourage government agencies as employers to adopt policies to address abusive conduct.]
Here are the policy’s strengths and shortcomings.
Tags: abusive conduct, Alabama, HR, policy, Tuscaloosa, workplace bullying policy
Posted in Freedom Week, Good News, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Saturday, October 18th, 2014
Workplace bullying is a complex phenomenon because it is systemic with the majority of causes dwelling in the work environment, organizational culture. It is much more than personalities of targets and perpetrators. Thus, to stop it, we all need to pressure employers to stop running on autopilot and allowing bullying to happen as a normal routine way of doing business.
Here are WBI’s suggested actions for each of us in different roles and professions to pressure employers to reign in their out-of-control miscreants, to stop rewarding the misconduct, and to establish a positive workplace culture free of abusive conduct for the future.
Family & Friends
Co-Workers and Witnesses
Mental Health Professionals
Tags: bullied targets, employers, Freedom from bullies at work week, HR, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Freedom Week, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, September 29th, 2014
Career Builder commissioned an online Harris Poll to survey employed full-time private sector U.S. respondents. The prevalence of bullying was 28%. Career Builder findings can be extrapolated to their sample — people with full-time jobs in the private sector working for someone else.
Career Builder defined workplace bullying as
unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is often repeated over time. Bullying can include actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
The only diversion from traditional definitions is the inclusion of physical attacks. Bullying is non-physical assault, not battery.
WBI commissioned Zogby to conduct our 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey with a sample of all adult Americans that included unemployed workers (since bullying displaces so many of its targets). The prevalence of bullying was 27%. Our findings apply to all adult Americans, a broader sample.
The two studies are worth comparing. Both investigated bullying by race and rank.
Here are the major findings from the Career Builder survey (reprint of the CB press release).
• Minorities, the physically disabled and LGBT workers were bullied at a higher prevalence rate
• Women were targeted more than men (same for WBI)
• Managers were bullied at a 27% rate (it was 35% in the WBI 2007 national survey)
• Bullies were bosses (45%) and coworkers (46%); the WBI rates were 56% and 33%, respectively
• 48% of targets confronted their bully (WBI found that 69% had) and 45% of those people were successful at stopping the bullying (WBI found a paltry 3.57% success rate)
• 32% reported incidents to HR but in 58% of those cases nothing was done
According to the survey, the top five tactics were:
• Falsely accused of mistakes he/she didn’t make (43%)
• Comments were ignored, dismissed or not acknowledged (41%)
• A different set of standards or policies was used for the worker (37%)
• Gossip was spread about the worker (34%)
• Constantly criticized by the boss or co-workers (32%)
Regardless of the definition, this study reinforces our own work — workplace bullying is an American workplace scourge.
Tags: career builder, HR, prevalence, race, workplace bullying
Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Here is some work by a former target that lampoons the idea that “Human Resources” should change to a “Consumable resources” model. It would at least be more honest.
This is a great display of how time and creativity can help you work past a bullying experience.
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
New from your friends in the legal-averse HR industry: a webinar for HR folks on how to avoid granting (un)paid leave or making federal law mandated accommodations for people with mental disabilities called depression.
Session title: “Depression in the Workplace”
A rational person would think the session would be led by a psychologist, but nooo, it’s an attorney from the Eyres Law Group. Of course, if you or I non-attorneys professed to opine on subjects delving into the application of laws, we would be accused of an illegal act. But attorneys believe mental health and psychology are something not requiring any training or specialization.
The webinar topic list is upsetting, given what we know about the trauma that workplace bullying causes. And the fact that 49% of bullied individuals suffer clinical depression for the first time in their lives at the hands of an abuser at work!
Look at these webinar goals:
• How to tell if a depressed employee is “disabled” under the ADA’s mental impairment definition (WBI: the only thing worse than attorneys playing psychologist is HR doing the same. Yikes!)
• Whether depression is generally a “covered” disability if it’s the result of an underlying medical condition or due to an emotional trauma (WBI: which, of course, would never be caused BY the workplace)
• The medical inquires, limited examinations, and documentation you may legally request that the employee provide in support of a need for leave as accommodation (WBI: here’s where employers hire their own hack shrink who conducts an “independent” medical exam guaranteed to conclude that the problem is not real, these medical professionals rarely practice outside employer panels)
• How to respond to erratic attendance and persistent tardiness, including when to raise potential FMLA leave as an option (WBI: FMLA, in most cases is unpaid leave forcing workers to stay on the job against their physicians’ advice)
• How to successfully manage intermittent leave for chronic depression and curb potential FMLA abuse related to depressed workers (WBI: yes, abuse of unpaid leave is surely a chronic problem in the American laborforce that works more hours than workers in any other industrialized nation because there is no paid sick leave policies and leaves must be begged for. This smells like employer paranoia. Too bad employers don’t have to answer yet for real abuse, abuse of employees!)
• When you may legally discipline or terminate an employee with depression without sparking liability under federal disability and leave laws (WBI: Ah yes, the real agenda — how to fire the harmed employee.)
Tags: ADA, clinical depression, disability, Health harm from bullying, HR, mental illness, workplace bullying
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Check out this great 2-part interview for the program Executive Decisions. Host Tim Muma talks with Dr. Namie about bullying tactics and how to stop workplace bullying from costing your business money.
Listen to more Executive Decisions at localjobnetwork.com.
Sunday, November 10th, 2013
This week’s bullying situation in the NFL in which a player resigned because of bullying by a teammate, should remind employers to consider whether bullying by coworkers or bosses is affecting their employees and their ability to retain quality talent.
If you think workplace bullying doesn’t affect some of your employees, you’re mistaken. One in four employees is affected by it. There is a misconception that bullying is overt. Rather, it’s often subtle, slow, and insidious mistreatment that passes over the radar screen.
Rarely can bullying be identified based on one action, but rather a pattern of actions over a long period of time. This is why it so often goes undetected in the workplace, and your employees could be suffering because of it.
The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; or work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from getting done.”
The primary issue with bullying is that the perpetrator desires to control the other person’s behavior, usually for his or her own needs, personal agenda, or self-serving motives. Bullies use a variety of subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways to control others emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.
Adept bullies and manipulators are often extremely controlling people who are attuned to certain personality traits to exploit others. They are skilled “people readers” and make it their task to understand someone’s flaws to determine what techniques can be used against them. Some even go a step further and mask their bullying behind a charming and nice demeanor and even a noble cause.
Tags: employers, HR, NFL, recognizing workplace bullying, signs, solutions, symtoms, workplace bullying
Posted in Media About Bullying, NFL: Jonathan Martin, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | 8 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (