Posts Tagged ‘workplace bullying’
Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
On Jan. 1, 2015 California started mandating training in Abusive Conduct for supervisors (in employers with 50 or more workers). The definition was lifted verbatim from the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) authored by Suffolk University Law Professor David Yamada.
WBI and its national network of volunteer State Coordinators has been lobbying for the complete HWB since 2001. Timid, business lobby-yoked state lawmakers are afraid to take a stand for workers who suffer health harm as the result of workplace bullying. Of course, the HWB does not include the phrase “workplace bullying.” The term used is “abusive conduct.”
California and Utah have mandated training. Utah’s 2015 legislation is superior to California’s, though it applies only to state agency employers. Utah requires that employers describe how they will provide protections to employees. California, at first, simply mandated the training. And the topic of abusive conduct, which is still legal until the full HWB is enacted into law in California, is to be added to mandated training on the employer’s commitment to the prevention and resolution of illegal sexual harassment. Oops. This is confusing to nearly everyone. Many HR types hardly understand the power of having protected group status membership or not.
We worry that employees will conflate bullying (abusive conduct) with illegal forms of harassment, including exposure to a hostile work environment. They will falsely believe that abusive conduct is currently illegal because of the pairing with illegal forms of discrimination that violate state and federal laws.
Now comes an April 1 amendment to California Fair Employment and Housing Act Regulations. The section below shows the intended clarification regarding the content of the Abusive Conduct related to Government Code section 12950.1(g)(2).
The good news: the deleterious impact on the targets of abusive conduct must be discussed. Naturally, the negatives for the employer are to be included.
The bad news: the regulation lifts most of our HWB definition of abusive conduct but omits the critical element describing that personal health harm can be manifested. And time devoted to abusive conduct training should be “meaningful.” Still vague.
Read the amended, clarifying regulation for yourself.
Thursday, February 25th, 2016
C-Suite Talking Points for HR About Workplace Bullying
By Gary Namie, PhD
Assumptions: (1) No anti-bullying initiative can succeed without support from the top. (2) It will be the job of HR to take that message up the ladder.
Here is a list of reasons senior leaders should care. It includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Workplace Bullying is a costly litigation nightmare. Even though a low proportion of incidents of bullying also have an aspect of discrimination (20%), the public erroneously believes hostile work environment protections apply to everyone. Therefore, too many individuals shop for an attorney willing to either threaten or file a lawsuit or EEOC formal complaint. At the very least, a defense has to be mounted, or settlement paid, or trial and penalty expenses absorbed.
• Recruitment & retention of highly skilled workers undermined. The typical bullying scenario finds the best & brightest targeted for baseless, mindless persecution until they either voluntarily quit or are driven away. This is unwanted, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE turnover.
• A tarnished reputation as one of the “worst places to work” on the street (mainly in social media) follows the expulsion of highly qualified workers. In turn, recruitment is made more difficult.
• Bullying causes stress-related diseases. Allowing it to continue unabated directly contradicts the internal commitments to wellness and employee well being. In fact, research clearly shows the causal role of personalized bullying in cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, changes in the brain that lead to irreversible behavioral dysfunction that passes for incompetence to the naive observer, life shortening interference with DNA cellular replication, and doubling the rate of suicidal ideation. Why should we allow the health-harming misconduct to continue knowing that our staff and associates are being so severely impaired?
Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
By Pam Raphael
Bullying has gotten a lot of attention . Most of the focus has been on children but we know that children learn from us, how we treat each other and how we use power in relationship.
It is urgent that we are taking bullying in school seriously. It is not a developmental stage or a phase of childhood it is a lack of better tools, understanding, accountability and developmental capability. It is not something to be ignored until they grow out of it.
Children who are targeted suffer terribly and the trauma can follow them for decades. Some turn their trauma inward leading to low self esteem, under-performance and depression. While others channel it outwardly and become bullies themselves.
When childhood bullies grow up without accountability meted by their peer groups, families or the criminal justice system they go to work and continue their pattern of abuse.
That is why American workplaces have a bullying problem.
According to a recent national survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 72% of people polled reported knowledge that workplace bullying exists and 27% have current or past experience with it. That means one in four people have experienced it and three out of four of us have witnessed it.
It is not a surprise, then, that 93% of those same people polled would also support legislation that makes it unlawful.
When an adult has been abused so relentlessly that they have severe anxiety and can no longer work we assume they must have been weak willed, mentally ill or have a “victim mentality.”
