Imagine further, that after such dedicated service, GI Jane and another 26,000 of her fellow service women face sexual assault while serving in the military. Often such assault goes unreported and unpunished, leaving the question, is there justice for GI Jane?
While GI Jane was fictitious, the pervasive level of sexual assault in the service is not. Unfortunately as Face The Nation* reports, a culture of power in the military leads to the pervasive abuse of women serving our country.
In the current system, the commander oversees such complaints; yet this can lead to conflicts of interest or lax oversight, especially if the commander is party to the complaint.
In civilian workplaces, employees are protected from retaliation when they voice concerns for civil rights as outlined in Title VII legislation.
Also, in civilian workplaces, employees can access a third-party in the EEOC and the court system if they don’t find justice internally with Human Resources.
However, it appears that the power structures in the military jeopardize this very right for women. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, has proposed legislation that takes the adjudication process out of the hands of commanders and instead brings such cases to a military board outside the chain of command.
She also reminded the senate that countries like the United Kingdom and Israel have already taken such steps to protect their service women.
The military reports that 97% of its service men and women go through sexual harassment prevention training. Another 9 out of 10 state they would encourage women to report such abuse.
Then why do 26,000 women face sexual assault?
As with any organization which subscribes to power structures as part of its management structure, when power is abused, those at the bottom of the food chain are the ones to endure such abuse.
This is not commentary on how the military should run its leadership training or functions, but it is a reflection on how the misuse of power corrupts. Whether military or civilian leadership, whether it is about abuse, assault, bullying or other corruption of power, it is leadership at the helm that sets the tone, who serves as the architect of the organizational culture.
*SOURCE: CBS News Report
Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education
Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education
Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education
By Thomas James
Bullying among children and teens in schools receive extra attention these days, but experts say bullying takes place in other times in our lives.
In fact, workplace bullying is happening at an alarming rate. Especially in higher education. Leah P. Hollis, Ed.D., Author of the book “Bully In The Ivory Tower” says 62 percent of people who work in higher education have experienced bullying versus 45 percent of the general population.
Dr. Hollis says, “I surveyed 175 schools and what I found in the return was that a number of people, especially in the entry levels and the middle management were talking about how they were the target of bullying either from the boss or the organization in general.
9 News Now’s Anita Brikman interviews Dr. Hollis about her survey and why workplace bullying is more prevalent in higher education than in other professions:
Anita: “What’s going on? Why at college and universities?”
Dr. Hollis: “What’s interesting is at a college or university we are all trained to be experts in our field to go out and do this wonderful research and create excellent knowledge. It also is an isolating experience so now when you have to manage people or collaborate or have team building you’ve already been protected by tenure perhaps or at least in a culture that supports being isolated and also supports a pretty big ego. So that doesn’t always make for the best management skills.”
Anita: “So in these case studies, who was saying they are being bullied? Younger educators bullied by tenured folks?”
Dr. Hollis: “Typically it was somebody at the entry level, your assistant director, it might have even been the director or just the manager of the department. Folks who are reporting up-line to Vice Presidents, Provosts, or even the Presidents. So bullying has to do with power and those with the least amount of power are the ones on the receiving end of bullying.”
To see the entire interview, including how workplace bullying in higher education affects students and how can we deal with workplace bullying across the board, click here.
Source: WUSA9.comRead More
By Dr Leah Hollis, author of Unequal Opportunity: Fired without cause? Filing with the EEOC…
Raquel had been a rising star in her company since her initial point of hire four years previous. She had landed major clients, bonuses, and was recognized regionally and nationally for her work. Despite the recession, Raquel’s life was laden with hard work and well deserved pay. She had made the necessary sacrifices by delaying marriage, relocating three times, while reaping the financial rewards. Raquel was at the height of her earning power. Her performance record was so solid, no wonder she didn’t flinch when her boss retired. So of course, the new boss, Jacob would value her as a longstanding member of his team, even though she was passed over for his position. Or so she thought.
All teams go through the aches and pains of adjusting to a new leader. Raquel felt the tension between Jacob and the rest of the team was no different. Everyone was adjusting to his new communication protocols, and reporting expectations. Therefore, when Raquel walked in to her weekly meeting with him, with the Director of Human Resources present, she could only anticipate a conference about one of her direct reports. The meeting was short… not sweet…
“You’re fired….” Jacob blurted out. “We are going in another direction. Budget cuts.”
Raquel was stunned. Clearly this was a joke. She had earned letters of commendation the last three quarters straight. Her slack jawed pause allowed Jacob to continue…
“You can have the next two hours to clean out your desk. We already cut off your internet service. It’s 3 pm now. You should be out by 5 pm…”
Raquel had nothing to say…what was this some reality show? When will the commentator come out…? Candid Camera… You’ve been PUNKED… something?!?
The HR Director did and said nothing. Jacob got up and went to the window. “You have two hours…”
Raquel’s mind was spinning. She just built an addition on her house with a second mortgage. Sure she could call headhunters, but she couldn’t move. Budget cuts? But they just hired two staff member last week… Budget cuts?
