Posts Tagged ‘violence’


For advocates who stop abusive conduct at work, it’s all about accountability

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Proponents for social justice in the #BlackLivesMatter movement seek accountability. The unethical county prosecutor misled the grand jury so it would not hold officer Darren Wilson responsible for the death of Michael Brown. Hence, the hands-up gesture of surrender that Brown used that Wilson ignored as he gunned Brown down on that Ferguson, MO street. Both Wilson and the prosecutor got away without being held accountable.

The wife and surviving children of Eric Garner also seek accountability. NYPD officers Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico combined a chokehold and physical restraint to kill Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk while a witness filmed the episode. The grand jury there also let the officers walk away without facing consequences for taking a life.

Then, in Cleveland, 12-y.o. Tamir Rice was gunned down within seconds by Timothy Loehmann as his patrol car rushed to the public park scene where Tamir was playing by himself. Loehmann’s employment record showed him to be too incompetent in handling firearms for a small city police squad before he found a job with the Cleveland PD. Rice is dead because the Cleveland PD ignored early career warning signs about Loehmann. He also failed his written entrance exam for Cleveland employment.

The headline-grabbing, media-saturation stories “surprised” white TV viewers who had no appreciation of the ongoing abuse black men face at the hands of police. They were Furthermore, because of implicit (unstated or attitudes possessed without explicit self-awareness) racism by whites, there was little sympathy for those murdered.

In fact, police violence apologists attempted to guide the public to make what is called the fundamental attribution error. Victims are degraded and treated as though they deserved their fate. The error is behind all “blame-the-victim” scenarios that we perpetuate in the aftermath of personal crimes: rape, campus sexual assault, and even murder victims.

It’s a tug of war between two competing explanatory models: fixing responsibility on perpetrators of violence or seeking faults in victims that made them somehow provocative and deserving their fate.

The overlap with bullied targets is easy to see. When they inform management about their ordeal, they are not believed and retaliated against for tarnishing the perpetrators’ image honed by years of ingratiating themselves to their executive sponsor. Management tends to “circle the wagons,” to grow increasingly defensive. Management should care about the impact of bullying on finances as well as the impact on employee health. Instead, managers tend to deny, discount and rationalize bullying.

Another insult to bullied individuals is the sham investigation done by the employer. Organizations cannot conduct unbiased investigations of themselves. The pressures for individual survival and covering up are too great. Furthermore, HR is a management support function. Therefore, it is management investigating incidents of wrongdoing primarily by managers. Truth is sacrificed for the sake of political expediency.

When investigations conclude with an inability to assign responsibility (the infamous “she said/she said” tie) or the mischaracterization of the abuse as a “personality clash” between bully and target, targets are upset and frustrated. Their sense of justice was shattered by the bullying. A failure to find fault in perpetrators compounds the injustice.

Sadly, of the cases in which bullying has stopped, 77% of targets pay the price by losing the job they had no business losing or they transferred (11%) as if they had done something wrong. Perpetrators bully with impunity.

Bullied targets and witnesses simply want perpetrators to be held accountable.

Accountability is nearly impossible without a policy. It is also impossible when a policy exists but is not applied to all employees at all levels of the organization. Inconsistent or absent enforcement renders the policy ineffective. It is only a collection of positive words and thoughts.

Most policies are created in response to laws. Without laws that provide legal redress for bullied individuals, employers do not voluntarily address abusive conduct in comprehensive ways. They may engage in minimal training (as mandated in California starting in 2015) or be “encouraged” to adopt a policy (as suggested in TN law, effective in 2015). Strong laws will compel good policies, which in turn, make accountability more likely. Help enact the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.

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Posted in Related Phenomena, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Meggyesy: Fear and Violence in the NFL

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

By David Meggyesy, former seven year linebacker with the St. Louis football Cardinals, author of a best-selling football autobiography, Out of Their League. Meggyesy is board President of Athletes United for Peace and is the former Western Regional Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). Essay originally posted on Social Justice on 9/17/2014.

“The only reason parents hit their children is because they can get away with it.” — A. S. Neill, Summerhill

As a physically abused child, as many of us are, I read the above quote as a young adult, then the parent of a three year old son and a professional football player with the St. Louis Football Cardinals. It was an epiphany, and I never forgot it. Certainly there were times when I was angry, feeling unsure of myself and demanding some kind of control in my life. Hey I could take it out on my “out of control“ son and say to myself “he deserved it”. However that Neill observation made so much sense I decided to break the chain and I never physically assaulted my children.

The issue is again news, with the former Baltimore Raven NFL player Ray Rice, who is shown punching and knocking out his girlfriend and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator, Adrian Peterson, star running back with the Minnesota Vikings drawing blood beating his four year old son with a switch. This gender and child abuse is not endemic to athletes who play professional football. It is a social epidemic. Given the media power of the NFL it’s a good thing that this kind of abuse is again thrown up in our collective face.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, NFL: Domestic Violence | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



NFL: Bully PR smears victim despite facts

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The Miami Dolphins bullying scandal mirrors in so many ways what happens to bullied targets in corporate and government jobs.

Follow the full NFL story in the Category list in the sidebar: NFL: Jonathan Martin

Now that the target, Jonathan Martin, has finally spoken, the bully ratchets up his defense.

Richie Incognito, alleged bully (pictured on the left), who lost pay for only 2 football games and was paid to not play for the Dolphins or any other team for the remainder of the season, is going on offense.

Since most of his public behavior is indefensible — racial slurs in text messages and drunken rants caught on camera — his PR advisers are attacking Martin. Always blame/attack the victim. He claims Martin gave as good as he got. Remember bullies are believed; bullied targets are not believed.

The Big Lie: the relationship between Martin and Incognito was “friendship.” Friends are equals. Friends care about each other. Friends respect one another. Friends don’t abuse. Friends don’t exploit.

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Posted in NFL: Jonathan Martin, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Hazing in China, the same the world around

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The New York Times reports on a disturbing June 2012 video posted on YouTube of severe hazing within a brigade of the People’s Armed Police, a Chinese group that provides for internal security and border patrol duties. It seems the veteran troops doing the hazing filmed the event proudly. Though military in function, the group is not part of the Army. Authorities said the video “exposed serious questions about the management of our unit. We are deeply shocked, hurt and blame ourselves.”

This is the sort of mistreatment the American military hopes to eliminate within its ranks, but changing the military culture is an uphill battle.

The disgusting video appears on the next page for those with the stomach to watch the brutal nonsense that is somehow sold to new recruits as a test of honor, to be in the club.

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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Workplace Bullying Trumped Peace at Spiritual Retreat: Hunger Strike Ensued

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

People bullied at work tend to be principled and ethical. People practicing peaceful Buddhist principles certainly never expected to work in a bullying-prone workplace. The juxtaposition of peaceful people helping others find peace, tranquility and purpose to make the world a better place in which to live with the psychological violence and pain caused by workplace bullying is jarring. It’s a major clash between Peace and Violence in a single workplace.

The Vallecitos Mountain Ranch in rural New Mexico outside of Taos is a place founded with the goal of helping people find peace, rediscover their humanity and personal purpose — a self-described “wilderness learning and retreat center.” A married couple started the Ranch. After a divorce, Grove Burnett, was the sole leader. The staff included an executive director, a ranch manager, retreat coordinator, and cooks for retreats staged at the tranquil site. Burnett is recognized as a spiritual leader and meditation teacher. He scheduled a return from sabbatical on Sat. July 13, 2013.

Over the years, Burnett had a record of bullying staff, Board members, and others in the spiritual movement. A staff survey in Nov. 2012 revealed the scope of problems he caused. He had created an “unsafe and tyrannical” place.

During his absence, the 10-person staff appealed to the Board to demand resignations from Burnett and several of his supporters on the Board, to demand new employment contracts with an anti-retaliation clause, and to demand Burnett never teach or participate in any future Vallecitos programs. The Board was indifferent to the complaints. Sound familiar?

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Reveling in the pain of others

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

The wiser reporters who interview me ask what is behind our tolerance of vicious abuse in the workplace or any other domain in our lives. I, as a social psychologist, resort to my stock reply that all of our actions stem from a societal context. If we were less accepting of violence, we would stop it. Perpetrators would never be portrayed heroically. Instead, they would shunned in ways that we now treat victims. Sadly, that’s not the culture I live in.

I direct readers to a rather long, but thoughtful and accurate analysis of current culture by Henry A. Giroux, a professor at McMaster University. He stated the case more masterfully than I could.  Reveling in the pain of others: Moral degeneracy and violence in the “Kill Team” photos.

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied | 4 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



New Documentary Announcement

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Please check out this film!  The Drs. Namie and the WBI Legislative Campaign are featured.  It’s a documentary that begins with post office homicide and then introduces bullying as a potential toxic feature of the work environment that can set the stage for violence.

“Delivers a potent mix of shocking truth, honest analysis and dark humor”
COMING TO THEATERS IN 2010

Feature documentary Murder by Proxy: How America Went Postal offers a provocative examination of the possible role of hostile work environments in mass murder incidents, starting with the earliest USPS mass murder-suicide in 1986.

At a time when tensions are rising again in the Postal Service and in other workplaces across America, Murder By Proxy is a simply a must-see film.

Spread the word, forward the link to this announcement to your friends

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Posted in Events & Appearances, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Hear Ye! Hear Ye! 2 | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Taking Aim at Workplace Disputes

Monday, September 28th, 2009

By DOUGLAS S. MALAN, Connecticut Law Tribune, Sept. 28, 2009

Lawyers say Yale murder highlights need for training, policies (about physical workplace violence) with a nod to understanding possible underlying work environment issues. Read the original article.

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Posted in WBI in the News | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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