Posts Tagged ‘human resources’
Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
Written by Laurie Ruettimann after the Uber and Weinstein harassment scandals, but before Alabama’s Roy Moore’s misconduct.
I’m a 20-year Veteran of HR. Something Needs to be Fixed
By Laurie Ruettimann, Vox.com, Oct 18, 2017
Women are a human resources nightmare.
The national conversation has once again turned to women’s experiences of sexual harassment. Nearly two weeks ago, the New York Times and the New Yorker published allegations of rape and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein against actresses in Hollywood and beyond. These experiences go back decades, and they are often, but not exclusively, related to women who met Weinstein in a professional capacity and felt pressured, out of fear for their safety and their careers, to comply.
In other words, these women were harassed in the workplace.
Earlier this year, Susan Fowler blew the whistle on sexism and harassment at Uber. Fowler and her colleagues complained to Uber’s leadership about the culture of harassment within the organization, and they were routinely dismissed by everybody — including the HR department.
It was only when Fowler wrote a viral blog post detailing her complaints that Uber got serious. The company hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation to understand why so many women had such bad things to say about their employee experience. The report was damning, and more than 20 people were fired for inappropriate conduct, including allegations of sexual harassment and management ignoring multiple reports of sexist behavior and harassment. Former CEO Travis Kalanick, who was not accused of harassment himself but reportedly did nothing to stop it when allegations came in, as well as other sexist and toxic behavior, resigned under pressure from investors.
That could’ve been a watershed moment for women in the workforce, but it wasn’t. That’s because corporate America, and human resources in particular, don’t care about women. They care about minimizing risk to enhance the value of a brand, which ultimately leads to greater revenue and stronger profits.
In short, nobody cares about women. Once the shock-and-awe of Harvey Weinstein is over, very little will change for the average worker in America. I know this because I’m a 20-year veteran of human resources. In that time, I worked at big organizations like Pfizer, Kemper Insurance, and Monsanto. I left my corporate job in 2007 and started writing and speaking about HR in an attempt to transform the entire function. I haven’t done a very good job because HR still sucks.
Tags: HR, HR fails women, HR is useless, human resources, Laurie Ruettimann, sexual harassment
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Tutorials About Bullying | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
We recently received the following note here at WBI. Writer’s words are in bold.
I feel like your website is extremely one sided. I came to it because an HR colleague referred me to it however she warned me the site was negative, anti-HR and anti-employer and she is correct.
We are not anti-employer. We are anti-abuse. When an employer abuses as general operating procedures or treats the rare complaint about abuse with indifference, then we oppose that particular employer. We have consulted and helped organizations since 1985, long before our 20 years in workplace bullying began. And we continue helping employers who give a damn about their employees. See here how we help. In court, I even help defend employers who wisely terminated abusers. We like good employers. Hate bad ones, don’t you?
Why did you come to visit us in the first place?
You pretty much tell the person they are being abused and the company will fire you.
We describe the predictable pattern that bullying follows. The sad experience mirrors what battered spouses go through. Do we make targets out of site visitors? No, 97% of site visitors come to us self-diagnosed as victims of workplace bullying. We simply report what over 12,000 targets have told us to bolster the mental health of visitors and inquiring family members. Admittedly, we have heard descriptions of two (2) heroic HR folks from all of those anecdotal tales. You are correct, HR is not all bad. In fact, several progressive, compassionate and thoughtful HR practitioners have attended the WBI Workplace Bullying University training for professionals and left with an in-depth knowledge of the phenomenon.
However, WBI research, based on polling individuals who suffer the mistreatment and not your guess about what outcomes are, shows that once targeted bullied workers face a 77% chance of losing their jobs. Read the study results here. And there is international research showing that bullies do not lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2016) Do the bullies survive? A five-year, three-wave prospective study of indicators of expulsion in working life among perpetrators of workplace bullying. Industrial Health, 54, 68-73.) Targets do lose their jobs (Glambek, M., Skogstad, M.A., & Einarsen, S. (2015) Take it or leave: A five-year, three-wave prospective study of workplace bullying and indicators of expulsion in working life. Industrial Health, 53, 160-170.).
In another study, we specifically asked what happened to people after they reported the bullying incidents to HR. Doing so proves to be a mistake. It seems, according to the one group who would know how and if HR helped them — individuals targeted for bullying — they were either retaliated against, lost their job, or ignored. On the plus side, nearly 2% of respondents said HR did help. Read the study results here.
This has not been my experience in the business world, nor many of our colleagues.
Those of us in the trenches in the war against workplace abusive conduct tend to share a common wisdom about HR. Colleague and friend Law Professor David Yamada (who is much more diplomatic than I, being careful to never offend unlike me) wrote recently in his blog, Minding the Workplace, that he hears reports such as “HR was useless,” “HR threw me under the bus,” and “HR protected the bullies.” He added, “in the worst instances, HR has actively furthered, supported, and enabled the abuse.”
And dear HR professional, in case you think it is only WBI-affiliated persons who hold such negative perceptions of HR, read on.
From the headlines, you may have heard about the costly corporate liability faced by Fox News for sustaining Bill O’Reilly’s employment. Fox or O’Reilly has paid $13 million in settlements to five of his accusers. One accuser of Roger Ailes won a $20 million settlement.
A central tenet in the Fox defense is that accusers of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes never filed complaints with Fox Human Resources or called the company hotline.
Here comes attorney Nancy Erika Smith who represented Gretchen Carlson in her harassment lawsuit and now represents Julie Roginsky against Fox and Roger Ailes.
Smith was asked on CNN about the Fox defense. Some women at Fox News have said they are afraid the line is being monitored. Smith said calling the hotline is a good idea “only if you think it would be good to call the KGB to complain about Putin.” “HR is not your friend. HR will not help you,” Smith said.