Raquel’s story unfortunately is played out every day in this recession. What Raquel’s manager and many other managers don’t realize is that Raquel and other jilted employees feel betrayed and start looking for ways to be heard. At this point, they have nothing to lose by pursuing a lawsuit. More than ever, employees know the federal discrimination laws, and know where to file a complaint either with the EEOC or an attorney. Employees who are well educated or advanced in their careers are more likely to file a complaint. Because they command higher salaries, possible damages and back pay rewards are lucrative.
What should employees do while on the job or after termination? Leah Hollis, President of Patricia Berkly LLC and author of Unequal Opportunity, Fired without cause? Filing with the EEOC offers several strategies for those considering filing a discrimination lawsuit.
While Raquel was still on the job, hopefully she took basic steps to document her performance by:
- Keeping all records notes, letters, and emails that discussed her personal performance. Organizations have a responsibility to keep staff updated about job performance expectations.
- Keeping a copy of these performance records AT HOME. Similar to Raquel’s case, the
- Internet, intranet, and computer access is often the first thing an employer shuts down. However, employees don’t have a right to proprietary information, only information on their performance.
- Professionally confirming the boss’s expectations and objectives in writing shortly after meetings. If an employee has questions, or believes expectations are unfair, she should calmly and logically express these concerns when the expectations are established. Don’t wait for months down the road when unreasonable expectations can’t be achieved.
- Reading the employee handbook, no matter how boring. Know the rules that the employer is playing by. They are responsible for adhering to their own policies as well.
Raquel was terminated. Being fired is like being punched at recess by the school bully. Most people don’t see it coming, and feel knocked to their feet in front of the world. Despite her emotional state, she took a deep breath, regrouped and considered her options:
- Raquel did some soul searching. Perhaps this was divine intervention. Was this an opportunity for another career path or to follow other interests?
- But, on the other hand, those copious notes regarding her job performance were worth their weight in gold as she considered a wrongful termination complaint. Her notes revealed a pattern of gender discrimination since her last boss retired. First of all, she was more qualified than Jacob.
Once Raquel assessed the situation and decided to pursue legal action with a formal complaint, she had two options:
- A). To seek the EEOC/and state human relations commission to file a complaint. This option cost Raquel nothing. They conduct the investigation and require the employer to explain why there was a termination. The complaint must BE CLEAR. Do you believe you were fired because of your gender, your race, your age (if over 40)? You must be explicit with this claim and provide documentation of reoccurring instances where your membership in a protected class (gender, race, age, religion, background, pregnancy) was a compelling element in your termination. If the EEOC doesn’t resolve the matter in a year, the terminated employee will often receive a right to sue letter, and can proceed to option B. At this point, seek an employee attorney since many will take the case on contingency.
- B). Seek an employment attorney. Whether the employee comes straight to this option OR waits to get the right to sue letter from the EEOC, the complaining employee still needs to have her ducks in a row. The duration of the average lawsuit is 22 months, but in some cases, carries on much longer. With a strong case, stay with it because it can provide vindication.
After 26 months of exchanging paper work, conciliation meetings and then mediation, Raquel had proven a clear case of gender discrimination. With the assistance of an attorney, she was awarded a year and half back pay, less attorney’s fees. During the course of the case, Jacob faced two other gender discrimination complaints and resigned from his post before Raquel’s settlement was final.
In 2010, the EEOC reported close to 100,000 new discrimination cases. Every day, about 550 small businesses are tagged with discrimination lawsuits.
Have you or some one you know experienced discrimination or unfair treatment at work (based on age, race, gender, religion or national origin)? We would like to hear your story.
For more detailed information on this topic and how people have handled various types of workplace discrimination, visit our website at www.diversitytrainingconsultants.com or check out Unequal Opportunity: Fired without cause, Filing with the EEOC on Barnes and Noble.com.Read More
Definition of Bullying in the workplace includes: harassing, belittling, insulting behavior, especially if enduring such becomes a condition of maintaining a job.
What is the definition of bullying as it applies to the workplace? The definition of bullying includes harassment, discrimination, belittling and insulting comments… constantly. The definition of bullying is similar to the definition of harassment. However, the definition of bullying includes ALL people, regardless of race, class or gender. The definition of bullying also relates to a pervasive behavior, often at the hands of the boss or supervisor. The definition of bullying should be considered by leadership. Once the definition of bullying is taken serious, then quarterly training and support for supervisors can eradicate behavior under the definition of bullying.
