Posts Tagged ‘policy’
Saturday, September 26th, 2015
Consistency is First Step Toward Accountability: The Problem with Case-by-Case Approaches
By Gary Namie, PhD
One of the major complaints from bullied workers is the unfairness and inequity inherent in their employer’s approach to bullying complaints. As a group, bullied individuals are very sensitive to perceived injustices.
It is key to remember that if it is an American employer, there is no legal risk-avoidance reason to compel them to take complaints about bullying and abusive conduct seriously. If they treat complaints as legitimate and serious at all, it is because they choose to do so voluntarily.
When a sympathetic, well-intentioned employer does allow bullying complaints to be lodged, that openness is often followed by resolution attempts on a case-by-case basis (CBCB). Adopting CBCB sounds good but is plagued by unintentional consequences.
To employers, CBCB affords flexibility. It allows the investigator and decision maker to take into account mitigating circumstances. For instance, offenders can be forgiven if their misconduct is found to be based on following orders from a higher ranking manager. It also makes sense to be lenient in delivering negative consequences for first-time offenders. How could this be unfair?
From the perspective of rank-in-file employees the CBCB method is perceived much differently. From that view, in the first instance the given orders were unseen. Only the absence of punishment or changes was noticed. Therefore, the decision smacks of favoritism. And if the offender was a department head or director, then it appears the employer is protecting managers. Bullying is met with impunity.Leniency, too, looks like the employer decided to grant the bully wide latitude.
In both cases, employer flexibility feels like employer betrayal to workers.
This is a preventable error.
At WBI, we suggest dropping the CBCB approach. CBCB is the only alternative when no systematic policy-driven solution exists. Create the alternative. If employers truly want to hold accountable destructive workers, then create a policy or code of conduct in which you state unequivocally that abusive conduct is unacceptable.
More important, you must design enforcement procedures to make the policy a living document.
The procedures you create spell out exactly how complaints alleging violations of the policy or code will be handled. Employer responsiveness is key. Regarding the topic of this column — accountability for violations — your enforcement procedures must clearly dictate consistency. This is done by explicitly stating that all procedural steps — investigations, interviews, timelines, notifications of outcomes, and remedies — apply to ALL employees at ALL levels. The antithesis of CBCB is a consistent application of the rules.
If you, the employer, want engaged loyal employees, then substitute a policy and faithful enforcement procedures (governing rules) for old CBCB, make-it-up-on-the-fly, methods of dealing with bullying. Your reputation with your employees depends on it.
Saturday, December 20th, 2014
Poor (salary $44 million) NFL Commissioner Goodell. He has been castigated for his inconsistency of applying standards across teams and individual players, plagued by accusations that team owners interfered with criminal investigations, and hounded, and eventually reversed, by critics for overstepping his authority when leveling draconian punishment against domestic abuser Ray Rice. His incomplete response to the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal was to mandate a lame 1 hour “education session” held in each team’s locker room about respect. Half-ass solutions seem to be the NFL’s history.
In the aftermath of a spate of domestic violence incidents by NFL players and the assembly of a team of external experts in DV prevention comes a new NFL Personal Conduct Policy.
As the expert called in to assist Jonathan Martin’s legal team and to advise Ted Wells, the NFL’s investigator of the abuse levied by three of Martin’s teammates, I heard repeatedly the NFL mantra of “Protect the Shield.” The NFL logo is a shield of sorts and everyone affiliated with the NFL knows that the league of owners takes extraordinary steps to protect its commercial brand, often at the expense of its players without whom there would be no league.
Guided by the “Protect the Shield” principle, NFL commissioners and executives historically ignore player safety for the sake of the game. Witness tthe 2014 settlement of the lawsuit with thousands of former player-plaintiffs accusing the NFL of ignoring known neurological health hazards to which they were exposed causing them to suffer CTE. The settlement temporarily silenced complainants and allowed the NFL to roll into the 2014 season without the cloud of litigation overhead.
Tags: CTE, domestic violence, Jane Randel, Lisa Friel, NFL, policy, protect the shield, Rita Smith, Roger Goodell, workplace bullying
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Related Phenomena, WBI Education | 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.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
By Nancy Fischer
News Niagara Reporter
The Buffalo News
March 4, 2014
NORTH TONAWANDA – Bullying has gotten a lot of attention among schoolchildren, but hostile work environments and bullying behavior in the workplace are now being addressed by a bill in the State Legislature.