Tags: abusive conduct, attitudes toward HR, Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, Gretchen Carlson, HR, HR inaction, human resources, KGB, Nancy Erika Smith, sexual harassment
Posted in Advice for Employers | 3 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
The NFL — the No Effin’ Liability league for the boys of football — has struck again. As a multi-billion dollar enterprise (owned by revered American entrepreneurs — celebrities themselves who own celebrity labor), the league of owners of American professional football has shown itself to be incredibly inept. Their mouthpiece, the “commish” Roger Goodell seems driven solely to protect the NFL brand. He certainly is not a competent CEO though paid $44.2 million per year to be incompetent. I’m not sure he could work the drive-thru at McDonalds — it’s too fast moving and accuracy matters.
You see Roger got caught crafting corporate policy in a very public way, then revising it to be more punitive publicly, only to get caught acting unilaterally and reflexively, all the while completely ignoring his own stated “policy.” The man doesn’t know “strategery,”willing to act without thinking.
Ray Rice, star player for the Baltimore Ravens, was caught on a New Jersey casino hotel security video entering an elevator with this then-fiance, Janay Palmer. That same camera caught him dragging an unconscious Janay from the elevator minutes later.
Conclusion to be drawn by any reasonable person: Rice struck Palmer in the elevator. Local law enforcement, the district attorney and the judge seemed to believe an unknown third person must have assaulted her in the elevator. Charges were dismissed. The NFL also engaged in such magical thinking. Goodell was allowed to assume that if the courts didn’t care to protect Palmer and jail Rice, the Ravens and NFL had little to worry about. And the only worry for the team and league is LEGAL liability. Just protect the shield, baby (tip to Al Davis).
Goodell decided that he had better punish Rice in some way. He grazed him with a 2-game suspension. Even within the NFL’s hierarchy of punishments, the penalty was light as compared to a pot smoking 6-game suspension. The inequity was obvious to all immediately but not to Goodell. Weeks later, he publicly declared that a domestic violence first-time violation committed by a player (nothing said about the distinction between proof, accusation, arrest, indictment or conviction) would draw a 6-game penalty. What to do with Rice retroactively? Suddenly two new domestic violence cases emerged with San Francisco and Carolina players. What to do? Goodell waited.
Into the breach strode that paragon of journalism, TMZ, with the missing link — video from the elevator. At last, Goodell could see what had actually happened between the video sequences taken outside the elevator. He rapidly, within the day, compelled the Ravens team to fire Rice and the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely (which in the past has always been the route to redemption and restoral of playing privileges).
Goodell expected praise. Instead, there have been calls for his head. ESPN talking head, attorney, and former NFL quarterback Steve Young opined that the Ravens should have acted like a responsible corporate employer and sent Rice home without pay pending an investigation.
I’ll let ESPN’s Keith Olbermann explain why Goodell and the Ravens and county officials screwed up. He calls for mass resignations. Obermann says Goodell “comforted the violent and afflicted the victim” and is an “enabler of men who beat women.”
As an institution, the NFL is screwy. The people in charge seem incapable of owning the responsibility for what they have done. It’s all deflection and denial. Just protect the shield, baby.
It’s corporate CYA!
Coming: Part II — The NFL’s Personnel Problem
Tags: CEO, corporate irresponsibility, domestic violence, human resources, investigations, NFL, Roger Goodell, wullying
Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, NFL: Domestic Violence, The New America | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
UPDATE: To write a great workplace bullying policy and enforcement procedures, go here.
When fuzzy facts (first generation distortion) are allowed to pass for actual data and circulated widely by media (2nd gen distortion) they used by critics to undermine the anti-bullying campaign. Let’s clear the air about current American employer engagement in stopping workplace bullying.
SHRM (the HR trade association) conducted a 2011 study about workplace bullying and reported results in Feb. 2012. The non-scientific survey of members had a low response rate of 15% (the final 401 respondents meant SHRM randomly polled 2,673 members). The results shed light on HR’s view about the prevalence of workplace bullying policies in the U.S. When asked if respondents’ organizations had specific anti-bullying policies in place, 44% of HR respondents defiantly stated their organization has “no policy and has no plans to put a workplace bullying policy in place.” The answer, “No, but we plan to put a formal policy in place in the next 12 months,” was chosen by 13%. Another 40% said, “Yes, our workplace bullying policy is part of another workplace policy.” Only 3% of SHRM members said “Yes. We have a separate workplace bullying policy” in our organization.
Actual slide from 2012 SHRM survey results from which 56% statistic was plucked
You can download the slide show from here.
Tags: Gary Namie, HR, human resources, SHRM, surveys, WBI research, workplace bullying, workplace bullying policies
Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | 7 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 West Waterman Street, Wichita, KS 67202
Friday, December 10th, 2010
Kermit, the HR director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, has reportedly terrorized HR staff for years. He has now been fired for being a bully. And he now chooses to sue the state. Watch the Seattle NBC affiliate KING-TV report that aired on Dec. 9. Great tale of workplace bullying. Everything is accurate except the myth that HR is supposedly the role model for organizational integrity.
Friday, September 3rd, 2010
I want to love HR. I know good HR people. One shining example was a 2009 WBI University graduate. She was accustomed to serving at the executive level, as Senior Vice President, in several hospitals. When we met, she had lost two previous jobs simply because she dared to stand up to senior manager bullies. Each time, the CEOs terminated her and kept their buddies. We withhold her name so she can work again.
Another good person is a New York City-based HR professional who blogs and has written a book called the HR Toolkit and works with our NY State group to pass the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, despite SHRM’s official opposition to the legislation.
Tags: HR, human resources, WBI-Zogby, workplace bullying
Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Tutorials About Bullying | 4 Archived Comments | Post A Comment (