The definition of bullying should also include the cost of bullying. The definition of bullying should be something that human resources managers along with supervisors. The definition of bullying should be something the executives consider. Once the definition of bullying is understood, and the effects of bullying are understood, those who understand the definition of bullying understand that it costs organizations millions of dollars to harbor a bully. The definition of bullying can lead to health problems; the definition of bullying can create a toxic work environment. The definition of bullying and those behaviors that comprise the definition of bullying erode an organization and undermine productivity. Those who understand the definition of bullying also understand that the effects of bullying of similar to the stress of those who are subject to sexual harassment.Read More
Several people have experienced firsthand the emotional stress of being bullied. As Namie and Namie report (2009) bullying happens to about 37% of the workforce. Yelling, insults and a constant barrage of disrespect can make any one feel overwhelmed with stress. Medical studies show that constant emotional stress can clinically be bad for your health. Dr. Ilan Wittstein of Johns Hopkins University confirms that emotional stress can indeed release stress hormones to the heart and lead to symptoms that mimic a heart attack. The condition is called ‘broken heart’ syndrome. The body is designed to have a fight or flight response under stress. However at work, fighting is not the appropriate option, neither is flight (or walking off the job). Therefore, the target of bullying is trapped, with stress hormones potentially pouring into his or her system, literally causes heart problems. Other systems of stress include weight swings, moods swings, hair loss and restless sleep.
What can someone do?
1. First and foremost, strive to protect your health. If you are feeling stress symptoms, seek medical help and have the doctor clearly document what is causing the stress.
2. Read the HR manual. Many organizations have anti bullying policies along with the anti-harassment and anti-retaliation polices.
3. Seek support from friends and family. Often targets become overwhelmed with the stress and isolate themselves. Support from friends and family can help the target think clearly about healthy next steps.
4. Keep a journal. Documenting the times and places of the bullying can create a record your performance slips under the stress of a bully.Read More
Bullying was once labeled as the childhood rite of passage; something we endure on the playground. However, it has transcended from the playground to the work ground. Bullying on the work ground is pervasive, escalating hostility and berating behavior that is exhibited in mistreatment on the job. The bully on the work grounds can make any organization a toxic workplace environment. Bullying is similar to harassment, making the subject the target of escalating, demeaning and damaging behavior. However, harassment is when the target is from a protected class (facing discrimination because of gender, race, religious, national origin or disability); bullying, on the other hand is a class free assault on the target. The former is illegal under the Title VII Civil Rights laws; the latter, bullying, is still legal in the United States.
In the last five years, studies have been conducted which reflect on workplace bullying. Namie & Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute studied 7,740 adults nationally in 2007 and reported that 37% of American workers have faced bullying on the job. Women are more likely to be the target of bullying and female targets tend to quit the job 45% of the time. Further, when employers are made aware of the bullying, 62% of the time, the situation escalates for the target or nothing happens (Namie & Namie 2009). Disengagement and turnover caused by bullying costs American corporations over $64 billion (yes with a B) a year.
Further, there are several studies which reveal bullying characteristics in our secondary schools. Of late, tragic stories have come forward of students who have reached out for help to stem bullying at school. Students who emerge from an alternative life style, are overweight, or from different religions tend to be the targets of school yard bullying. Some children have lost hope and tragically taken their own lives for relief. The response has been to pass particularly stringent anti- bullying laws in education, with New Jersey having the toughest anti- bullying laws in the country.
This discussion, however, whether workplace bullying, or school yard bullying, misses the application to higher education. The Ivory Tower is supposed to emerge from intellect and enlightenment, showing the way to the American dream through education. However, if the higher education sector is a subset of American culture, it would seem the shadows of bullying would fall even here. Consequently, the structure of higher education is dissimilar from corporate structures given the tenure track system, the reliance of scholarship, and reason which philosophically might not be tied to quarterly balance sheets. Subsequently, bullying would manifest in ways yet examined by previous studies. The result of a disengaged higher education staff, or faculty could have a direct impact on the academy’s function of enrollment, scholarship, advancement and student matriculation.
I would also argue that the casualties of bullying in higher education are not just the immediate target, but the students we strive to serve. Imagine teaching a class after being bullied. The emotional capital required to connect with students has been spent on defending against the bully. Student service administrators need to focus to advise students, guide students, and serve students, as many students come to our campus with previously identified chronic issues themselves. The bullied student service administrator has also spent his or her emotional capital surviving a toxic work environment, and potentially has precious little energy to invest in students. Invariably, when I speak with my colleagues in higher education, most have commented on the disappointment they endure when realizing that bullying has invaded their departments. Some of these colleagues admit that they just don’t have the energy for a new project, refreshing ideas and student engagement. They are emotionally exhausted while trying to make it through another disrespectful day in the academy.
While bullying is still legal, it is clearly destructive. Higher education, like many other sectors, suffer from bullying advances and will continue to endure such without proper policies and professional development to prevent bullying and hostility for all faculty and staff members. Incivility in the academy doesn’t just affect university employees; it has a direct effect on the next generation of students that we influence through education.
Dr. Leah Hollis, a Martin Luther King Fellow, SED ’98, and 20 year veteran of higher education administration, is currently the president of Patricia Berkly LLC, a diversity training group in greater Philadelphia. Her recent work includes trainings and webinars on discrimination and workplace hostility.
Constani and Gibbs (2004) Higher Education teacher and emotional labour. International Journal of Educational Management. 18. 4/5
Namie, G and Namie, R. (2009) The Bully at Work. What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity at work. Sourcebooks. Napersville, IL.Read More