In advance of the proposed legislation, the North Tonawanda Common Council unanimously adopted its own measure Tuesday, updating its 2009 Workplace Violence Prevention Policy with specific language to address bullying.
The Council did not discuss the policy, but Mayor Robert G. Ortt said after the meeting that bullying is a “real deal” that goes beyond schools, even to the case involving the Miami Dolphins in the National Football League.
“I think if you are going to ask kids to behave a certain way, there’s no reason not to expect adults to behave in the same manner,” Ortt said.
“You want people to be able to come to work and do their job in an environment that is professional. Without that, morale goes down, people don’t do their jobs as well, and there are health-related issues that are additional costs to the employer, which in this case is the city and ultimately the public.”
Assistant City Attorney Katherine D. Alexander said prior to the meeting, “We are just trying to be as prepared as we can here. If something were to happen, there will be steps an employee could take.”
Like the law being proposed in the State Legislature, the city policy gives employees the definition of an abusive workplace and provides for specific consequences. The policy also requires a system for reporting incidents of aggressive bullying.
The city now has a “zero tolerance policy” regarding reports of an abusive work environment.
According to the new city policy, after an investigation by the supervisor and the city attorney, any employee who is found to have committed a violation may be disciplined – which could include discharge, and criminal or civil prosecution.
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
By BCGEU – 12/4/13
How does the new Workers Compensation Board (WCB) language on workplace bullying and harassment affect BCGEU members?
Prevention and Compensation
There are two aspects to all health and safety matters. First, procedures and systems must be put into place to prevent workplace injuries. Secondly, workers who suffer workplace injuries have a right to compensation.
Bullying and Harassment
On July 1, 2012, the Workers Compensation legislation regarding bullying and harassment was changed to include:
- Benefit coverage for mental disorder claims for workers who experience bullying and harassment in the workplace and are unable to work;
- The provision for the WCB to define bullying and harassment and to develop policies and procedures requiring employers to prevent and address workplace bullying and harassment.
Members have asked:
- How do the new WCB policies and procedures fit with the anti-bullying language the union has negotiated in many of our collective agreements?
- If I am bullied in my workplace, what are my options to make it stop?
- Should I be filing a complaint through the WCB process?
To answer these questions, it is important to review the union’s response to bullying behavior. The union has spoken out loudly and clearly that bullying is not acceptable. Bullying in the workplace is wrong and should be addressed quickly and appropriately. Because all workers deserve a workplace that is free from harassment and bullying, we negotiated anti-bullying policies and protections in many of our agreements. We encourage employers to engage with us in developing and teaching respectful workplace practices.
Thursday, October 10th, 2013
Without laws to compel the prevention and correction of workplace bullying, organizations striving to ensure an abuse-free work environment are few and far between. The companies that do look for solutions are ahead of the curve.
That said, it is important that companies find the correct solutions. Training that centers on role-playing exercises do more harm than good.
We stumbled upon an example of the wrong way to train (keeping the source anonymous). Look at the following role-play exercises and see if you can can pinpoint the problem.
Role Play #1
Joe is a nurse who has worked at the facility for 15 years. Recently he and his wife of 30 years have separated and are filing for divorce. On every shift Joe sees his co-workers whispering behind his back. Rumors have started circulating about the circumstances surrounding the separation.
Role-play this situation and how Joe should act in these types of situations.
Monday, September 16th, 2013
Self-guided program on DVD for employers of all sizes leads to the creation of a comprehensive, defensible policy to prevent and correct workplace bullying from the recognized originator of the workplace bullying consulting field in North America.
Recognition of workplace bullying is at an all time high and employers are beginning to addressing. Workplace Bullying Institute research shows that only 5.5% of U.S. employers are adequately dealing with the problem in their organizations. In a 2013 survey of business executives, 68% indicated it was a serious problem. Many employers don’t know where to start. Since launching the U.S. anti-workplace bullying movement in 1997, Dr. Gary Namie has worked with organizations to create policies and procedures. For the first time, and only from WBI, companies of all sizes can now apply the same writing method normally facilitated by Dr. Namie in person.
”We wanted to remove all barriers for all employers to stopping bullying,” according to Dr. Namie, “Employees are clamoring for protection and this is our plan to accelerate the changes businesses must make to stem the losses.”
The cost is $299 so that small businesses can protect themselves against the losses incurred by a workplace bully.
