New Year’s Resolution: Stop Bullying Co-Workers

This year I was honored to be among the experts on the eBossWatch panel to determine the worst bosses of the year. The list included “three mayors, five judges, 19 law enforcement officers and officials, 12 restaurant bosses, and a venture capitalist…The states with the highest number of bad bosses on this year’s list are New York (13), Texas (11), California (11), New Mexico (5), Georgia (5), New Jersey (4), and Kentucky (4).” Many of these harassment cases had already been settled or won in court. But, at least for now, workplace bullying isn’t against the law in the U.S. While it’s often hard to detect, it’s no less devastating financially or emotionally and even the most well-meaning employees can suddenly find themselves at one end or the other of a pile on. Here are 10 simple ways you can stop making your co-worker or employee’s life hell in 2015:

definition-150x1501. Stop calling them “defensive.” In fact, having that label attached to the back of an employee should be a clue to any HR person that they are face-to-face with classic workplace bullying and the victim is getting smeared and blamed for the attacker’s behavior. One glance at a dictionary should tell you all you need to know about the situation: “de*fen*sive: adjective, serving to defend or protect <defensive fortifications>”,  “devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack<defensive behavior>”.  Continue reading

Ted Genoways on Leaving VQR

Shortly after his death, Kevin Morrissey became the “poster child” for advocates of the Workplace Bullying Institute’s Healthy Workplace Bill.   So, it’s curious to see how unusually quiet they’ve been about the announcement of Ted Genoways’ resignation from VQR.   In less than a week the news of Ted’s resignation generated roughly 20 google pages of articles.  

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Ventura County Uses Workplace Violence Policies to Stop Bullying

Last May  the Ventura County Grand Jury (CA) submitted their “Final Report on Bullying in the Workplace.”  Free of divisive and accusatory rhetoric it neatly outlines the need and procedures necessary to start correcting the situation.  Included in the report is a link to an online Sample Workplace Bullying Policy.   The report includes discussion of overlaps with existing discrimination and workplace bullying policies:

“FI-02. Processes in place to report workplace behavior problems are  not trusted by employees because  the  agency with the alleged  bullying issue is allowed to investigate complaints using personnel within its own organization. This system risks the exposure of a complainant’s identity  and reinforces employee perception that  the investigation would not be conducted fairly. (FA-05, FA-06, FA-12).”

“The Grand Jury recommends that the Ventura County Board of Supervisors (BOS) issue a policy against bullying and collect data to identify the existence and extent of bullying in branches of County government.  The CEO-HR should establish an independent process to report cases of bullying. This process should include a separate bullying hotline staffed by non-County personnel for documenting complaints. Investigations into bullying complaints should be coordinated by the CEO-HR. This should include direct oversight of all investigators and enforcement  of restrictions that preclude investigators from handling complaints within their own departments”

Board Response and Changes

Equally fascinating is the Boards response [September 2011].  NB: While some have said there’s no “bite” in the Grand Jury’s ability to implement changes, this approach should mesh well with the goal of many advocates for anti-bullying legislation who claim they are against large settlements and are really fighting to put policies and procedures in place.  The actions of the Board shows how quickly and cost effectively many of our workplaces can comply with needed changes.  SEIU did a survey that found widespread bullying.  Although it should be noted that their definition very broad.  Here are some “highlights:”