But that is looking in the wrong direction. The distorted thinking and mental illness of people who are emotionally undeveloped, unstable or disordered and who are inflicting abuse on others is the problem. People who lack the self awareness, emotional capability and communication skills resort to blame and scapegoating.
Because there is no law defining it or how to respond, most employers ignore the perpetrator to protect liability allowing workplace bullying to continue. It is a failure of will that we can and must demand be changed. Bullying is abuse.
Here is something you can do today to start change happening here in WA state:
There are two companion bills that were introduced this legislative session in Washington State that need your support:
Senate Bill 6532 and House Bill 2894 would “provide legal recourse for employees who have been harmed, psychologically, physically, or economically, by being deliberately subjected to abusive work environments; and provide legal incentives for employers to prevent and
respond to mistreatment of employees at work.”
Please contact your legislators as well as the sponsors of the bills and let them know you appreciate their consideration of these bills because you see the urgency to do something to help employees and employers in WA State. Find a comprehensive list of legislators here – http://healthyworkplacebill.org/states/wa/
Let them know you believe this demands our attention now.
We need legislation to protect employees from the worst kinds of bullying and abuse the kind that ruins lives and protect the bottom line and liability of employers who do the right thing.
We have to change our belief that abuse is normal and inevitable. When someone is bullied on the job that is not correcting a problem it is the problem.
Washington is leading the nation in so many ways. Let’s lead the nation in modeling healthy workplaces. The costs to everyone are too high to ignore it any longer.
Pamela Raphael is a Mental Health Counselor in Seattle specializing in the effects of traumatic workplace and relationship abuse. She is a former board president of Real Change and is currently serving as the WA State Coordinator for the Healthy Workplace Bill, a national initiative of the Workplace Bullying Institute.
Tags: Healthy Workplace Bill, Pam Raphael, Washington State, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Monday, February 22nd, 2016
Over the years we have heard the personal tales of well over 10,000 individuals, met thousands more at speaking and consulting engagements and gone in-depth with litigants for whom I’ve provided expert witness services. So, forgive us for not personally bonding with many of those who have been bullied.
Emelise Francesca Aleandri was the exception and an extraordinary woman. Ruth and I came to know not only her plight but her spirit. Our relationship with her began with her 2004 legal case in federal court against the City University of New York (CUNY). The culprit was a jerk named Joseph Scelsa who directed the Calandra Italian-American Institute at CUNY. Scelsa’s wrath impacted several people, including Emelise and her co-plaintiff Gloria Salerno, a clinical psychologist, who had counseled students for decades successfully and without interference until Scelsa meddled with her too. Both women claimed sexual harassment by Scelsa within CUNY before filing in court.
The definitive attributes that bonded Emelise to Gloria was their Italian heritage and their activity in women’s advocacy group that Scelsa resented beginning in 1988. Perpetrator Scelsa had pledged to “get them big time.” The Institute gained its autonomy in 1994 and Scelsa ran his kingdom with impunity. The diminutive petty tyrant was an autocrat who demanded unquestioning loyalty. And the married Scelsa had a mistress who used to engineer Emelise’s downfall.
Emelise was the artist. She was born in Riva Del Garda, Italy, emigrating to the U.S. at age four. She was an actress, singer, folk dancer, author and theatrical producer and director of historical plays celebrating Italian culture and its contribution to American theater. Her major opus was the 14-volume book series on the Italian-American Immigrant Theatre, 1746-1899. She also wrote books on Little Italy.
With her MA (Hunter) PhD (CUNY) in Theater, she was the Director of the Center for Italian-American Studies at Brooklyn College (part of the CUNY system). Through my involvement in her legal case against Scelsa and CUNY, I learned that she was the creator and producer of the first nationally syndicated cable TV program about Italian-Americans: Italics: the Italian-American Magazine. She also produced documentaries about her heritage. Scelsa’s mistress was the script typist for the Aleandri’s CUNY show. The bullying Emelise experienced revolved around Scelsa stripping her from the TV show, putting the mistress-typist in charge!
However, her CUNY job did not define all that Emelise had become in a remarkable life. She was the Artistic Director of Frizzi & Lazzi The Olde Time Italian-American Music & Theatre Company, a not-for-profit group. She also was an actress who had roles in two Spike Lee films. She did TV commercials.
On Italian-American culture issues, she was the go-to expert for media. She gave walking tours of Little Italy in NYC. She lectured on Italian culture for the New York Council for the Humanities, in the tri-state area, nationally, and in Naples and Genova.
After her bullying experience and trial, WBI called on Emelise repeatedly to give articulate voice to the millions of bullied targets forced to the shadows. Here is a print version. For radio, among other shows, she helped WBI on The Takeaway with John Hockenberry. Here is an appearance she made on New York WPIX-TV.
She justifiably won several awards for her tireless advocacy on behalf of Italian-Americans. She was an Elena Cornaro Award Honoree(OSIA), New York State Woman of Distinction, and an Honoree of Leone de San Marco, Commission for Social Justice (OSIA), Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge (OSIA), Italian-American Educators.
It is little wonder that the jealous Scelsa felt threatened by her brilliance and absolute command of the Italian-American culture. I opined in the case brought by Aleandri and Salerno against Scelsa and CUNY:
Aleandri was the more invested of the two in the creative arts and was quite entrepreneurial prior to the Institute’s status as an autonomous research entity under Queen’s College. Scelsa interfered with, stole, or expressly prevented her role in the production of the Italics TV show that she had conceived. She was not given an office phone to conduct business. She had to use a hallway pay telephone on the floor below that afforded no working space for handling the phone duty associated with producing a TV show. She was a very public person as the creative producer and co-host of the show. Scelsa humiliated her in the eyes of guests by forbidding her to personally write thank-you letters. To the unknowing guest (and who could have known about Scelsa’s dominating influence from outside the Institute?), she must have appeared unprofessional. The nefarious manner in which Scelsa replaced Aleandri with the show’s technician (Schempp) and promoted the original script typist (Fosco) to a position higher than Aleandri had to have been degrading. She was then made to train the relatively unqualified staff that Scelsa hired to replace her. Ultimately, the theft of the master tapes for Festa and the copyright infringements compounded the insults.
The lawsuit was filed by both plaintiffs, Salerno and Aleandri, in 2001 [U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York – 191 F. Supp. 2d 352 (S.D.N.Y. 2001)]. The two week trial in 2005 ended in a $1.4 million settlement for Emelise and Gloria. Though it never did provide the justice sought or deserved. It was never about the money, and in the end, after paying attorneys, there wasn’t that much.
The bond between the two strong women, Emelise and Gloria, forged during the long internal struggle against Scelsa at CUNY and the nearly as long legal battle was further strengthened after the trial. After a few years, they decided to write the definitive account of what had happened to them. A publisher was found that agreed that the two would produce an unvarnished tale, naming names. However, after they completed the manuscript (not simply a book proposal), the cowardly publisher reneged, not wanting to offend CUNY backers of Scelsa. Again, the pair of advocates had been betrayed. Being lied to was becoming the institutional norm when dealing with straight shooters Salerno and Aleandri.
With CUNY and the publisher in the rear view mirror, the two began the next phases of their lives.
I made it a point to visit with Emelise every time there was a reason to be in New York City. She had moved north to Riverdale, but always drove into the city to graciously take me around. She was as warm and upbeat as ever. Her limitless energy drove her to engage in so many projects, she made this observer dizzy in amazement.
Though our own petty distractions keep us from reaching out to everyone we knew and loved, the infrequent trip to NYC or opportunity to ask Emelise to once again speak on behalf of all bullied targets brought us instantly close again. Despite the demonstrable accomplishments listed above, she was unpretentious. Her humanity leaped across the table from you, enveloping you like a warm blanket on a frigid day. She unabashedly showed her love.
Now we’ve come to learn that another of her battles of which she seldom spoke was her fight against cancer. Bouts of remission kept her going. On January 17, 2016 cancer treatment-related complications took her from us.
A beautiful soul was lost to us all. We were so lucky to have crossed paths, however briefly.
Requiescat in pace dear sweet Emelise.
Ruth & Gary Namie
Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Sam Harless and Texas State Rep. Patricia Harless, co-owners of Fred Fincher Motors, a used car sales lot is the place where former top salesman Bradley Jones was tortured by taser at the hands of coworkers.
Here’s the Feb. 5, 2016 story on Inside Edition.
Tags: Bradley Jones, Fred Fincher Motors, Houston, Patricia Harless, Sam Harless, taser, torture, workplace bullying
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Humans abusing adult humans, Target Tale, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Friday, February 5th, 2016
Former best car salesman at Fincher Motors in Houston, Texas, Bradley Jones, is facing his day in Harris County Court next week. If you have forgotten, or never heard, his story, watch the KHOU-TV segment below.
Briefly, Jones worked for Fincher for nearly 9 years and was top performer during his entire time working there. Shortly after the co-owner and general manager, Sam Harless, acquired a taser, Bradley became the target of surprise assaults — at his desk in a glass-walled cubicle in front of customers and other employees and from behind — by two coworkers while Harless filmed the terrorization. In all, there were nearly two dozen attacks. Jones was involuntarily immobilized, unable to protect himself and often fell to the floor banging his head and limbs.
Let me repeat that. Harless and cohorts treated the weapon — originally created for law enforcement as an alternative to deadly force (shooting someone) that when held too long in contact with a person’s body can cause cardiac arrest — as a instrument of humiliation for their own sadistic entertainment.
The TV show Inside Edition recently interviewed Bradley on the eve of his day in court at which it is hoped that Harless takes an oath and has to defend his cruel misconduct. The segment airs on Friday night Feb. 5. As they say, check local listings for air-time.
By the way, it was Bradley, the best salesman at the auto dealership, who was fired after his repeated tasings. Go figure.
Tags: Bradley Jones, Fincher Motors, Inside Edition, tasered on the job, weapons on the job, workplace bullying
Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Humans abusing adult humans, Media About Bullying, Target Tale, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Eleven Washington State House Representatives have sponsored the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (HB 2894). Another 11 state Senators of both parties are sponsoring the Senate companion bill (SB 6532). The HWB defines health-harming abusive conduct and makes it unlawful for employers to allow it to happen.
This marks the return of the legislation to Washington, absent since 2012. Washington was the 4th state to ever introduce the legislation.
If you live in the state, please visit the WA State Page at the Healthy Workplace Bill website. Contact information for all bill sponsors and committee members can be found there. You can also volunteer to testify or help the State Coordinator get the bill through committees and floor votes in a very short legislative session.
Tags: abusive conduct, Healthy Workplace Bill, workplace bullying, workplace bullying insitute
Posted in Healthy Workplace Bill (U.S. campaign), Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Friday, January 22nd, 2016
Business 21 presents a Webinar for HR
When the Bully is the Boss
HR must do something about bully managers
When: Thursday Feb. 4 2016, 2:00 pm Eastern, 60 minutes, HRCI credit hour
Presenter: Dr. Gary Namie, WBI Director
Many companies assume they don’t have a bullying problem. Employees get along. In meetings, team members respect each other. But look closer. You might find that the bully is the very person you would expect to protect your employees from being bullied—the boss.
Some managerial bullying is unintentional—supervisors see themselves as “demanding results.” Other times bosses know their behavior crosses the line, but they don’t care.
Not convinced? Consider the slew of new state laws protecting workers against bullying. And consider the number of companies that have rushed to adopt anti-bullying policies and procedures for investigating complaints.
Problem is, most policies are written for peer-to-peer conduct. They don’t do enough to protect employees against bully bosses.
The costs are real. The employee’s health can suffer, causing missed work, higher healthcare costs and reduced productivity. Bullied employees are also a flight risk, as are those who witness bullying. And there’s the threat of lawsuits against the company.
In this session, Dr. Gary Namie will teach you:
• How to recognize and respond to a bully boss
• What differentiates “bullying” from other conduct- both illegal (discrimination) and legal (non-abusive disagreements)
• Why your workplace climate may be allowing the bully to prosper
• Why owners and executives tend to defend bullies
• How to build an abuse-intolerant, accountable culture for all employees, regardless of rank
Tags: Business 21, Gary Namie, webinar, when the bully is the boss, workplace bullying, Workplace Bullying Institute
Posted in Advice for Employers, Products & Services, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Friday, January 22nd, 2016
The goal of the Oregon Labor Law Conference is to help officers and staff of unions serve their members better, be better equipped to organize the unorganized, and get training on how to avoid legal liability.
The program includes a workshop on Unions and Workplace Bullying led by Dr. Gary Namie, WBI Director. This is a return visit by WBI to OCCL; the first appearance was in 2013.
Founded in 1996 by Norman Malbin, the Oregon Labor Law Conference is now also sponsored by IBEW Local 48, Oregon AFL-CIO, Center for Worker Rights, Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Labor Education and Research Center (LERC), Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council and Oregon State Building & Construction Trades Council.
When: Jan. 29, 2016
Where: IBEW Local 48 Meeting Hall, 15937 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR
Details: OLLC website
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
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