Posts Tagged ‘workplace violence’

Mayor & City Council proud to have “ended” workplace bullying in Wheaton

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Wheaton, Illinois city officials, embarrassed by the recent disclosure of a culture of bullying and harassment that some say has lurked in a specific city department for years, say the city and department have rebounded in the months since the incidents were reported to council members.

A recent investigative report by the Chicago Tribune uncovered a city employee who is believed to have endured years of “crude pranks, improper touching and taunts about sensitive personal issues” and the discipline meted out against the two co-workers responsible and their supervisors.

Mayor Michael Gresk said Monday that, back in February, one of the “primary tormentors” was suspended without pay for one week while another was moved to a different division. Supervisors, he said, were also disciplined “for letting it go on,” but he did not disclose their punishment.

“This is a situation that we address in regular training so if this behavior was going on, it was under the radar. Once senior management became aware of it they jumped on it and launched an investigation,” Gresk said, noting the discipline was handed down in February and the council made aware of the situation in April. “We are not taking this lightly as a city. Once we were made aware, there was a police investigation and hours and hours of meetings with human resources officials with all of the parties involved.


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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

Bullying by taser at Texas auto dealer: Manager films, laughs, expects legal protection

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Bradley Jones worked at Fred Fincher Motors, Houston, Texas. For the last several months, his sadistic coworkers and the dealership manager, Sam Harless, tasered him dozens of times. A taser attack is painful and a form of torture. When applied by untrained amateurs, it can result in death.

Jones endured the surprise, pain and humiliation simply because his coworkers sought to entertain themselves deriving their pleasure from his pain. They filmed the events and posted on YouTube (since taken down.) Jones has filed a Harris County civil lawsuit (Case 1035300 on Aug. 2) against his three assailants — Adam Winslow, Sam Harless and Alberto Chavarria, and the owner of the dealership, Patricia Harless (wife of manager Sam and a Texas State Representative). We at WBI hope law enforcement also pursues criminal prosecution of these civil defendants.

Somebody should at least their jobs for their monstrosity. Guess who was banished. Bradley Jones was fired!

Watch the KHOU-TV story and see Sam Harless’s confidence that the county court system will exonerate him and his cohorts.

Not sure which is worse — a gloating Harless or recognizing the trauma to which Jones was subjected while simply trying to sell cars or the all too predictable fact that the victim was the one fired !!! Share your outrage with Sam Harless.

Help the Texas State Coordinator get the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill enacted.

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Posted in Broadcasts: Video, TV, radio, webinars, Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Media About Bullying, Target Tale, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

WBI Podcast 34: Felix Nater

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Here is a nice piece of older audio from a radio program featuring Dr. Namie. His guest is Felix Nater, a former Postal Inspector, whose experiences led him to investigate workplace homicides and to prosecute offenders. Prevention was often lacking. Now consultant Nater makes violence prevention a key part of the business process for clients. He developed the Violence Interdiction Model which he shares with the Work Doctor audience.

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Are leaders willing to give up bullying as a crutch?

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.


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Anger management issues in the workplace

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.

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HRE: Cyberbullies Lurking in the Workplace

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.”


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Comprehensive vs. Incremental Piecemeal Approaches to Stopping Workplace Bullying

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.


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Fast Company: Idea-Stifling Shame Culture

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

In a recent article for Fast Company, Brené Brown proposes 3 Ways To Kill Your Company’s Idea-Stifling Shame Culture. The article is about how shame at work kills innovation and it’s worth a read. The excerpt below shows specifically how workplace bullying and the shame that comes with it stops companies from thriving.


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Investopedia: Financial impact of workplace bullying

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.


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Why companies must stop office bullying

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

By Suzanne Lucas
CBS MoneyWatch

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


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Posted in Media About Bullying | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

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