The DVD is best used by an assembled team of workers called the Policy Writing Group or the appropriate authority in small firms. Instructions are provided that allow the group to create the most comprehensive set of policy provisions, informal solutions, and formal enforcement procedures. Law professor David C. Yamada discusses legal and liability issues associated with policy creation. Only those who work at your organization understand the idiosyncrasies of their unique workplace culture. This DVD results in a policy specific to your organization with all of the accompanying ethical and logistical questions answered.
For product information visit The Work Doctor® Website
Tags: David Yamada, Gary Namie, policy, procedures, solution, training, Work Doctor, workplace bullying, workplace bullying policy
Posted in Good News, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2, Products & Services | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Generation Y is less tolerant of bullying than other generations. Can they reverse the rise of workplace bullying?
By Ruchika Tulshyan
When I wrote an article on why women are the worst bullies in April 2012, I didn’t think I would still be getting comments and emails about it nearly two years later. But evidently, workplace bullying isn’t going away.
Woman-on-woman bullying is actually on the rise, according to Dr. Gary Namie, psychologist and co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI). “Bullies are of both genders, but women bullies tend to disrupt relations or pit worker against worker. Men would rather push people around to show hierarchy,” he says.
The damage inflicted by bullying can often be worse than from sexual harassment, according to Dr. Namie. “The bullying is so personalized, it usually touches upon the target’s deepest insecurities.”
Over 80 percent of female bullies choose female targets.
Bullying varies from ostracizing victims to spreading rumors and betraying trust. Unfortunately, action against it is rarely taken. WBI found that the majority of targets believe senior executives in their organization consider bullying to be irrelevant and not worthy of attention.
How Millennials can change the status quo
But, there’s good news. Millennials have grown up with anti-bullying campaigns in school. Having more information on what constitutes bullying makes them more vocal against it and less likely to put up with it.
“The younger generation is quite intolerant of bullying,” says Dr. Namie. “We’ve found they’re less likely to believe they have to continue to stay in that environment. Many know they’ll hold multiple jobs in their lifetime, so they’re quick to get out of a bad situation [compared to the older generations],” he says. In time, the intolerance to bullying will trickle down to other generations as companies face employee turnover from it.
Plus, despite the rise of Internet trolling and reputation damage through social media, Dr. Namie says the internet has actually had a positive impact on the case against workplace bullying. Online forums dedicated to sharing stories have generally been supportive, he says. A whopping 72% of people surveyed had never heard of “workplace bullying” before reading the term online.
Millennials may be less tolerant, but it’s up to the company to fix it
“Employers have the power to nip bullying in the bud,” says Dr. Namie.
Friday, June 7th, 2013
Amherst Bulletin Editorial
June 5, 2013
Bullying has become a major issue over the past few years, and rightfully so. The focus has been mainly on children and teens and the sometimes tragic results of the emotional battering that is still far too commonplace. But at least public schools in this state have taken a strong no-tolerance stand and imposed measures to educate children and swiftly deal with incidents. That does have an impact.
But bullying is not reserved for the young. Though it is not so openly discussed, adults are mistreated this way, too, and the workplace is an area where victims are particularly vulnerable, as their livelihoods are at stake. Therefore, we applaud University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and other campus officials for publicly recognizing this and taking steps to improve the work environment for campus staff.
Troubled by statistics and comments gathered in an online survey last fall, Subbaswamy sent a memo to faculty and staff recently saying that although the UMass results line up with data gathered at other workplaces across the country, the university finds this unacceptable and is working on ways to eliminate bullying from campus offices.
Thursday, May 30th, 2013
UPDATE: To write the best workplace bullying policy and enforcement procedures, go here.
On April 16, 2013 the Pima County (AZ) Board of Supervisors approved a new policy to prevent, identify and address workplace bullying. Pima, which includes the city of Tuscon, joins the growing list of U.S. counties (see Fulton County, Georgia) to adopt such measures. You can read the entire policy here.
Workplace bullying is intentional behavior intended to create an abusive work environment for an employee or employees. Bullying behavior is behavior in the workplace that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and not obviously related to an employer’s legitimate business interests.
Features of the Policy:
• It can come from any direction — manager, co-worker, subordinate, appointing authority, elected official, vendor, contractor or member of the public.
• Witnesses, not just direct targets of bullying, may complain
• The list of illustrative examples is long, but nicely categorized as follows, bullying: in general, by supervisor, by coworkers, by sabotage and by shunning.
Tags: Arizona, county employees, government anti-bullying policy, Pima County, policy, Tuscon, workplace bullying
Posted in Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (